This project developed a simple methodology for using Twitter data to explore public perceptions about misconduct on public transit in California. The methodology allows future researchers to analyze tweets to answer questions such as: How frequent are tweets related to assault, abuse, or other misconduct on public transit? What concerns arise most frequently? What are the types of behaviors discussed? We collected and analyzed data from Twitter posts in California about various types of public transit misconduct from January 2020 to March 2023 to identify the nature and frequency of reported misconduct. Our findings reveal that harassment, uncivil behavior, and assault are the commonly reported concerns; far fewer tweets mention obscene behavior, threats, or theft. It appears that at times the victims had been targeted on the basis of their race, gender, or sexual identity, or because they were transit employees. The tweets indicate that both genders are victimized, though women were targeted more often than men (57.5% vs. 42.5%). As for the alleged perpetrators of transit misconduct, more than three-quarters were male (78%). Transit agencies and researchers can use the results of these analyses to strategically improve safety measures for the benefit of passengers and transit operators.
EGBE-ETU ETU, PHD
Dr. Etu is an Assistant Professor of Business Analytics at San José State University. He is also a Research Associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute. His research interest centers on the development of use-inspired machine learning models to solve challenging business problems in healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. He is a member of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineering, and SAVE International.
ASHA WEINSTEIN AGRAWAL, PHD
Dr. Agrawal is Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute National Transportation Finance Center and also Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, bicycle and pedestrian planning, travel survey methods, and transportation history.
IMOKHAI TENEBE, PHD
Dr. Tenebe is a Research Associate at Mineta Transportation Institute. Previously, he was a Safety Engineer with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in Austin, Texas, and participated in research at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. He obtained his PhD in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering and has two masters in the same area of expertise from Nigeria and the United States. He has published over 80 articles on several subjects with interests in water resources, healthcare, pollution, transportation, and data science.
JORDAN LAROT JORDAN
Larot is an undergraduate student majoring in business analytics at San José State University with an expected graduation date of May 2024. His research interests include machine learning, data mining, and business intelligence.
DANG MINH NHU NGUYEN
Dang Minh Nhu Nguyen is a recent graduate of San José State University. Nguyen received her B.S. in Applied Mathematics, with a concentration in Statistics, in June 2022. Her research interests include technology, healthcare, business, finance, and aerospace.