Safety perceptions when walking, cycling and using public transport in England

Insights on public transport use, perceived safety, and experiences of harassment from the latest National Travel Attitudes Study.
People boarding a London bound high speed train

About the study

The National Travel Attitudes Study (NTAS) Wave 8, commissioned by the Department for Transport, provides a comprehensive overview of public attitudes towards safety while travelling in England. The study involved 2,018 participants aged 16 and over and is part of a biannual survey that builds upon data from the National Travel Survey (NTS), focusing on travel behaviours. This wave of the study explores public perceptions of safety during travel, especially in relation to public transport.

Key findings: 

  • The majority of people feel safe when travelling in public transport, and they have never been a victim of an incident of assault or harassment. However, there are substantial differences in safety perceptions and precautionary measures between men and women.
  • Women more frequently avoid traveling alone after dark (63% vs. 34%) and take various precautions for personal safety. These precautions commonly include informing others of travel plans and choosing travel times carefully. Women are also more likely to use private transport as an alternative to public transport for safety reasons.
  • Participants who avoided public transport modes cited practicality, costs, crowdedness, and safety concerns as reasons for doing so.


Wave 8 was fielded between March and April of 2023. 2,018 responses were collected using a mixed-mode approach that combined online and telephone surveys. The NTAS is a probability-based sample with respondents drawn from the NTS, and responses are weighted to account for the mode of data collection, and to reflect the population. Initial contact is made via letter, email, and SMS text message (where available). If no response is received within two weeks, a follow-up is conducted via telephone call.