Investigating personal safety at railway stations using “virtual reality” technology

David Hillier, Paul Cozens, Richard Neale, Jeremy Whitaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Understanding fear of crime is a crucial dimension to the “designing out crime” debate, particularly in view of the “dark figure” of crime which remains largely unknown due to under-reporting and under recording of incidents. On the railways, customer satisfaction surveys have consistently reported that although recorded incidents of crime and nuisance are relatively low, customers perceive their personal risks to be significantly higher, discouraging many from using rail transport. This study of a representative sample of railway stations on a network in South Wales, focuses on personal safety issues as explained using the theory of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). The research project innovatively utilises interactive virtual reality scenes as the environmental stimuli to elucidate rich sources of data in terms of where passengers’ fears were located in and around the station and how service providers can make stations safer. Some basic design changes are briefly evaluated and recommendations for those who design and manage built environment facilities are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188 - 194
Number of pages6
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • crime
  • facilities management
  • rail transport
  • security
  • user satisfaction
  • virtual reality


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