Research reveals harassment on Barcelona's public transport

Research in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona has revealed the extent of sexual harassment in public transport.

Tackling gender-based violence in public spaces and public transport facilities is a critical test for cities and regions. A plethora of research across Europe has exhibited the extent of the issue and the devastating effect it has on women’s mobility.

Tracking and comprehending harassment and violence against women and girls is a vital step in making public transport safer and more secure for female users. As a result, POLIS member Barcelona has conducted a survey on sexual harassment in public transport, revealing that 91.6% of women between the ages of 16 and 25 have suffered a situation of harassment on public transport.

The survey, conducted by Barcelona Area Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM), IERMB, Gencat, and others, examined types of harassment experienced, where such actions were prevalent, the response of onlookers and the effect it had on women’s choice of transport.

Trains presented hotspots for harassment, with almost 60% of respondents reporting incidents on subways, and 7.7% for buses.

Onlooker reactions present startling reading. Almost 80% of respondents state that other passengers did not do anything, with just 15% reporting bystander intervention.

Following this research, Barcelona now plans to conduct gender audits, monitoring harassment and providing training and information actions on prevention, detection and protection. There are also plans to increase security guards on the public transport network, create a video surveillance system and improve lighting.


Our members have been active!

POLIS' member cities and regions have been actively pursuing more inclusive and equitable mobility by prioritising women's security, data collection of women's travel patterns and expanding access to decision making roles. Find out more here