Environmental design

Designing railway locations to encourage safer public behaviours (e.g. at stations) and to keep people away from places of higher risk (platform ends at stations, depots).  This can include making a station a welcoming, environment, that feels safe (e.g. using floral displays repairing damage quickly and colour schemes that make graffiti more difficult), restrictions (e.g. painted yellow lines and hatching on platform edges to remind people to stay away from the edge of the platform) or removing items / structures that make trespass easier.

Potential to operate in different ways, reducing the attractiveness of the location for trespass, encouraging movements along safer routes and physical restrictions or distance to influence access to the track or other place of risk.

As part of general improvements at a railway location (e.g. station) or at higher risk locations at stations, crossings or depots (e.g. entry points to track or depot areas).

By whom? - Infrastructure owner or undertaking with responsibility for operation at a railway location.

Applicability / suitability for trespass types

Where there is potential for problems with trespass at specific locations and aesthetic improvements or removal or repositioning of some building structures or station furniture can be used to influence behaviours and perceptions of users.

Trespasser type = All.

Trespass events  = Convenience, anti-social behaviour, theft, graffiti, hangout recreation.

Observed behaviours = Exiting platform end, damage to facilities / equipment, evidence of graffiti, seen on disused platforms.

Potential Motivations = Shortening distance or time to reach a location, personal financial gain, self-expression, moral judgement, lack of self-control, peer pressure, artistic expression, recognition, out of sight / seclusion.


Medium effectiveness

There is evidence that making stations feel safe and welcoming, discourages vandalism and graffiti, but there is conflicting evidence on whether painting over graffiti decreases or leads to further graffiti. Some aspects can be more effective (e.g. removing items / structures), removing the temptation and make access to prohibited areas more difficult.

There is no evidence to indicate whether platform markings are effective against trespass. The RSSB recommends extending the use of yellow lines from high speed platform edges to low speed platforms, though reasons for this are not explained.

There may be an early effect of this, once improvements in the location have been implemented. 

Can be a durable effect once this type of intervention has been implemented successfully but may need regular maintenance to achieve the type of environment that can promote safer behaviours.

Factors influencing effectiveness

Ability to maintain satisfactory conditions that give a perception of a location that is safe, and where appropriate behaviour is required and inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated.

Appropriate response from rail staff when people are seen in a place that they should not be, damage to property occurs or behaviours are not desirable.

How to apply or implement, including dependencies

Identify the types of aesthetic changes that could be implemented in a location with the intention of supporting safer behaviours and perception of safety (e.g. repainting and repair of the fabric of buildings, general housekeeping, provision of floral displays, improvements to lighting and colour schemes).

Make the safer walking routes through the station the most attractive. For example, make enclosed bridges more inviting (this could be by giving them a view, with a few small windows overlooking the track, or other improvements in lighting and paintwork).

Place planting in front of walls to decrease areas for graffiti.  Use a dark colour palette on problematic parts of public areas to discourage graffitists from marking those walls.

Move objects like salt bins, benches or rubbish bins that might be climbed on to access prohibited areas. 

Demolish abandoned buildings, to decrease the places would-be trespassers might want to hide or hangout.

This type of intervention can work well in combination with community engagement interventions, such as adopting stations, and also complemented by other interventions (e.g. fencing, education, sanctions, signs, monitoring and surveillance).

Use of floor markings to show safe / unsafe waiting locations (e.g. yellow lines and hatchings).  This may need to be complemented with announcements and follow-up by staff.

This type of intervention is not dependent on others and changes can be made by TOC/NR directly. 



Haven’t found what you’re looking for?
Get in touch with our Senior Safety Intelligence Analyst for further information.
Siona Vass
Tel: 020 3142 5485
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