Literature canvassed by Rohit as part of his review indicates the high social cost of crime against women. While crimes committed against women walking at night aren’t split out in the numbers, the body of literature reveals useful ways to address safety issues faced by women using pedestrian facilities.

Some of the most effective ways to improve walking safety include introducing light-reflective footpaths, connecting walking paths to public transport stops and designing new footpaths that include safety audits from the perspective of female users.

Making it easier to plan walking routes using phone apps and supporting local walking groups, especially in areas where there is a negative perception towards safety, is also recommended in much of the literature.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the ‘Pink Pathway’ section of Auckland’s award-winning Nelson Street Cycleway - a shared pathway for walking and cycling - is an example of what good looks like. With plenty of lighting and wide bright surfacing, it’s used by thousands of people every day.

More people making use of pathways like these mean more pairs of eyes, which helps create an environment of natural surveillance and can contribute to reducing negative perceptions about safety - especially when walking at night.

But there’s an added benefit. Well designed and illuminated facilities like the Pink Pathway also encourage more people to embrace carbon-friendly active modes of travel. That’s no small win when you consider that nearly a third of all car trips made in New Zealand are under two kilometres and that inactivity has a high annual economic cost. The more we can do to turn this around, the better.

Find out more in Rohit’s literature review below.

Rohit Matta
Graduate Transportation Engineer
New Zealand