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Zoned Safety - Nighttime Safety Zones in Taipei Transit System

The Taipei Metro system marks off a specific area in each of its subway platforms that is actively monitored through video surveillance and has a nearby safety intercom. How does safety improve within this space and beyond?

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Aside from being one of the cleanest public transit subways I've ridden, I'm always impressed by the public amenities in the Taipei MRT subway system.  There are marked off 'Nighttime Waiting Zones' that are actively monitored by video surveillance and have intercoms readily available within the spaces to call for help or report any suspicious activity.  The waiting zones are safe havens for late night riders and deter would-be attackers.
-How can we build out safe spaces within low-income areas where women can confidently congregate and meet?
-How can we amplify these hubs to have increased safety beyond their own borders?

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Photo of Lindsay Tzuhan Wang

Hello Ryan
I used to study in Taipei for 4 years, and I do notice about this waiting zone. But I think in general, Taipei is a very safe city and the subway only operate to midnight.
However there is a true story happened to me in Taipei MRT, and I was standing in the late night waiting zone. but I think it didn't help me :(

My friend and I went to night market, and I have to take subway home alone. it was about 11:00pm that night. I stood in the waiting zone. and a guy stood behind me. It was very strange because there wasn't any other person on the platform.
When the train came, I choose another cart to sit, and the guy just follow me and sit right in front of me ! (you know the trains in Wen-Hu line is smaller than other lines ) And there were just me and him in the train! And I know he wants to talk to me because he stared at me the whole time. So I get out the train at the next stop and wait for another train comes.

Waiting zone can only protect people who stand on the platform, but things are usually happen in the train. so I think a female only cart is better.

Photo of Ryan

Thanks for that first-hand account Tzuhan. I'm sure your experiences would be great to add to the conversations about women only subway contributions! Links below:
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/women-only-subway-train-cars-in-brazil
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/female-only-passenger-trains

Photo of Meena Kadri

Sorry to hear about your experiences, Lindsay. Though your insight is really great – that you'd prefer a women's only carriage. While we've seen many conversations asking whether this is really the best long-term solution (I've found myself wondering this myself when traveling in India) – I think it speaks volumes to hear from someone who has experienced something like this and can voice the preference for a women's only carriage. For me it highlights that we can intellectualise as much as we want – but when faced with actual danger, it's likely that we'd welcome any solution that could make things safer. Hope to se more of you on conversations across this challenge.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Great insight Lindsay. It is important to have a first-hand experience and feedback on a solution that from "the outside" seems a good idea.
Meena, I agree with you that this women's only carriage is a complex issue, where rationality and emotions might not aligned: it seems to have been a solution that most people who experienced it on the platform seem to have positive experience about. However, we had a long discussion with several students lately regarding its value in the long term: while it might be a short-term solution, should not we aim for longer term solutions?
Moreover, a (male) student from Delhi noted that women's only carriages tend to be empty after 9 pm and therefore women who travelled after 9 pm tend to prefer going to mix cars as this is safer than being alone in a car where you can be harassed more easily. This leads back to the example of Lindsay: even if there had been a women's carriage only, if she was alone in the women's carriage and the guy wanted to bother her, he could have gone in that car in all impunity.
This is a complex issue. I'm looking forward how it is addressed in the next phase.

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