December 9, 2022
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The Maryland Transit Administration – a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation – has initiated a new public service campaign to address sexual harassment on transit systems across the state.

[Above photo by the Maryland Transit Administration]

The agency is addressing the issue as part of its efforts to follow through on safety and security commitments adopted in its “Rebuilding Better” strategic plan, released in September 2021.

Holly Arnold. Photo via the Maryland Transit Administration.

“There is no place for sexual harassment on transit or anywhere else,” said MTA Administrator Holly Arnold in a statement.

“We want everyone to know we take incidents of harassment seriously and are launching this campaign so that we can improve the overall experience for all who take transit,” she added.

Arnold noted MTA’s campaign focuses on educating the public on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to stop it via advertisements deployed on buses and rail vehicles in addition to social media.

In conjunction with its advertising campaign, MTA is launching a safety and security webpage at mta.maryland.gov/safety to highlight resources and reporting forms for individuals experiencing harassment on an MTA transit vehicle or at an MTA stop or station. The webpage also identifies the “3Ds” (“distract, delegate, and direct”) strategies that bystanders witnessing harassment can use to help the victim.

Image via the Maryland Transit Administration

An integral component of the MTA campaign focuses on data collection to better assess the extent riders in the Baltimore region are experiencing sexual harassment, as well as to inform future decision making on outreach, campaign messaging, expectations for rider conduct and resource deployment. Rider outreach tactics include annual rider surveys, management and operator training, outreach events at frequently used transit stops and on-line reporting tools.

MTA added that its anti-sexual harassment campaign is the beginning of a “long-term investment” in shifting the culture on the transit system in a way that improves the transit experience for all riders. Based on data and feedback collected from riders, the agency plans to refine and expand the campaign annually, as well as partner with local community-based organizations to share ideas and input.

editor@aashto.org

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