Transit Agency Practices in Interacting with People Who Are Homeless

This synthesis reports on effective practices, approaches, and outcomes regarding interactions within the transit industry with people who are homeless. A literature review summarizes reports that span from the 1980s to today. Because public libraries are similar to public transportation in offering services to all members of the general public and in being viewed as a safe haven for people who are homeless, the literature review also examines library policies and procedures related to people who are homeless. A web-based survey of transit agencies in North America documented current issues and practices regarding transit agency interactions with people who are homeless. The survey included transit agency assessments of factors contributing to the success or failure of various strategies. Six detailed case examples profile innovative and successful practices. Findings suggest that people who are homeless are an issue for transit agencies regardless of size, although larger agencies are more likely to characterize homelessness as a major issue. Successful policies target behavior rather than groups or individuals. Codes of conduct and consistent enforcement clarify agency expectations. Findings also suggest that partnerships are essential and that enforcement is necessary but not sufficient. Case workers and others at social service and nonprofit agencies have a much greater understanding of people who are homeless and they can persuade these individuals, who may initially be service-resistant, to accept services. Law enforcement personnel from transit police or security departments consistently emphasized the need for partnerships and the options these partnerships offered to their police officers. Transit agencies reported that partnerships result in enhanced customer security and perceptions, provision of help for those who need it, and increased sensitivity to the people and issues involved.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 100p
  • Serial:
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01595895
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309272162
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Project J-7, Topic SH-16
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 11 2016 3:27PM