This project developed a simple methodology for using Twitter data to explore public perceptions about misconduct on public transit in California. The methodology allows future researchers to analyze tweets to answer questions such as: How frequent are tweets related to assault, abuse, or other misconduct on public transit? What concerns arise most frequently? What are the types of behaviors discussed? We collected and analyzed data from Twitter posts in California about various types of public transit misconduct from January 2020 to March 2023 to identify the nature and frequency of reported misconduct. Our findings reveal that harassment, uncivil behavior, and assault are the commonly reported concerns; far fewer tweets mention obscene behavior, threats, or theft. It appears that at times the victims had been targeted on the basis of their race, gender, or sexual identity, or because they were transit employees. The tweets indicate that both genders are victimized, though women were targeted more often than men (57.5% vs. 42.5%). As for the alleged perpetrators of transit misconduct, more than three-quarters were male (78%). Transit agencies and researchers can use the results of these analyses to strategically improve safety measures for the benefit of passengers and transit operators.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transit and Passenger Rail, Planning and Policy

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



public transit, misconduct, safety


Criminal Law | Transportation