The Process for Reimagining Public Safety & Security on Transit

Thank you to those who participated in listening sessions and gave feedback. Between July and November 2020 we received over 13,000 survey responses, supported 300 one-on-one interviews and engaged 271 people in 31 focus groups. We received feedback in English, Arabic, French, Khmer, Lao, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Rohingya, and Vietnamese.

We are continuing to study and collaborate with other transit systems across the county to better understand and investigate promising approaches in community engagement and transit security. With the support of a third-party analysis of the security challenges facing the region and the feedback from riders and employees we convened a Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee of regional thought leaders, community representatives and national transit experts. The committee used the feedback gathered through the surveys and the listening sessions, the research results, and the local transit system analysis, to develop recommendations for TriMet’s leadership to consider in moving the system forward with community informed strategies.

On November 19, 2020, the TriMet Board of Directors unanimously approved the Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee's recommendations:

Board Presentation





TriMet’s steps to reimagining public safety and building a better transit system together with our community




Engaged with riders, community members, local leaders, as well as frontline employees and security staff, through virtual town halls, listening sessions, surveys and focus groups


Partnered with the Coalition of Communities of Color to ensure gathering of feedback from a range of voices reflecting all those we serve



Identified best practices in the transit industry for public safety and equity


Analyzed regional security challenges and TriMet incident data to identify opportunities for different security approaches



Gathered a committee of regional thought leaders and national transit safety experts to advise TriMet as we move forward on community-informed safety efforts

Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee Recommendations

Over the course of seven meetings, the Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee reviewed and discussed the information gathered through extensive community outreach and research, and developed a series of recommendations and priorities. TriMet’s leadership is considering those recommendations, including the top three:

  1. Conducting agency-wide training on anti-racism, cultural competency, mental health, and de-escalation techniques for TriMet employees that is based on real-world situations and offered on a continuous basis, leveraging community expertise.
  2. Increasing the presence of TriMet personnel on the system and exploring community ambassador rider support models. The additional presence should strive to be diverse, reflecting the region’s age, race, and ability, and focused on making the system safer and more welcoming.
  3. Developing a Crisis Intervention Team model that is focused on supporting transit riders experiencing a mental health crisis or other behavioral health issues.

The Advisory Committee noted that regional coordination and partnering across jurisdictions would be needed to allow TriMet to scale up its ability to advance these recommendations. The committee also voiced support for additional priority investments, including:

  • Continuing to make security-related infrastructure improvements, with a focus on lighting, and general system cleanliness,
  • Working with the community to develop and launch public messaging campaigns to clearly explain how the security system works and their part in it; and,
  • Leveraging additional technology applications to support riders and staff using apps and software.


July 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

November 2020

Develop engagement
Listening sessions
Rider online surveys
Partner online surveys
Virtual town halls
External & internal research
Listening sessions
Rider online surveys
Partner online surveys
Virtual town halls
External & internal research
Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee
External & internal research
Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee
Recommendations to Board of GM
Recommendations to Board of Directors

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Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee

TriMet thanks the regional thought leaders, community representatives and national transit experts who served on the Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee.


Marcus Mundy
Coalition of Communities of Color

Joe McFerrin
POIC, Rosemary Anderson High School

Anthony Deloney
Self Enhancement Incorporated (SEI)

Patricia Daniels
Constructing Hope

Jan Campbell
Disability Rights Oregon, TriMet CAT

Kevin Modica
Retired Police Transit Commander

Kenechi Onyeagusi
Professional Builders Development Group

Deshawn Hardy
Highland African American Youth Coalition

Lakayana Drury
Word Is Bond

Lauren Cohen
Cascadia Behavioral Health

Jacky Yerby
State of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon

Johnathon Colon
Centro Cultural

Dr. Beverly Scott
Former Transit System General Manager

Polly Hanson
American Public Transportation Association

Emily Nelson


Project Partners

Thank you to the organizations and groups who participated in the reimagining public safety and security project.

Africa House
African Family Holistic Health Organization
As the Spirit Moves Us
ATU leadership
Black & Beyond the Binary Collective CAIR
Central City Concern
Centro Cultural
Clackamas Community College
Committee on Accessible Transportation
Constructing Hope
Division Midway Alliance
El Programa Hispano
FACT Oregon
Fair Housing Coalition
Flossin Media/Soul District
Guardian Angels
Hacienda CDC
Home Plate Youth Services
Latino Network
Lewis and Clark Gender Project

LIF participants
Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
NECN (Northeast Neighborhood Coalition)
Oregon Futures Lab (CCC partner organization)
Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF)
Portland Community College
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI)
Portland Office of Community and Civic Life
Portland United Against Hate
Resolutions Northwest
Rosewood Initiative
Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI)
Street Trust
System security staff and partners
The Slavic Network of Oregon
Transit Equity Advisory Committee
TriMet bus operators
TriMet rail operators
TriMet Riders Club
TriMet service workers
Unite Oregon
We All Rise

Equity steps TriMet has taken

TriMet has been actively working to make our transit system fair and equitable. Here are steps and actions we’ve taken over the past five years, in coordination with our Transit Equity Advisory Committee:

  • Initiated two independent analyses (in 2016 and in 2018) of our fare citation process that found no systemic racial bias.
  • Decriminalized fare enforcement by soliciting in 2017 a change in state law to allow TriMet to resolve fare evasion citations directly rather than citations automatically going to the court.
  • Reduced the punitive impacts of fare evasion penalties in July 2018 with potential for reduced fines, community service or enrollment in TriMet’s Honored Citizen reduced fare program.
  • Implemented a low income fare program in 2018 that has allowed more than 31,000 people to ride with Honored Citizen reduced fare, a 72% discount over TriMet’s base fare.
  • Changed TriMet Code as of December 2018 to clarify that fare evasion only is not a crime and have discontinued routine fare checks by police.
  • Increased unarmed security personnel beginning in 2017 in response to community concerns over militarized security presence.
  • Worked with regional district attorneys in December 2016 to dramatically reduce the use of Interfering with Public Transportation (IPT) charges.
  • Implemented additional training in spring 2019 for contract security staff and fare inspectors related to community safety practices, de-escalation and non-confrontational interactions.