Case Study - RSSB: Alcohol-related Problems on the Railway

Client: Rail Safety and Standards Board
Sector: the transport sector
Services delivered: risk management , engaging the public

Alcohol Promotion

Alcohol is widely acknowledged to be a major problem for society in Britain, and the railways are not exempt. Intoxicated passengers are more likely to injure themselves, be victims of crime, behave antisocially or act aggressively towards staff and other rail users.

To better understand the problem and what can be done to address it, Risk Solutions was commissioned to lead a major study in the area as part of the rail industry’s R&D programme, managed by RSSB and funded by DfT. Risk Solutions worked with Ipsos MORI, Liverpool John Moores University and SPN Associates to:

  • Analyse industry data over a ten year period to identify patterns and trends in alcohol-related incidents
  • Survey staff and members of the public about their perceptions of the problems and what should be done to address them
  • Consult the industry and learn from the experiences of other countries and industries on ways of reducing alcohol-related problems.

We found that a high proportion of both passengers and staff believe that antisocial and aggressive behaviour is alcohol-related, and that this is a key area of concern. There is considerable support for stronger measures to address alcohol-related problems on the railways, although many of the more popular measures could have significant cost implications.

The research identified a wide variety of ways of reducing alcohol-related problems and presented these in a good practice guide.

Although there are things that individual rail companies can do, many of the measures require the industry to work with local communities and/or other industry players to achieve maximum effect.

The project report and good practice guide have been published on RSSB’s website:

Link to report and guide.


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