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Death on the lifeline: The perceptions of Mumbai’s commuters to high-density-related risk
journal contributionposted on 26.07.2018, 00:00 by Lily Hirsch, Kirrilly Thompson, Verna Blewett, Danielle Every
Mumbai's (India) suburban rail system has the world’s most densely crowded trains (Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd, 2013) and risks to passengers’ safety and security are high. While a number of papers and reports analyse threats to passenger security from a government or policy perspective, there is a dearth of literature about the impact of hostile intent on the individuals who form the crowd. Using data from a larger project on passenger perceptions of crowdedness in high-density rail situations, this article examines passenger perceptions of risk and security in Mumbai. These include the socio-criminal risks of pickpocketing and molestation, the design-associated risk of falling from the moving train, and the wider politically motivated risk of terrorism. In particular, we consider the physical and psychological methods that passengers employ to mitigate these risks. This provides an unprecedented understanding of how risk is incorporated in everyday behaviour on trains.