Women in Tokyo strongly favor having single-sex train cars on public transport, according to a poll of five of the world's biggest commuter cities released Thursday, despite such policies facing growing criticism.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of 1,000 female travelers in Tokyo, London, New York City, Cairo and Mexico City found less than half supported women-only sections on trains and buses to boost safety.

But nearly 70 percent of women in Tokyo backed the single-sex carriages introduced in the city in 2000 to combat a phenomenon commonly known as chikan, or groping, on trains. More than half of women surveyed in the city said safety was their top transport concern, but seven in 10 were confident they could now travel without being subjected to sexual harassment or violence.