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Gender-inclusive transport: Moving from inertia to action

December 1, 2021

By Sarah Ray

More and better data is part of the solution to making transportation systems more inclusive for women and other groups, but it’s time to turn insights into action. It will require a fresh imagination, difficult conversations and a bit of deliberate anger, according to experts at an online seminar held recently from Women in Mobility UK network Sponsored Cities today.

The good news is that new tools and examples are popping up.

Hannah is a traitor

Hannah Bogda, Head of Distribution and Statistics Development at the UK Transport Department, shared a snapshot of the National Travel Survey, Which follows long-term trends in the UK. In 2020, women made four percent more trips than men but traveled 22 percent fewer miles. A similar pattern was observed in 2019, before COVID-19.

Women made 22 percent more walking trips than men and slightly less car rides, but men rode bikes 110 percent more than women. Females do more shopping trips which tend to be relatively short, while males do more travel trips and longer businesses. In 2019, before the home education epidemic began, women made a higher rate of education trips compared to men.

“The first step we have taken is to obtain this data and evidence and bring it to a good place. The next step is probably to think about how we can improve the policy,” Bogda said.

Ask why?

Dr. Laila AitBihiOuali, Assistant Professor, Transportation Research Group, University of Southampton, stressed the importance of data collection not only on how women travel but also on why they make their choices, to help transportation operators understand what they can do To improve services.

Dr. Laila Eitbihioli

The study of AitBihiOuali, Based on customer satisfaction data from 28 cities around the world, indicated a gender gap in perceptions of safety and personal safety, with women 10% more likely than men to feel unsafe on the metro, and six% more likely to be on buses. The study also found that women were less satisfied with the services in general than men, although satisfaction levels rise significantly when there is more staff at stations and trains.

“[This] Shows that there is also an incentive for transport providers to try to deal with it, but many of them do not necessarily collect this information in the first place, “said AitBihiOuali.

Separate study AitBihiOuali and colleagues also found that women are 2.5% more likely to report insecurity on public transportation after the #MeToo controversy highlighted experiences of harassment of women.

AitBihiOuali urged transport operators to collect gender-disaggregated gender survey data on a regular basis.

“Frequency is the key to trying and tracking and measuring performance and improving women’s transportation experience. Quantification is always more convincing, because what is measured can be done.”

Use your imagination

Kelly Saunders, a gender and mobility strategist with a background in senior legal and commercial roles at the SNCF Group in Europe and Australia and public policy for the Victorian government, has also called for the integration of non-transport information, including health and ethnographic data.

But she stressed that we need to turn data into collective action. Research since the 1980s has consistently shown that women move around differently than men and that this is often due to safety issues and caring responsibilities.

Kelly Saunders

“We see real analysis,” Saunders said, adding that although there is growing interest from transport and city operators, there is still a lot of “inertia” when it comes to implementation.

Part of that is the difficulty of imagining things differently, which is a focus for Saunders in her doctoral dissertation and counseling.

“I help people imagine what this future transportation system looks like, how it feels, what it really smells like,” she said. “It’s a design for joy, a design for the most human embodied things that are forgotten in our reflections on transportation.”

She gave an example of installing smaller toilets for children in transportation centers.

“I can not tell you the difference when you are destined,” Saunders said. “And I feel that’s a huge underestimation of the way we design transportation networks.”

When women have complex mobility needs or safety concerns, it can lead them to spend more on transportation, change their behavior or avoid some travel altogether.

Sandra Witzel

“I think we should actually be angry about that and … put that anger into our work,” Saunders remarked, noting that as a young transportation professional she was careful not to shake the boat.

“I really separated my feminism from my work. We have to mix them up; we have to bring them to the same place by finding other people – that collective power.”

Sandra Witzel, co-founder of Women in Mobility UK and Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of SkedGo, who moderated the event, added: “We need to keep talking about it and ask questions because quite often, when we look at our work., Maybe not really It is clear where the gender aspects are [fit in]We’re still working on it.

“But I think also do not be afraid to ask these uncomfortable questions and post them in work meetings and discuss them. It is also really important, even when you are not really sure what the solution is.”

Tools for change

Practical tools are developed to spur and enable change.

Transportation designer Laura Brooks was a co-creator Gender Equality Toolkit in Transportation (Get It), To help industry professionals understand how the decisions they make affect women’s mobility and encourage them to respond to gender.

Laura Brooks

Decomposed data is one of the eight areas of focus, alongside education and awareness, industry empowerment, overall design, monitoring and evaluation, creating change, advanced policy and involvement and consultation.

“The purpose of the toolkit is to help challenge the assumptions and any unconscious bias you have,” Brooks said.

She referred to inclusive examples from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Switch lanes Studies, Transportation for London Understanding our diverse communities Research and of Sydney On the Road: How Women Walk Around Our City Report.

God YourGround project A survey of diverse women and men in Victoria, Australia, regarding their safety perceptions in public spaces and allowed them to anonymously tag locations.

Four months TramLab ToolkitsDeveloped through a partnership between the Victorian government and three universities, it covers gender-sensitive communication campaigns, job creation, gender-sensitive data collection and training for service providers and security teams.

The next step, according to Saunders, is to move beyond raising awareness to implement projects and assess their impact.

She said that a process of gender integration means asking, “Does every decision we make on the transportation network work for men and women? And does it work for diverse people as well?”

Restart the online seminar now.

Photo: Leonovo | Dreamstime.com

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