January 27, 2020

Understanding Urban Travel Behaviour by Gender for Efficient and Equitable Transport Policies

International Transport Forum

Even though gender is one of the key socio-demographic variables that can influence travel behaviour, it is often the least understood. Understanding travel behaviour by gender will help better design transport policies that are efficient and equitable for everyone.

This study examines travel behaviour by gender in eight different cities, across three different continents, focusing on transport mode, trip purpose, travel distance and departure time for Auckland, Dublin, Hanoi, Helsinki, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon and Manila. Gender analysis should be integrated into the design and implementation of transport demand management strategies that will allow greater levels of flexibility and consideration of all users.

As women have different needs than men, if policies tends towards inclusivity, public transport scheduling needs to consider a wider range of needs and preferences. Also, if cities want to increase their public transport use and occupancy rates, the safety of their services have to be considered in order to attract more women passengers and also to improve the experience of the substantial share of existing women users.

This study has shown that women transport users have more similar travel characteristics to other women in different cities than with men in their own cities, supporting the fact that gender plays a more substantial role in affecting travel behaviour than other factors, such as the built environment, existing transport services, or even age and income. The four policy insights offered are:

  • Public transport scheduling needs to consider a wider range of needs and preferences.
  • Taxi and informal transit services require safer regulations and technologies.
  • Gender analysis leads to effective and efficient transport demand management.
  • Safety improvements are key to ensure optimal public transport use.

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