Gender and Transportation

I love reading TheCityFix blog. The insightful posts always teach me something new about sustainable transportation. Today is no different. In honor of International Women’s Day, they posted some excerpts from past blog posts about the intersection of gender and transportation. Since I feel a personal connection to International Women’s Day (it is a celebrated national holiday in Poland, where I grew up), I wanted to share this blog post with all of you.

Here are some excerpts:

Regarding Mexico City launching women-only transit: Following the lead of Tokyo, where the subway has implemented female-only cars so that women can avoid the unwanted gaze or grope of overly-aggressive men, Mexico City has now introduced buses reserved exclusively for women.

Live from the Clinton Global Initiative: Although not explicitly stated in the panel, [“Investing and Girls and Women,”] gender inequality permeates the transportation world. The problems female transit users face in cities around the world may not be entirely equivalent to the global atrocities of war, rape, or torture, but there are numerous studies that show women’s fear of victimization in transportation settings, like bus stops, and other public spaces. Also, transport policies often marginalize or ignore women, who have different travel patterns and behaviors than men but do not have access to adequate transit routes. And gender workforce segregation in the transit industry has also shown to be a detrimental factor to a city’s economy.

Gender and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance: There’s been an absolutely fantastic debate going on online today about the gender gap in urban cycling. This NYT City Room post started off the debate. It notes that in the U.S., men make 3x as many trips by bike than women do and provides two reasons for this. The first is that women are more concerned about safety and suggests that a better bike infrastructure would solve the problem. The second reason the Times provides is that women are more concerned about fashion than men are, though the article does point out that women in Copenhagen don’t seem to have any trouble being stylish and biking.

Do you think the rules are different for men and women regarding transportation? Post your thoughts below.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on March 8, 2010, in Public Infrastructure, Transportation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. See Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, How to Ease Women´s Fear of Transportation Environments: Case Studies and Best Practices (Mineta Trasp. Inst., Oct. 2009)

    From the Abstract: (PDF of report is available on website)

    The relationship between women´s fear and the built environment has been the subject of research with clear findings that women feel unsafe in many public spaces. These often include transportation environments. Desolate bus stops and train cars, dimly lit park-and-ride lots and parking structures, but also overcrowded transit vehicles represent stressful settings for many women, who often feel compelled to change their transportation modes and travel patterns in order to avoid them.

  2. I’m so glad you enjoy reading our blog! If you ever want to contribute – or if you just have a good idea for us – don’t hesitate to get in touch! Thanks, Erica. (Managing Editor,

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