October 12, 2022

Lowering Emissions By Getting Men To Travel Like Women

Viewpoint Vancouver has been writing about a big gap in how transportation and city planning is perceived, and that is that women are not included or thought about as users. Besides  the late urbanist Jane Jacobs, can you name five internationally known women working in city planning?

No one had previously asked women how they travel and why, and it appeared to be something that was not seen as important  As Viewpoint Vancouver wrote, a study in Dublin showed that women take many transit journeys associated with caring for others or for children, and view safety and security of using and accessing transit as paramount.

A similar study undertaken by the University of Alberta and Montreal Polytechnique looked at major Canadian transit systems and found that women did not travel on transit at “peak” business hours, but did many trips throughout the day from early morning to evening.

Women also “trip chain” making multiple stops on the same trip to accomplish tasks. One of the outcomes of the study was the need for more frequent bus service outside of peak business times, as well as facilities that were easy and safe.

As written by Giovanna Coi in Politico, a 2020 study commissioned in Sweden found that while men and women make the same number of trips daily, men travel farther and like to use cars, while women like to “trip chain” and meld in “family, work and social responsibilities”. The surprise is that women are “more likely to choose alternatives to cars when available”.

Here’s the kicker: if men travelled like women, the study suggests that  “Sweden’s emissions from passenger transport would decrease by nearly 20 percent”.

Take a look at vehicle advertising: it is directly aimed at men, not women, even though women buy more than half of all vehicles and influence 80 percent of all purchases.

Car ownership shows status and independence, and  many of the vehicle ads show vehicles traversing across wonderful fields to beautiful lakes and mountains.  Vehicles are not just embedded metal carbon emitters, they are also emotional touchpoints that are not rational, Professor Marlene Freudendal-Pedersen of Aalborg University contends.

A survey undertaken by the European Parliament in 2019 found women were more likely than men to walk or use public transport. In cities that have safe cycling infrastructure like that provided in the Netherlands, women cycle more than men.

European cities are working at changing that paradigm.

Besides creating good transit availability, cycling and walking infrastructure,  companies are also incentivizing employees to use public transit or cycling through programs at work. By getting more men out of private vehicle use, it assists public transit in having more frequency and being able to run routes  more frequently in the off business hour peaks needed by women ridership.

You can take a look at the marketing by  Brussels Mobility that suggests  cycling to work as using the biggest sports hall to get fit and save money.

And yes, the emphasis is on getting men to bike.




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