The intent of this research is to evaluate data collection, analysis, and planning practices with respect to women’s travel needs among American public transit agencies. Although there have been several media reports that highlight this topic (e.g., https://www.wired.com/story/making-public-transit-fairer-to-women-demands-data/ and https://newcities.org/the-big-picture-transport-is-not-gender-neutral-womens-mobility-and-accessibility-for-better-economic-opportunities/), there has not been a recent examination of the extent to which transit agencies collect data regarding women or consider their travel needs when planning services.
In transportation planning, gender has recently been emphasized as an issue to be featured on the agenda of sustainable and inclusive transport systems. An important barrier to including women’s needs in public transit planning can potentially be attributed to a lack of gender-specific data. With an absence of data collection practices designed to capture gender differences in public transit use and travel demand, little gender-specific insight can be generated. This is problematic as data are applied in several aspects of transit planning, such as developing service standards, fare policies, and business cases for major public transit projects. So, if public transit agencies lack an understanding of how, when, and why women travel, how can service be designed and delivered in a way that works for women?
In this proposed knowledge research, we seek to understand (1) the differentiated transport needs and experiences of women and (2) the current practice of considering women’s distinct travel needs in public transit planning, including available data that are collected by public transit agencies and methods to analyze these data.