Gendered Innovation 1: Visualizing the Mobility of Care
Method: Rethinking Language and Visual Representations
Gendered Innovation 2: Conceptualizing and Studying Trip Chaining
Method: Rethinking Concepts and Theories
Gendered Innovation 3: Gathering Sex-Disaggregated Data Improves Transport Policy and Research
Method: Analyzing Factors Intersecting with Sex and Gender
Researchers examining public transportation often categorize trips according to purpose in order to better understand existing transportation patterns and to better plan for infrastructure changes. For example, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration uses the following categories for public transit (U.S. FHA, 2009):
- ●To/From Work
●Other Family/Personal Errands
●Social and Recreational
Categories used in transportation surveys—and, hence, the way statistics are gathered and analyzed—may not properly account for caring work, i.e., unpaid labor performed by adults for children or other dependents, including labor related to the upkeep of a household.
Gendered Innovation 1: Visualizing the Mobility of Care
Time Use Surveys provide a perspective for evaluating transportation surveys. The Harmonised European Time Use Survey codes time use into forty-nine categories and provides sex-disaggregated data on time usage within fifteen countries. In Spain, women spend more time than men performing the three explicit categories of childcare coded in the Survey-
Data for Spain are similar to data averaged across the EU; in the 15 countries surveyed, women performed an average of 32 minutes of childcare per day, and men performed an average of 12 minutes. In all EU countries surveyed, women spent significantly more time performing childcare than men—from 1.7 times more in Sweden to 4.8 times more in Latvia. This pattern holds in the U.S. as well—in 2010, the average U.S. woman spent 32 minutes caring for and helping children in her household, twice as much as the average U.S. man’s 16 minutes (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). It is important to recognize that men’s caring work has increased over time. Care-giving among British fathers, for example, increased nine-fold from 1961 to 1999 (O’Brien et al., 2003).
That women spend significantly more time than men performing caring work implies that consideration of caring work is a key to gender equality in transportation; many forms of caring work rely on public transportation.
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga’s innovative concept, “mobility of care,” provides a perspective for “recognizing and revaluing care work”—to appreciate the trips that women and men make when caring for others (Sánchez de Madariaga, 2009). Adding this concept to transportation surveys facilitates designing these trips into transit systems—see Method.
The innovative concept “mobility of care” reveals significant travel patterns otherwise concealed in data collection variables (Sánchez de Madariaga, 2012; Sánchez de Madariaga, 2009). The charts below represent public transportation trips made in Spain in 2007. The first chart (left) graphs transportation data as traditionally collected and reported. It privileges paid employment by presenting it as a single, large category. Caring work (shown in red) is divided into numerous small categories and hidden under other headings, such as escorting, shopping and leisure.
The second chart (right) reconceptualizes public transportation trips by collecting care trips into one category. Visualizing care trips in one dedicated category recognizes the importance of caring work and allows transportation engineers to design systems that work well for all segments of the population, improve urban efficiency, and guard against global warming (Sánchez de Madariaga, 2011).
A number of innovations in transportation design have been implemented to support the mobility of care. In London, for example, these include:
● Step-free access to trains, subways, and buses. Transportation authorities are removing steps from streets to platforms to accommodate baby carriages, luggage, wheelchairs, and similar devices. By 2007, the London Underground had developed 47 step-free stations.
● Wide aisle gate access to transportation.
● Level access from platforms to trains (Transport for London, 2007).
Gendered Innovation 2: Conceptualizing and Studying Trip Chaining
A simplistic definition of a “trip” describes each trip as a journey from a single starting location to a single destination, typically using a single form of transportation. The concepts of “trip chaining” and “multipurpose trips” expand on this definition by recognizing that trips often involve a sequence of destinations and are multimodal (McGuckin et al., 2005b; Hanson, 1980). Research on trip chaining has examined the directions of trips, timing of travel, and purpose of the stops with attention to gender and other factors intersecting with sex and gender—see Methods below.
Analyzing gender in transportation requires challenging underlying concepts and identifying gaps in the way data are collected. It also requires introducing new concepts and theories that model the complex routes taken by real people. A study of travel in the United States between 1995 and 2001 using the concept of trip chaining has produced the following insights regarding women’s and men’s travel patterns:
● A greater number of women than men make multiple-stop trips when traveling between their homes and workplaces. This difference between women and men is decreasing, however, mainly as a result of an increase in trip chaining among men (between 1995 and 2001, the number of stops men made while returning home from work increased by 24%).
● Women make more short stops on the way to or from work than do men to perform household-sustaining activities, such as shopping and family errands, and working women in two-worker families were twice as likely as men in two-worker families to pick up and drop off school-age children at school during their commute.
● Other demographic variables interact with gender in predicting trip chaining. For example, having a child under age 5 increases trip chaining by 54% for working women and 19% for working men—see chart (McGukin et al., 2005a).
Research on trip chaining—with attention to gendered differences in travel—has been the key to urban development in Vienna, for example. When planning extensions to subway lines, civil engineers considered multi-destination trips involving travel to workplaces, crèches, schools, hospitals, and parks (Irschik, 2008).
Gendered Innovation 3: Gathering Sex-Disaggregated Data Improves Transportation Research and Policy
In 2001, officials in the Swedish Transportation Department acknowledged disparities between women and men in transportation sector employment (for example, most people in leadership positions were men, a form of vertical segregation) and proposed integrating gender analysis into Swedish transportation policy and administration practices (Sahlin et al., 2001). To advance the goal of creating “a gender-equal road transport system […] that is designed to fulfill the transport needs of both women and men,” researchers disaggregated transportation data by sex. Researchers found that, among people in paid employment, a greater proportion of women (18%) than men (14%) use public transit. Other differences were also observed.
Subsequently, in planning a new commuter route project in Skåne (Sweden’s southernmost province), planners “prioritized routes that contributed to strengthening and developing local labour market regions for women, as these regions are geographically smaller, ahead of routes that expand the wider geographical labour market regions for men” (Swedish Road Administration, 2009). The Swedish Road Administration has also highlighted the need for a transit system to support gender equality, and its considerations include the reality that women “take more responsibility [than do men] for household work and caring for the young and elderly” (Swedish Road Administration, 2010).
Multiple EU projects funded under the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) use sex and gender analysis to enhance research. For example, the FP7 Transport Needs for an Ageing Society (TRACY) project gives "special attention to the gendered nature" of older people's transport needs (Gather et al., 2011).
Disaggregating data by sex is a first step. To serve a wide user base, other variables need to be considered and analyzed for how they interact with sex and gender (Audirac, 2008). These include:
● Age: Designing public transport systems to consider the mobility needs of older adults supports safe mobility for older people who have ceased driving for various health reasons (Currie et al., 2010). Gender also interacts with age in the context of driving cessation: researchers found that “older females were more likely than males to have planned ahead [for cessation], made the decision themselves, and stopped at appropriate times” (Oxley et al., 2011). The correlation between age and geographic location is a serious challenge in supporting the mobility of older people; more older people live in rural areas than do younger people (O’Neill, 2010).
● Family status: The presence of children—particularly young children—increases the number of caring trips and the need for routes to accommodate these needs (Crane, 2007).
● Ethnicity: In the United States, use of public transportation differs by both sex and self-reported ethnicity. In all ethnic groups, women make a larger proportion of their trips via public transportation than do men. These sex differences, however, vary by ethnicity (see chart below produced with data from Doyle et al., 2000).
● Geographic location: Locations differ in safety. New design features have made transportation safer. These include designated waiting areas, transparent bus shelters, emergency intercoms and surveillance mechanisms, and alternative services and routes, such as request-stop programs that allow nighttime users to disembark from the bus at locations closer to their final destination at night (Schulz et al., 1996).
Researchers working on the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) Growing Older, Staying Mobile (GOAL) project have created profiles of older people by analyzing gender alongside other factors, including demographic variables (age, financial resources, employment, etc.) and patterns of transit usage (Hoedemaeker et al., 2012).
Analyzing gender in public transportation requires:
- 1. Rethinking categories used in public transportation surveys. The innovative concept “mobility of care” captures significant travel patterns, and it can be used to render public transportation more equitable and responsive to users’ needs.
2. Rethinking basic concepts, such as what constitutes a “trip”—whether to a single destination or a series of “chained” destinations.
3. Gathering data disaggregated by sex and other variables (such as income, self-reported ethnicity, family status, etc.) that may correlate with transit use.
The European Commission and other governmental organizations have identified how sex and gender analysis can enhance public transportation through both basic research and policymaking:
- 1. Analyzing biological sex differences (in women’s and men’s height, weight, etc.) in designing steps and railings, positioning buttons, and other use factors. This analysis includes rethinking standards and reference models as necessary to recognize pregnancy as a normal physiological state (European Commission, 2007).
2. Collecting sex-disaggregated transportation data and including factors intersecting with sex and gender (such as “socioeconomic and demographic indicators”) in data analysis (European Commission, 2007).
- 1. Working to eliminate disparities between women’s and men’s representation on transit planning boards through efforts to increase the number of women experts in the transit work programme (European Commission, 2007).
2. Conducting regular and systematic “gender audits” to evaluate transport systems from a gender perspective (Hamilton et al., 2000).
3. Harmonizing transportation and time use statistics within the European Union in order to account for the mobility of care (European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, 2006).
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