Denmark based global engineering, architecture and consultancy firm ‘Ramboll’ has released a new investigative report on ‘Gender and Mobility’.

Researched and Surveyed across seven countries – Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, India and Singapore; the report highlights the gender inequality in transport and mobility sector.

‘Gender is one of the most robust determinants of transport choice’ (International Transport Forum), however, absence of adequate data and insights to achieve equity in gender representation in transport and mobility design and planning projects has led to differences. The ‘green paper’, thus contributes to bridging the data gender-gap and attempts to create inclusive mobility.

“Low representation of women among both decision makers, researchers, planners, engineers and designers in many sectors such as science, medicine, engineering and technology, combined with unconscious bias towards the average male are some of the reasons why gender-neutral and ‘planning for all’ benefit men more than women” the study observes.

Women walk more than Men, but when it comes to cycling and use of new mobility services like use of e-scooters, Men lead the way.

Women walk to fulfill everyday needs such as grocery, shopping, running household errands and other leisure activities. ‘Fear of harassment and assault when walking’ is one of the gender differences identified by the researchers – a prime impediment that affects women’s safety and freedom.

On Cycling, the findings suggest ‘more women than men associate cycling with being sustainable’. In Delhi and Singapore, cycling is limited to a ‘Fun’ activity and ‘traffic safety’ emerges as a major challenge. Consequently, lack of safe cycling infrastructure is identified as a barrier for cycling for transportation by more women than men.

“Sexual harassment, violence, and poor infrastructure impact women’s lives more than they impact men’s lives.” says Dr. Kalpana Viswanath, co-founder and CEO of Safetipin, a social organization working with a wide range of urban stakeholders including governments to make public spaces safer and more inclusive for women.

According to Dr. Kalpana, the main challenges faced in India in terms of gender and mobility is safety and a lack of robust public infrastructure. She argues that investment in good, women-friendly public transport systems is needed, including infrastructure for cycling and walking that would benefit women in India.

The global survey reveals the presence of technology and digitization has a positive influence and makes cycling easier for both men and women.

‘Oslo and Delhi are the capitals where bike share is used the most and men tend to use the service almost twice as much as women’ claims the study.

In Delhi 30% of men and 26% of women book shared bikes via apps. Likewise, in Delhi, 48% of men and 45% of women use route planning apps often or very often.

Apart from weather conditions and traffic safety, 34% of women and 30% of men find traveling with groceries, bags, etc. a challenge; indicating the need to introduce e-cargo bikes and ease cycle logistics.

The complete report can be downloaded from this link.

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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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