Want to Boost Transit Ridership? Try Making Women Feel Safer

WIRED | 1/23/2019 | Aarian Marshall
jenny1246 (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://media.wired.com/photos/5c426508ce277c2cb23d5669/191:100/pass/LosAngeles-Woman-Transpo-941662548.jpg

The environmental case for taking public transportation is pretty solid, especially in big cities where options are abundant and traffic unbearable. More than three-quarters of Americans drive by themselves to work every day by themselves, but taking a bus or a train instead might save about a third of your household’s daily carbon emissions. If you’re all-in on the environment, and you live somewhere with frequent, quality public transit, your commute should be a no-brainer.

But another factor is keeping many women away from from sharing a ride to work. According to a peer-reviewed paper presented at the annual Transportation Research Board Meeting last week, women who live nearby transit may be skipping it because they feel unsafe, even during the daily commute.

Researchers - Households - Line - Transit - Rail

The researchers found, yes, more households close to the new line said they used public transit after the it opened, increasing their rail trips by 4.3 percent weekly. But women said they increased their trips only half as much as men, even though they reported the same sorts of pro-environment sentiment. And of the women who said they wouldn’t use the nearby transit option, 20 percent said they were avoiding the line for fear of harassment or for their safety—on the train, at the station, or on the walk to and from it.

“That amount of gender split raises all kinds of efficiency and equity concerns,” says Marlon Boarnet, a professor of urban planning and policy who worked on the study. “We’re putting money into public transportation, and there’s barriers for half the population.”

Boarnet - Notes - Research - Topic - Safety

Boarnet notes that he’d still like to see more research on the topic of how safety concerns affect women’s transit use all over the country, and that this research had a relatively small sample size. He also notes that Hispanics respondents were underrepresented in this work, something...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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