Enhancing Access To Opportunity For Women Through Transportation
News | October 29, 2019 | Share
By Saundarya Mehra
Everyone, regardless of who they are, deserves access to opportunities through better urban design and transportation.
That was the message behind a design workshop hosted by the Womxn at Lime employee resources group on October 24th. More than 60 people were in attendance to hear from a featured panel of four industry-leading women as they led a discussion on gender disparities in transportation and ways to improve them moving forward.
THE ISSUES: SAFETY, TRIP SCHEDULING AND WHY THEY MATTER
Increasing both knowledge of and empathy for transportation issues that disproportionately affect women is a vital step towards their resolution.
Safety continues to be one of the most important factors for women when choosing a mode of transportation. In a global rider survey of over 18,000 riders, Lime’s policy research team found that female riders are more likely than male riders to identify safety as a barrier to riding a scooter. To combat this, Lime launched a Training Mode feature in Rio De Janeiro that allows a new rider to select a slower maximum speed when trying a Lime scooter for the first time.
Relatedly, women tend to have schedules that include more trips per day than men, at times that don’t correspond with peak commuting hours. They’re also more likely to rely on public transport for personal mobility, which makes traveling to multiple destinations a challenge due to an increase in travel time and cost. Therefore, if transit services are to be gender-neutral, it’s necessary to make them available during a wider range of traveling and working hours.
Actionable steps like these must be taken to ensure that users feel comfortable and safe on all modes of transportation including micromobility, public transit, ride-hailing and walking.
WHAT SHOULD WE START, STOP AND CONTINUE?
After the panel spoke, attendees were challenged to brainstorm actionable insights that could help make transportation more gender-neutral. Members from Womxn at Lime facilitated a series of small-group workshops to determine what practices and policies could improve the future of mobility for women globally. Below are the key takeaways:
WHAT TO START?
More accessible channels for public transit feedback
Hosting city feedback sessions at multiple times throughout a day or providing the ability for individuals to submit public comment via online portals would help broaden the representation of different types of citizens when making public transportation decisions
Improved lighting and shelters at transit stops
Adequate lighting of the bus stop area is an important safety and security feature, particularly for those customers considered to be more vulnerable. Several technologies have already been developed with this in mind. For example, GE’s recent partnership with ShotSpotter helps police respond faster and more accurately to gun violence and makes vulnerable people feel safer when taking transit at night.
Improved representation and diversity in transportation industries
As of 2017, women’s share of transportation occupations stands at 14.6%. Through strong female role models and mentors, we can attract more women to the transportation industry.
WHAT TO STOP?
Assuming people only travel within the city
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the average commute time is 32 minutes with less than 20% of the population working in the same city in which they live. Ensuring that cities are building transportation solutions that eliminate silos and provide robust regional transportation networks is integral to increasing access to opportunity.
Designing cities for cars
In her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urban activist Jane Jacobs predicted “erosion of cities by automobiles or attrition of automobiles by cities.” The rapid growth and adoption of new, trip-appropriate transportation options is making it possible to get around large urban areas without the hassle or expense of owning a personal car. We must start designing our cities to reflect this change in consumer behavior.
WHAT TO CONTINUE?
More protected bike lanes and car-free zones
San Francisco recently approved a $600-million plan to turn Market Street into a multi-use space for streetcars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians. Other major world cities like New York, Barcelona, Paris and Oslo have established car-free zones in downtown centers in an attempt to increase multi-modal transit and reduce carbon emissions.
Panic Buttons in transportation methods
Companies must continue to leverage technology to make emergency response quicker and easier. In May 2018, Uber globally launched an emergency button that would allow riders to contact first responders in the event that something goes wrong during their trip.
MORE ABOUT WOMXN AT LIME
Womxn at Lime is an employee resources group founded in February 2019. Members believe that a diverse and inclusive work environment maximizes the potential of every employee and drives economic growth within an organization. The ERG strives to recruit, engage, develop and retain Womxn at Lime through initiatives that help alleviate workplace gender differences and promote diversity of all kinds.
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