Global Resources

Women's issues in transportation: summary of the 4th international conference.

Author: S. Herbel, D. Gaines
Publisher: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies
Publication Date: Jan 2010
In 2009, over 140 researchers and practitioners came together from around to world to meet in California for The Fourth International Conference on Women’s Issues in Transportation. The aim of the conference was to stimulate thinking and research on transportation issues that are central to women’s lives. The agenda was built around four such central themes: demographics and travel behaviour; safety and personal security; transportation planning; and extreme events, e.g. climate- or terrorist-related events. The organisers of the conference, the Transport Research Board of the National Academies, have produced this summary of the proceedings, comprising a large collection of works from numerous researchers, on a variety of aspects of gender and transport, and each complete with topics for further research. The document is divided into two main parts, an overview of the conference plenary sessions, and the plenary papers themselves. The first session concerned framing the issue, with Martin Wachs providing an overview of existing research on women’s transportation issues. Gender, poverty, and transportation in the developing world is discussed by Ananya Roy, before other aspects are covered, such as a comparative look at developed and developing country stories, restrictions on women’s mobility, the changing travel patterns of women in the Netherlands, and mobility issues in Africa and Asia. The sessions continue to comprehensively cover each aspect of transportation, with a look at attitudes and preferences by gender in commuting; gender equality and equity issues, identified here by Merritt Polk as a key tool for reaching sustainable development in the transport sector; older women’s safe mobility; driver behaviour and crashes, comparing gender disaggregated data; mobility issues for women and children in times of crisis, such as evacuations for non-drivers; and finally discussion on future research agendas. It is concluded that though researchers know well the gendered nature of transport, there remains limited policy traction on the issue. More research could explore methods for translating the findings of gender research into policy.