International Transport Forum Discussion Papers

ITF Discussion Papers make economic research, commissioned or carried out in-house at the International Transport Forum, available to researchers and practitioners. They describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on a broad range of issues on which the ITF works.

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Planning and Designing Transport Systems to Ensure Safe Travel for Women

Safe travel for all road users is a prerequisite for ensuring sustainable and inclusive cities. Providing safe transport system is an objective for sustainable transport, because risk of injuries and deaths from traffic crashes has become a major public health concern worldwide (WHO, 2011). At the same time safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and public transport users also has an impact on the choice of these modes. Risk to pedestrians, bicyclists and public transport users can be reduced by appropriate street designs and neighbourhood environment. Safer pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure results in increased use of these environment friendly modes (Tiwari & Jain, 2012). Safe travel options for women in general and specifically low income women are important for addressing livelihood and poverty issues for a significant proportion of urban population in low income countries like India. In this paper we present data from two Indian cities- Vishakhapattanam( a city in south India with a population of 1.7 million persons) and Delhi the capital city of India having 16.4 million residents to compare the travel patterns of women and men. The household survey in Delhi focused on low income settlements since poverty adds another dimension to gender bias. The survey repeated after ten years shows that the travel patterns remain unchanged. Women travel shorter distances, are dependent on lower cost modes-walking and public transport and perform multi-purpose linked trips. In view of the sustainability requirements, lower mobility of women must be addressed by ensuring safe accessibility to employment opportunities by walking, bicycles and public transport. The paper concludes with possible interventions required to ensure safe and secure travel of women at land use planning level and street design level.


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