Designing women in and out of urban environments

A young woman attends to a small child in a child seat on the back of the bicycle. The bike has a shopping basket.When it comes to active travel and bike riding, fewer women take up these options than men. The City of Sydney wanted to find out why this inequity exists and commissioned a study. It’s part of their overall strategy to apply a gender lens to planning. With an historical bias towards designing cities for men, the status quo in planning is likely to remain. 

Using participatory methods and a gender lens they found the drivers, enabling factors and barriers affecting women’s transport choices. The report resulting from the study is comprehensive.The key recommendations for supporting women to walk and cycle are: 

    • perceptions about women bike riders 
    • there’s a gender bias in transport planning
    • Safety beyond street lighting and cycle-ways
    • the need to work hand in hand with public transport
    • the need for end-of-trip facilities 

Women’s travel habits are more complex than those of men. That’s because of home and work responsibilities. It’s not just a case of getting from A to B. Women often have more than one stop such as school drop-offs, running errands and doing the shopping.

The report recognises that infrastructure needs to be friendly to all ages, abilities and backgrounds, not just women. The title of the report is, On the Go: How Women Travel Around Our City: A case study on active transport across Sydney through a gender lens.

There are other research reports on active travel on the City of Sydney website. Bike riding is one of the City’s strategies for mitigating climate change.