How we reached this point
Research background and aim
This project has been delivered through the Future Transport Visions Group (FTVG), funded by the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund. The FTVG is run as an annual competition; incentivising early career professionals to submit a paper, presentation, or product that responds to the challenges and opportunities posed by ongoing changes in the transportation industry. We would like to thank FTVG Mentors Laura Menéndez González and Rahul Modhvadia for their support throughout. Click the logo to learn more about the FTVG.
The aim of our research was to understand the extent to which a gender focus is currently incorporated in transport planning processes and how this can be improved, to achieve a more inclusive transport system.
We recognise that as researchers we have our own biases. Although we all identify as women, we are all white, middle class, able bodied and of a similar age and therefore do not account for all women’s experiences. Therefore a key part of our work is to gather and understand the views of other transport professionals via discussions, a survey and workshops - a huge thank you to everyone who has helped!
An ongoing literature has been central throughout our research. This has helped us to identify gaps within current knowledge and provided details on best practice case studies to include within this toolkit. The key gaps identified were:
There is a lack of evidence surrounding the barriers to gender mainstreaming and what is distinctly preventing it from being adopted as a strategy for achieving gender equality.
There is limited research that specifically gained insights from transport professionals about their views on gender equality and how they approach or would approach achieving it.
There is little UK based guidance on how to incorporate gender mainstreaming into transportation.
We are continually seeking the latest literature to inform our toolkit. If you know of documents which may be of interest please get in contact.
We carried out an online survey that was open for three weeks. Survey participants were self-selecting and the survey was shared on a number of different social media channels. We also asked participants to share it with their own networks.
Our survey sample
Number of Participants
Less than 5 years: 32%
6-10 years: 18%
11-15 years: 15%
16-20 years: 12%
21 years +: 22%
Number of years of Experience in the Transport Sector
Current employment area
Transport Planning: 54%
Transport Modelling: 7%
Data Science: 3%
Transport Operations: 5%
Academia / Research: 5%
Type of organisation participants worked for
Public sector: 41%
Private sector: 49%
University or academic institution: 5%
Non-Governmental Organisation: 2%
Self employed: 3%
Professional association: 1%
Key survey findings:
Consideration of gender in day to day work:
We asked participants what level of consideration gender was given in their day to day work:
13% of participants always considered it
41% of participants somewhat considered it
46% of participants never considered it
We then asked those participants who always and somewhat considered it to outline examples. Examples given can be grouped into four key areas:
"Consideration to gender in stakeholder engagement to ensure representation across the board where possible."
"When looking at community engagement opportunities, we consider gender as a way to think about barriers people may have to getting involved."
"We focus on designing inclusive transport infrastructure, making sure that transport provision doesn't exclude people because of any protected characteristics, including gender."
"Design of cycle routes to ensure women feel safe to use them from both a road safety and personal safety point of view."
"We now routinely disaggregate data by gender in research we are undertaking."
"Demographic segmentation e.g. Mosaic/Experian datasets."
"Recruitment of participants for studies - equal gender split and disaggregation of data
"In my policy research I consider the different travel patterns and needs of women, for example, they may have more complicated journey patterns and trip chains as a result of caring responsibilities."
"We look at data and research regularly about how different groups are advantaged and disadvantaged by transport policy."
Accounting for different gender needs:
We asked participants to rank the usefulness of seven different areas that might help transport professionals to better account for different gender needs in their work.
Respondents thought it would be the most useful to attract more women into the industry. In all areas of change proposed mostly positive sentiments were expressed by participants. Perhaps unsurprisingly a large majority of participants (93%) thought that doing nothing (business as usual) would not be a useful strategy.
We carried out two interactive virtual workshops with a total of 53 participants. Participants self selected to attend through our survey.
The workshop gave a brief overview of our research and the core discussion centred around the following four questions:
1. What do we already do to address the issue?
2. What are the main barriers?
3. What areas can we (transport professionals) target?
4. What should the toolkit include?
We have included some of the responses from the workshop questions below.
WHAT PEOPLE SAID
1.WHAT DO WE ALREADY DO TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE?
We consider gender as part of EQIAs + we try to be inclusive when collecting demographic data
Designing to LTN 1/20 is about enabling all groups to cycle... and so designing for all ages and abilities (and genders!)
Gender balance of forums to capture diverse views at the design and strategy stage and through delivery.
Can't think of a single example where the transport needs of women were explicitly considered.
2. WHAT ARE THE MAIN BARRIERS?
There is an awareness issue among men - practitioners and politicians - not even aware of many issues faced by women in the first place - need for education and discussion around it.
Tendency for working in modal silos - don't plan well for multi-modal, chained trips.
A disbelief that this is an issue! A lack of understanding how gender and transport are linked.
The need to integrate Social Value into our business cases... why do we still focus on time/money impacts
3. WHAT AREAS CAN WE (TRANSPORT PROFESSIONALS) TARGET?
Appraisal methodologies and other decision making tools need to reflect the different needs of women
Need to fill in gaps both quantitative data and the more qualitative stories of women's' personal experience
Encourage more women to work in the field - get a diverse workforce who can help shape policies and capture requirements of women
Lobbying the Treasury to enforce the Green Book requirements on equalities, gender and families by the DfT in decision making
4. WHAT SHOULD THE TOOLKIT INCLUDE?
How can we engage communities much, much earlier... appreciate the differences of different groups
Have webinars that demonstrate how gender can influence transport choices - I'm female and still very ignorant on this topic
The overarching theme could be - does this transport scheme benefit people from all genders equally?
Good practise examples to provide inspiration
Feedback from the workshops was overall positive and participants showed a keen interest in the topic of gender equality in transportation which we hope carries on into their work.
'Thanks for bringing this important topic to the fore'
'I learnt new things and was enthused about putting more effort in my own work with gender equality'
Shaping the toolkit
Following the completion of our workshops we analysed the data collected from both the surveys and the workshop sessions. Through this analysis we identified eight areas of focus for our toolkit that would best support transport professionals in gender mainstreaming.