Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
As the Biden administration begins to advance its Build Back Better agenda and its infrastructure bill begins to take shape, as a nation we must make a concerted effort to ensure that these investments truly make us better off. Since public transit and passenger rail are expected to be big winners of upcoming public spending, we must plan these projects to help women feel safe riding trains, buses, and metros.
Why This Matters: The recent murder of 33-year-old British woman Sarah Everard has fueled a massive outcry around the world on how women do not feel safe in public spaces.
It’s not just women in countries in Afghanistan that are reluctant to use public transit (as a new IFC report highlights), American women pay more than men for transportation services as they do not feel safe riding public transportation at night and opt for taxis and rideshares. In fact, women are significantly less likely — about half as likely as men — to take advantage of a new rail line near their house due to safety concerns.
Getting single-occupancy vehicles off the road is a crucial part of reducing our national greenhouse gas emissions, but as we plan the transit systems of tomorrow we have to ensure that all Americans feel safe using them.
What Are The Solutions? This is of course is a complicated answer but public policy can be enacted to better protect vulnerable groups like women and people of color on public transit. As StreetsBlog wrote, in 2018 Oregon Rep. Peter Defazio, introduced legislation to require transit agencies to protect riders and employees from sexual assault. But the bill didn’t go anywhere.
The Mineta Institute did a study on best practices addressing women’s safety on transit.
One measure they found was helpful was allowing “night stops” like they do in Canada and Sweden.
These policies allow women to ask the bus driver to stop at any location — including locations that are not posted bus stops — during nighttime hours. The driver is supposed to allow only the woman to exit at those stops.
Additionally, the Mineta study recommends some common-sense recommendations like,
Having women be a part of the transit planning process (duh!)
Using data and crime reports to assess which stops need better safety funding
Planning a “whole journey approach” as parking lots near transit stops also pose danger to women, not just the ride itself
And other programs like security technology in transportation settings, information and media campaigns (such as anti-harassment messages on bus shelters and stations); and specific policies (e.g. escort programs, cab vouchers, request-stop programs) that intend to decrease the fear of women riders
The bottom line: Men and women use public transportation differently, and these differences should help shape the design and implementation of transit systems–a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. This awareness will also create urban and suburban spaces that give people a range of mobility options and lead to smarter cities.
The Biden administration is hoping to move the United States into the electric vehicle era through massive investments in incentives to get EVs on the road as well as the build-out of 500,000 EV charging stations across the country. Yet this revolution is reliant upon Americans making the switch to EVs in mass numbers. As […]
Recently, Transportation for America’s Director Beth Osborne sat down to speak with former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (now, Chief Policy Officer at Lyft) about how a massive investment in infrastructure can address inequality and provide innovative transportation solutions for a multitude of communities. From micro mobility, to reassessing freeways, and the expansion of public transit, […]
This week we sat down with Congressman Ted Lieu who represents California’s 33rd Congressional district. His district also happens to be one of the most climate-vulnerable regions in the nation where wildfires, extreme heat, and sea-level rise are creating conditions that necessitate comprehensive climate action from the federal government. More specifically, the Congressman told us […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.