Geetam Tiwari on Safe Transport for Women

In sharing this posting with you in the first week of this new collaborative project, we have two objectives in view. The first is to draw your gnet 2 pic home pageattention to an excellent recent discussion paper on barriers to safe and efficient travel facing women in cities by Prof. Geetam Tiwari of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, which appears in a program of the Research Centre of the OECD’s International Transport Forum. (The full series of Discussion Papers can be downloaded from

The second motivation is to encourage our readers to profit from the software package that underlies this program in order to consult and read not only the contents of the entire website, but also to access the documents that will be stored in our shared library. Think of it as slow reading, the best way to grasp a complex topic.

Planning and designing transport systems to ensure safe travel for women

 – Geetam Tiwari, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

– – – > For your copy of the full 21 page paper, please turn to our Shared Library at


cover oecd paper geetam 2014Safe 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)1. 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)2. 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.

Worldwide men have higher risk of getting involved in traffic crashes than women (WHO).This is primarily attributed to lower presence of women on the road as compared to men, and differential risk taking behaviour observed in men and women. Safety and security of transport systems may have an impact on not only the choice of destination and mode used but the decision to travel itself.

Travel patterns of men and women are different has been reported by different researchers for a long time. Travel patterns of men and women differ across geographical locations, city size and income groups. In general women travel shorter distances, are more dependent on non-motorized modes of transport and public transport. Hanson (2010)3 concludes that the fact the women have lower mobility than men, many feminist researchers see spatial mobility as empowering and not oppressive. Lower mobility as shown by shorter distances travelled, mostly dependent on walking, and public transport is equated to lower access to employment opportunities and lower status on women.

However, the understanding of sustainability will require revisiting the interpretation of lower mobility in view of the requirements of sustainable development and sustainable transport. Empowerment of women will have to come through enhanced accessibility to various opportunities without dependence on motorized mobility

– – – > For the full 21 page paper, please turn to our Shared Library at

Reading away from the desk

The software platform  for this website has been optimized to  provide a comfortable reading environment  both in the office on a computer and when you are away from your computer but have  access to an iPad, tablet or smartphone.  This may sound like the trivial matter , but the fact is that  ever so much competition for our attention when  in the office or in front of a computer, that  for leisurely read  we are generally obliged to print out  the full paper, with all of the unfortunate ecological implications of that act.

So if you do happen have access to any of those  increasingly  available  in-hand technologies, we hope you will  give it a try when it comes to articles such a you will find in the Open Library of the Gnet 2.0 program .  Professor Tiwari’s paper deserves an unhurried read  in a quiet environment.  Give it a try and tell us what you think.

gnet 2 pic home page

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About the author:

Geetam Tiwari hold the MoUD Chair and is Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering/Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP)of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).

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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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