19 May 2022

Transforming transport

Human factors can play a key role in addressing gender equality in transport, making it safer for women and attracting more female workers to the sector, experts claim. Researchers from the University of Southampton reviewed a series of studies looking at issues such as safety, family and community roles, mobility needs and user behaviour.

They found “deeply embedded inequalities in gender which mark most contemporary societies” and that the transport sector was failing to cater adequately for women. They argue that applying a gender-equitable lens to the issue, rather than “default male thinking” will have a positive effect across all of society.

The report, published in the journal Ergonomics, added: “A gender-equitable human factors can, for example, make cars as ergonomically crash-proof for women as for men. It can ensure trains, platforms and stations are designed to encourage high perceptions of safety for all. Considering where and how electric lighting is used would encourage safer active travel, such as walking, running, and cycling, and reduce differences in confidence and perceptions that affect user behaviour. Gender-equitable human factors could also aspire to create a transport sector with cultures where women are not only attracted to work but retained to become leaders and decision-makers.”

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