Module 1: Why Gender and Transport?
Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

1.2. Transport Planning

Road, railroad, port and inland waterway planning, design, and construction take into account the terrain and potential for promoting national economic growth. The specific needs and potential displacement of local people living along the transport routes tend to be addressed after initial feasibility analysis has been carried out. Planning and design for roads can overlook the possible negative impacts of transport infrastructure and services on the safety and activities of local people, especially among women, girls, youth and the elderly. Badly conceptualized transport planning can harm people, particularly the poor. Road safety issues and statistics illustrate the disproportionate negative impacts of transport planning that leaves out people, particularly poor people.

Road Safety

  • Road accidents are roughly 20 times higher in developing countries.
  • The vast majority of road accident victims are pedestrians and cyclists.
  • A large proportion of these victims are poor people who cannot afford motorized transport – many are women, the youth and the elderly.

Public Transportation

Most public transportation - both urban and rural - is routed and scheduled to serve commuting trips to work, largely those of men, not women's multiple roles as mothers, producers and entrepreneurs that require off peak travel to multiple destinations. Studies have documented the negative economic, education and health impacts of public transport planning that failed to take women's travel needs into account. For example, in South Africa, many women work as housekeeprs and shift workers who need to travel to many locations at different times, usually at off-peak hours when limited bus services are provided. They also face harassment on the buses or while waiting at bus stops..

Feeder Roads, Tracks, Paths, and Foot Bridges

Transport planning usually focuses on national highways and other major road networks rather than the feeder roads, tracks, paths and foot bridges that are the main travel routes for women, girls and boys going to fields, markets, school, and health centers. It is important to recognize that upgrading these extended transport networks for foot, draft animal, bike, and motorbike travel is essential to increasing the efficiency of rural access, particularly for women, girls and boys.

Intermediate Means of Transport (IMT)

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Intermediate means of transport (IMT) such as bicycles and carts provide an effective, relatively low cost approach to increasing productivity, income and the volume of goods that women and youth, as well as men, can transport to market to sell. But all too often only men have access to IMTs. Effective transport planning incorporates strategies to ensure that women as well as men benefit from projects introducing IMTs.

Waterways and Ports

Programs to develop waterways and ports rarely take into account women’s transport needs or the roles that women and youth can and do play as boat owners and operators, traders on boats, or as contractors, laborers and employees in ports and water transport. Construction of rural inland waterway transport --used by poor women and men to provide transport services for trade, and fishing for sale --has recieved little attention from transport planners. Tax exemptions provided for road transport are rarely given for rural water transport. In addition, construction of roads and bridges can negatively impact rural water transport systems.

Participatory Planning

Participatory planning with local people that includes the voices of women, youth and children is important because their needs are different. Women's community activities can help increase the sustainability of infrastructure development, maintenance and services.In addition, involvement of women in transport planning can generate opportunities for women as well as men to participate in and plan implementation activities such as road construction.

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