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  • Writer's pictureWTS Sacramento

Recap - June 2020 Lunch Program

On June 16, WTS Sacramento virtually welcomed Meghna Khanna and Elba Higueros of LA Metro to discuss the “Understanding How Women Travel” study. Meghna is the Senior Director with the Mobility Corridors Department at LA Metro, and Elba is the Chief Policy Officer for LA Metro.

The Understanding How Women Travel study aims to take gender into account when designing, operating, and planning the LA Metro system. In 2017, Metro’s Women and Girl’s Governing Council was established which recommended that Metro begin to separate the data it collects about its transit riders by gender to bring visibility to women’s transportation needs and travel patterns, identify mobility barriers and challenges, shift from “Gender Neutral Planning” to “Gender Responsive Planning, and utilize gender specific data to ensure equitable outcomes in the planning and operations of service. Statistically, women are more reliable on transit for transportation, and over half of LA Metro riders (bus and rail) are women.

The first step of this study was an evaluation of existing conditions through literature review, Metro data, the National Household Travel Survey, and the California Household Travel Study. Additionally, the study incorporated a large data collection effort through conventional methods, such as focus groups and surveys, and innovative, ethnographic methods, like participant observations as well as participatory workshops and pop-ups.

The study had very interesting findings. While men and women make the same average trips per day, women tend make multiple short trips, taking children to school or accompanying someone in care. Additionally, men are more likely to travel at peak hours, while women are more likely to be part-time workers traveling off-peak, when service is less frequent. Observations showed that women ride more public transit than men, and almost 90 percent of female riders use the system more than 3 days per week. Eighty percent of women who responded to the on-board survey earn less than $35,000/year, and across all types of transportation spending, low-income women report spending more than higher-income women. The study also investigated how women felt about the safety, convenience and comfort, and reliability of their transit trips.

Next, Metro plans to develop and release a Gender Action Plan focusing on safety, fare policy, services provided by time of day, and station/stop and vehicle design. Until then, the “Understanding How Women Travel” study can be found here:

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