Malmö commits to making public transports more equal
A study on women and men’s travel habits conducted by the City of Malmö revealed that men’s way of travelling generated large economic and environmental loss. The City concluded that large social benefits could be made if the municipality succeeded in changing the travelling behaviour especially of men.
Before initiating the work of two new tram lines, the project ”Future Public transport in Malmö” used the travel surveys to calculate the costs and benefits from different perspectives: growth, environment, integration and equality.
The survey allowed the municipality to find out what the consequences of the new tram lines would be for women and men, girls and boys. The results showed that women’s and men’s travelling behaviour is especially interesting in an environmental perspective since women, to a much greater extent than men, choose sustainable alternatives. Men on the other hand, use cars far more than women (men take the car 48 per cent of their trips compared to 34 per cent for women).
The City of Malmö aims to invest and develop public transport so that it becomes more accessible, secure and comfortable for everyone to encourage citizens to use public transport to a greater extent. They concluded that there could be large social, economic and environmental gains if the municipality succeeded encouraging men to start travelling more like women.
The municipality also studied women and men’s influence on decision and implementation of planning of public transport. The results showed that women did not participate in consultation to the same extent as men. Moreover, when women participate, they did not speak as much as men. In order to ensure that the voices and opinions of all citizens are taken into consideration, the municipality has made large efforts to look into how they can increase women’s, young people and immigrants participation. For example, a special invitation has been sent out to young people; and researchers have been involved in the work to document the staff team’s approach to citizens during the consultation hearings.
The results from these studies showed that it works well to bring a civil dialogue in large groups. However, many people feel uncomfortable talking in large groups. To solve this problem, the City has been working on finding new approaches, for example instead of saying ”Welcome to the town hall to talk about trams.”, the City proposed to ask ”How would you like us to plan the public transport system to make it work better for you?”. It is a matter of shifting the focus from technology to people’s everyday experiences and also adjusts the channels to reach people where they are, for example online.