This course will identify, synthesize, and evaluate the most recent published literature, research studies, and policy analyses of the travel patterns of women in industrial countries from their first steps as young children to their last steps as aging seniors.We know that parents treat female children differently than they treat comparable male children; they refuse to let little girls travel independently, discourage them from walking and cycling entirely or without adult supervision, and train them to be more fearful of their outdoor environments. Women at every life cycle have different travel patterns than comparable men in response to continued societal norms about their appropriate travel behavior, differential household and domestic responsibilities, lower access to better travel modes, and the significant safety and security risks they face in all modes of travel. All women with licenses are substantially less likely to be driving the car in which they are riding than comparable men, reducing their driving experience as they age.
All women, but particularly older women, are more likely to be killed or seriously injured than men in auto and pedestrian crashes of comparable severity. Older women are more likely to give up driving than comparable men even when there is no objective reason to do so and in spite of being safer drivers, on average, than comparable male drivers.
Superimposed on all these patterns are profound and persistent differences in the financial and other resources available to women and men—women make substantially less money than men at most stages in their lives, are more likely to have low incomes, be single parents, be renters as opposed to owning their homes, live alone as they age, and not have any retirement income other than social security/government subsidies.
The course will focus both on identifying comparative patterns of travel over the life course, as well as addressing the causes, and where possible, the solutions to unfair disparities between women and men’s travel patterns, needs, and preferences.