Gender equality in County Transportation Plans and potential conflicts with sustainable transportation : A case study from northern Sweden

University essay from Umeå universitet/Kulturgeografi

Abstract: That women and men have different travel patterns has been known for a long time, and previous research argues that gender inequality is the reason for the different travel patterns. Thus, integrating a gender equality perspective into transportation planning has been a relevant topic for quite some time. However, it has been proven to be easier said than done. Gender equality has not been given much attention within transportation planning and planners find it difficult to know how to implement a gender equality perspective. By studying two County Transportation Plans developed by regions in northern Sweden and interviewing infrastructural planners as well as gender equality experts, this thesis will investigate how gender equality is managed and integrated in transport planning on a regional level, and how it could be integrated. How gender equality relates to sustainable transportation on a regional level is another research question. The results show that the planners are aware of women’s and men’s different travel patterns, but they have experienced the difficulties of how gender equality can be integrated in the plans, and integration has previously been made with modesty. This is partly due to lack of competence among the planners and because it has not been prioritized. The result also indicates that gender equality can be beneficial for sustainable transportation, but some goal conflicts were found as well. A conclusion it that there seems to exist a paradox among the respondents where they are unsure of if the transportation should adjust to the current travel needs, or promote change. It is seemingly not either the lack of competence that is the reason gender equality has not been prioritized, but the fact that other areas, such as the need of functional connections due to long distances between places has been seen as more important. The competence and knowledge exists, but need to increase among the planners, and gender equality within transportation planning has to be given more attention on a national level and in the directives from the government. 

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