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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Gender Differences in Commuter Travel in Tucson: Implications for Travel Demand management Programs


This paper reports on part of a study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to evaluate whether individual transportation demand management (TDM) measures differentially affect salaried men and women in various household situations. Working women with children are the least able to make drastic changes in their daily activities but may be the most affected by employer sanctions and financial penalties. The study found that in Tucson, Arizona, women are (a) substantially more dependent on he private car driven alone than are comparable men, (b) far less likely to have switched to alternative modes, and (c) more likely to have chosen different alternative modes when they did switch. Moreover, there were differences between the sexes in travel time and distance to work, none of which could be explained by income or occupation. When workers were asked how effective various TDM strategies would be in increasing their use of alternative modes, women were more likely to see all potential strategies in a favorable light. Moreover, women were more responsive to strategies that addressed their domestic responsibilities (for example, their need to transport children or respond to family emergencies). Ultimately, while being more favorably disposed to TDM measures, women were less likely to give up driving alone because travel modes that are slower and less flexible than the private car may severely affect their working and family lives. These findings show the need to identify the equity consequences of specific TDM requirements, to target appropriate individual measures to working women, and to develop ways to offset the negative impacts on working mothers.

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