Urban mass transit systems should benefit men and women equally, but men and women often have different needs, priorities, and vulnerabilities. For example, women are more likely than men to make multiple stops, to be carrying packages or child-related items, and to be accompanied by children. More than men, they value flexibility over speed, affordable fares, comfort, good lighting, and safety. Systems must take those differences into account if they are to be as useful, accessible, and safe for women as they are for men. International organizations have begun to promote the systematic integration of gender considerations into infrastructure projects, including mass transit projects, as part of the implementation of gender-equity policies. There is growing recognition that such a focus not only has direct social and economic benefits for women and their families, but can also produce increased returns on infrastructure investment by, for example, increasing the number of service users. Many such initiatives have been connected with efforts to prevent gender-based violence, with solutions such as train cars reserved for women and the deployment of police in transit systems. In some cases, policies designed to accommodate persons with physical impairments have also benefited women who are pregnant or accompanied by children.
The guide summarized here provides tools to help project teams working on mobility-optimizing urban transport systems (UTS) as they identify opportunities to improve gender equality and women’s empowerment and take steps to prevent exclusion from such systems based on gender. Relying on international best practices, the guide offers recommendations for the incorporation of such opportunities and measures into IDB-financed operations and presents questions and indicators for IDB project teams and member country counterparts to consider when designing and implementing projects.
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