Thursday, November 17, 2016

Exploring gendered cycling behaviors in London

Beecham, R., &; Wood, J. (2014). Exploring gendered cycling behaviours within a large-scale behavioural data-set. Transportation Planning and Technology, 37(1), 83-97.

Analysing over 10 million journeys made by members of London's Cycle Hire Scheme, we find that female customers' usage characteristics are demonstrably different from those of male customers. Usage at weekends and within London's parks characterises women's journeys, whereas for men, a commuting function is more clearly identified. Some of these variations are explained by geo-demographic differences and by an atypical period of usage during the first three months after the scheme's launch. Controlling for each of these variables brings some convergence between men and women. However, many differences are preserved. Studying the spatio-temporal context under which journeys are made, we find that women's journeys are highly spatially structured. Even when making utilitarian cycle trips, routes that involve large, multi-lane roads are comparatively rare, and instead female cyclists preferentially select areas of the city associated with slower traffic streets and with cycle routes slightly offset from major roads.

credit: Beecham & Wood (2014)

ps. Interesting paper. I'm not sure what exactly the authors mean by "utilitarian cycle trips", though. I would like to see a more in depth discussion on the root causes of travel behavior differences by gender. It's a great work, though and the authors have a another paper where they focus on the methodology they've used.