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U of A study recommends changes to Canada's transit system to accommodate its most frequent users, women

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A University of Alberta-led transportation study is putting forward recommendations on how to make public transit more accessible for women.

The study also indicates that women are the most frequent riders of public transport in Canada.

A short-term investment into analyzing their ridership behaviour “will pay for itself in the long run,” researchers noted.

When looking at travel patterns on Canada’s largest transit systems, the study found that women were using public transit most often at off-peak times such as mid-afternoons, evenings and late at night, sometimes making multiple stops.

“Unfortunately, these travel behaviours are not well served by public transit in its current state,” Priyanka Babbar, a U of A graduate student who worked on the project, said.

The review looked at 18 public transit systems from Canada’s eight largest metropolitan areas. It found that while general themes emerged, no two transit systems were the same.

Moving forward, researchers have made some policy recommendations to help better accommodate transit’s most frequent users.

Recommendations include:

  • A more thorough investigation of women’s travel behaviours
  • Exploring novel avenues for gender-based data collection
  • Increasing the number of women employed in the transit sector

“With further research on how women travel, transit agencies will be well equipped to make informed policy decisions on how to best allocate service,” Babbar added.

“There’s definitely a short-term cost, but over time, if you give people high quality service, everyone benefits.”

To read the full study, click here.

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