Mobility as a service still does not address women’s safety

UK roads are some of the main culprits of its greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2020, 92% of passenger-kilometres traveled in the UK was done by cars, vans and taxis. This means that getting around in a private vehicle has a disproportionately large negative impact on the environment.

And more, just 5.8% of vehicles on UK roads are ultra-low emission. Until Electric vehicles, while generating less pollution when driven, have a substantial environmental impact thanks to the materials used to create them. Getting rid of them also comes at an environmental cost. And in some areas, car ownership is on the rise – the county of Hertfordshire is expected to become home to 20.9% more private cars by 2031.

If sustainability and mobility are equally important concerns, how can we ensure that both are addressed? One solution is to encourage people to share transportation through a system known as “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS).

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MaaS is essentially a custom travel management platform that bundles available modes of transport in one area to create a unified journey for its users. For example, Finnish MaaS company Whim allows people to use shared cars, bicycles and public transport to create a journey that works for them.

In some cases this has been very successful in reducing the number of private cars on the road. In several cities in Finland, for example, MaaS has reduced private car use from 40% to 20%. However, there is something that has been overlooked by the transport designers (who at least in Europe, they are predominantly male): the fact that women’s transport needs are different from those of men.

MaaS and gender

Women, who generally across the world have less access to private cars, face more risks than men when commuting from one place to another. Across Europe, an average of 37% of women (compared to 72% of men) own a car, while 51% (81% of men) have a driving licence. However, despite this, women are still less likely than men to use MaaS. In EU countries including Norway, Finland, Germany and Denmark, it has been tested by 40% of women compared to 49% of men.

The reasons for these disparities are partly linked to gender roles. Women are more likely to main caretaker from their home, which means they have multiple errands to run, often requiring multiple trips within a shorter radius.

safety for women