Using data to make public transport fairer to women

Picture of woman seeing a train pass at high speed at a station.

There was an interesting and hard-hitting article posted on the online news broadcaster Wired recently titled ‘Making Public Transit Fairer to Women Demands Way More Data’.

As a company that deals with Data Analytics for public transport on a daily basis, we absolutely agree with this statement! The public transport industry is way behind sectors like the private taxi service in terms of needing a digital revolution and data is the place to start.

The 4 main factors in making public transport more desirable are:

  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Usability

All of these factors require data on the vehicle, employee and customer base in order to persuade the public to use the alternative modes of transport on offer other than private transportation. This data then needs to be managed in order to become useful to transport companies so that they can make the changes that will bring more prosperity for everyone.

The article reiterates the problems of limited data analysis, saying: “it’s hard to know how different tactics address different problems because few governments and transit agencies take gender into account when collecting ridership data. (Same goes for categories like income and ethnicity.)”.

The result of this negligence from governments and transit agencies alike is that measures are not in place to deal with problems and therefore it shuns potential users to look to other forms of transportation.

A 2018 study of New Yorkers found women were harassed on the subway far more frequently than men were, and as a result, paid more money to avoid transit in favour of taxis and ride-hail.

With congestion and pollution becoming one of the most important topics on our planet today, it is in every national government’s best interests to make public transport as desirable as possible.

Likewise, for transport companies, it is equally in their interests to play a role in making the right changes to make their business more attractive otherwise people will continue to seek other options.

In both of these circumstances, the ability to collect the correct data is available on all forms of transport however it is not being utilised in a way that highlights the problems for all demographics of customers especially women. As a result, usership of public transport is continuing to decline.

At uTrack, we are changing the way companies are using their data so that they can improve their services for the better and we hope to work alongside many other clients to improve their services so that public transport caters to 100% of the public and not just an unrepresentative small demographic.


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