एक नया तरीका: मेट्रो और मुंबई

मुंबई का बुनियादी ढांचा बदल रहा है । शहर में फील्डवर्क करते हुए, कार्ल एडलर ने देखा कि भारत की वित्तीय राजधानी में नए परिवहन मोड महानगर को कैसे नया रूप देंगें ।

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मैं उठता हूँ , तैयार होता हूँ , बाहर जाता हूँ  और चर्चगेट तक लगभग एक किलोमीटर चलकर आता हूँ । मैं जांघ-ऊंचाई वाले बोल्डर और बाड़ की लंबाई के बीच से गुज़रता हूँ, जो फुटपाथ को संकुचित करते हैं । कोई इष्टतम ऊंचाई नहीं है जिस पर मेरी निगाहों को इस तरह  टिका सकूँ कि बाधाओं से बच जाऊं ; यहाँ हर जगह आश्चर्य है, और पूरे दृश्य पर पूरा ध्यान देने की आवश्यकता है। अंत में, मैं चर्चगेट पहुँचता हूँ। मैंने यहाँ और बांद्रा के बीच के लिए एक मासिक पास खरीदा है, इसलिए मुझे टिकट खिड़की के  बाहर कतार में इंतजार नहीं करना पड़ेगा। मुझे अगले तीन सप्ताह तक ऐसा नहीं करना पड़ेगा। मैं लंबे सफेद गलियारे के अंत में मेटल डिटेक्टर से गुज़रता हूँ   और बर्थ में आराम से बैठी चौड़ी बैंगनी ट्रेनों को देखता हूँ ।

प्रत्येक ट्रेन बड़े हरे रंग की संख्याओं और अक्षरों के साथ एक डिस्प्ले के नीचे खड़ी हुई हैं जो इंगित करती है कि ट्रेन कब जा रही है, कहाँ रुकेगी और कहाँ ख़तम  होगी। यह कोड सरल है, लेकिन उन सभी महीनों में इसे क्रैक करने से मुझे ऐसा लगा कि अब मैं मुंबई से हूँ । अब मुझे इसके बारे में सोचने की भी जरूरत नहीं है। मैं उस संकेत के नीचे ट्रेन तक जाता हूं जो मुझे बताता है कि यह एक्सप्रेस नहीं चलती है, कि यह अंधेरी जाती है, और यह दूसरों की तुलना में जल्दी जा रही है। मैं गाड़ी में प्रवेश करता हूं और ओवरहेड पंखे को चालू करने के लिए अपनी सीट के पास एक स्विच फ्लिप करता हूँ । तीस सेकंड के भीतर, हम प्रस्थान करते हैं। दरवाजे बंद नहीं होते हैं, लेकिन यह सामान्य है। माहिम जंक्शन के लिए मेरे पच्चीस मिनट या उससे अधिक की यात्रा में, मेरी कार में भीड़ बढ़ जाती है और लोग उन खुले दरवाजों के पास खड़े हो जाते हैं, और उस \ पट्टी को पकड़ते हैं जो समर्थन के लिए प्रवेश द्वार को द्विभाजित करती है। प्रत्येक स्टेशन पर, सवारी वाहन के रुकने से पहले प्लेटफॉर्म पर कूद जाते हैं, ट्रेन के साथ कुछ मीटर जॉगिंग करते हैं और फिर धीमी गति से चलते हैं। हम माहिम जंक्शन पहुँचते हैं; मैं गाड़ी से बाहर निकलता हूँ और ट्रेन को उत्तर की ओर धुंध में खोते हुए देखता हूं।

मैंने इस यात्रा के बाद लगभग आधा साल, सोमवार से शुक्रवार तक, घनी उष्णकटिबंधीय गर्मी में बिताया। एक शौकिया परिवहन उत्साही और नवोदित विद्वान होते हुए, महानगर की सभी चीज़ों से ज़्यादा, मुंबई की लोकल ट्रेनों ने मुझे आकर्षित किया । इस प्रणाली ने डेढ़ सदी से अधिक समय तक शहर की संचार प्रणाली के रूप में कार्य किया है। सब्सिडाइज्ड किराए से सभी सामाजिक-आर्थिक पृष्ठभूमि के मुंबईवासियों को लोकल ट्रैन इस्तेमाल करने का मौका मिलता है । इसकी विशिष्टताएं पौराणिक हैं।। अनगिनत बॉलीवुड फिल्मों में भीड़-भाड़ वाली लोकल ट्रेनों में लटके लोगों के क्लिप होते हैं। पात्र अक्सर वाहनों के अचूक पिंजरे जैसे  हिस्सों में मिलते हैं। मुंबई की लोकल ट्रैन गेटवे ऑफ इंडिया, ताज महल पैलेस होटल और मरीन ड्राइव की आर्ट डेको वाली इमारतें के सामान शहर का प्रतीक हैं । हालांकि, यह खामियों के बिना नहीं है।

मुंबई की लोकल ट्रेनों का सुरक्षा रिकॉर्ड बेहद खराब है। भारत की सरकारी रेलवे पुलिस के मुताबिक 2019 में नेटवर्क के अंदर 2691 लोगों की मृत्यु  हुई थी। इसके अलावा 3194 लोग घायल हुए थे। यह संख्या अन्य शहरों में अकल्पनीय होगी। चलती गाड़ियों से गिरना और  प्लेटफार्मों के बीच से पार करने वाले लोग इन मृत्युओं के मुख्य कारण हैं। स्टेशनों पर जाते समय चलती वाहनों से कूदने से भी लोग घायल हो जाते हैं। भीड़भाड़ ने घंटों की यात्रा को यात्रियों के लिए दुःस्वप्न बना दिया है। गाड़ियों को दो वर्गों में बांटा गया है। प्रथम और द्वितीय श्रेणी में बहुत अधिक अंतर नहीं हैं, लेकिन प्रथम श्रेणी के टिकट की कीमत द्वितीय श्रेणी के किराए से लगभग दस गुना अधिक हैं, जिससे ऐसी स्थिति उत्पन्न होती है जहाँ द्वितीय श्रेणी में अत्यधिक भीड़ होती है और पहले में बहुत अधिक जगह होती है। सिस्टम की सभी विलक्षण और आदर्श धारणाएं खुली ट्रेन के दरवाजे से बाहर निकलती हैं, और यह अहसास होता है कि इस प्रणाली को किसी प्रकार के अपग्रेड सेट की आवश्यकता है।  स्थानीय ट्रेन प्रणाली में एक सीमित सेवा क्षेत्र है। मुंबई में रहने वाली एक युवा पेशेवर, श्रुतिका मणिवन्नन, लोकल ट्रेनों से यात्रा करती हैं, लेकिन सिस्टम की अपेक्षाकृत खराब कनेक्टिविटी पर प्रकाश डाला,”लोकल ट्रेन बड़ी दूरी के लिए सुविधाजनक है क्योंकि यह मुझे यात्रा के समय की बचत करती है, लेकिन मैं इसे छोटी दूरियों के लिए टालती हूँ क्योंकि स्टेशन तक पहुंचने में कुछ समय लगता है”।

इस दबाव को कम करने के लिए, मुंबई ने एक नई मेट्रो प्रणाली बनाने के लिए एक महत्वाकांक्षी परियोजना शुरू की है। यह परियोजना कई मुंबईवासियों के अपने शहर से गुजरने के तरीके को पूरी तरह से बदल देगी। यह लोकल ट्रेनों के लिए एक सुरक्षित, अधिक आरामदायक विकल्प का वादा करती है। नए नेटवर्क में अंततः दस लाइनें शामिल होंगी और दोनों का उद्देश्य उन क्षेत्रों की सेवा करना है जहां वर्तमान में स्थानीय ट्रेन की पहुंच नहीं है या फिर लोकल ट्रैन के अलावा एक और विकल्प प्रदान करती हैं । मुंबई मेट्रोपॉलिटन रीजन डेवलपमेंट अथॉरिटी (एम. एम. आर. डी. ए.) के अनुसार, पूरा सिस्टम लगभग 190 किलोमीटर तक फैला होगा।  व्यापक शहरी रेलवे नेटवर्क हासिल करके, मुंबई सडकों पर निजी वाहनों की संख्या में कमी देखने की उम्मीद भी रखता है। अभी तक, केवल एक परिचालन लाइन, लाइन वन है। लाइन वन एक पूर्व-पश्चिम गैलरी में चलती है जिसमें पहले रेलवे कनेक्शन नहीं था और तीन लोकल ट्रेन लाइनों में से दो के बीच महत्वपूर्ण स्थानांतरण स्टेशन प्रदान करती है। इसका निर्माण पब्लिक प्राइवेट पार्टनरशिप के माध्यम से किया गया था, जिसमें रिलायंस एनर्जी लिमिटेड की 69% हिस्सेदारी थी। इस परियोजना की लागत लगभग 43०० करोड़ रुपये थी और सेवा 2014 में शुरू हुई थी। लाइन वन लेकर अन्य लाइनों पर सवार के अनुभव की जानकारी मिलती है।

मैंने पहली बार 2018 की शरद ऋतु में एक जॉब साइट पर पहुंचने के लिए लाइन वन की सवारी की। एक सहकर्मी और मैं उमस भरी दोपहर में हमारे धारावी कोलीवाड़ा के कार्यालय से सायन स्टेशन तक गए । भीड़-भाड़ का समय अभी शुरू ही हुआ था, और हम मध्य रेलवे की वाहन  में सवार हो गए, जैसे ही वह प्लेटफार्म पर पहुंची । हम पूरी यात्रा के लिए दरवाजों के पास रहे- वाहन  में आगे जाने का मतलब यात्रियों की लगातार बढ़ती भीड़ के पीछे फंसना हो सकता है। हमने ट्रेन को लाइन वन के पूर्वी टर्मिनस घाटकोपर पर छोड़ा और मेट्रो के लिए संकेतों का पालन किया। आखिरकार, हम उज्ज्वल और शानदार मेट्रो स्टेशन पर पहुँचे। हम टिकट खिड़की तक गए, वहां इलेक्ट्रॉनिक टोकन खरीदे और उन्हें टर्नस्टाइल पर चिप रीडर के सामने लगाया । गेट खुल गए और हमने प्लेटफार्म तक एस्क्लेटर ले लिया । हमारे सिर के ऊपर लगे एलसीडी पैनल ने हमें बताया कि अगली ट्रेन सिर्फ दो मिनट में रवाना होगी। जल्द ही, हम वातानुकूलित ट्रेन में चढ़कर बैठ गए। हमने मेट्रो से बाहर शहर को अपने नीचे से गुज़रता देखा और दस मिनट के भीतर, अपने गंतव्य पर पहुंच गए।

बाद में कई बार मैंने लाइन वन की सवारी की, सभी एक साथ मिश्रित होते हैं- लाइन का उपयोग करना सुखद और सीधा है। इस नई प्रणाली में लोकल ट्रेनों की विशेषताओं का अभाव है और यह कभी भी शहरी पहचान का केंद्रबिंदु नहीं हो सकता है, जो लोकल ट्रेनें कई मुंबईवासियों के लिए हैं। लेकिन, यह निस्संदेह नेटवर्क पर जगह खाली कर देगा और ड्राइवरों को निजी वाहनों के साथ आने-जाने का एक व्यवहार्य विकल्प दे सकता है। सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है कि मेट्रो की बढ़ी हुई सुरक्षा अधिक मुंबईवासियों को कम से कम डर के साथ जीने की अनुमति देगी।


कार्ल एडलर साइंस पो पेरिस में मास्टर के छात्र हैं और इंटरनेशनल ट्रांसपोर्ट फोरम में इंटर्नशिप कर रहे हैं।


2022 के अंत तक मुंबई की मेट्रो की कई अतिरिक्त लाइनों के चालू होने की उम्मीद है।

इंटरनेशनल ट्रांसपोर्ट फोरम दो परियोजनाओं पर भारत में परिवहन को डीकार्बोनाइजिंग पर काम करता है:

डार्बोनिसिंग ट्रांसपोर्ट इन इमर्जिंग इकनोमीस (डीटीईई) – भारत परियोजना का उद्देश्य भारत सरकार और अन्य हितधारकों को परिवहन उपायों की पहचान करने और परिवहन सीओ 2 उत्सर्जन को कम करने और अपने जलवायु लक्ष्यों और एनडीसी को पूरा करने के लिए मार्ग स्थापित करने में मदद करता है । और अधिक जानें

एशिया के लिए एनडीसी ट्रांसपोर्ट इनिशिएटिव (एनडीसी-टीआईए) का उद्देश्य विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के मंत्रालयों, नागरिक समाज और निजी क्षेत्र के बीच समन्वयित परिवहन के लिए प्रभावी नीतियों की एक सुसंगत रणनीति को बढ़ावा देना है। और अधिक जानें

A New Mode: The Metro and Mumbai

Mumbai is in the midst of an infrastructure makeover. Drawing on his fieldwork in the city, Carl Adler looks at how new transport modes in India’s financial capital will reshape the metropolis.

हिंदी संस्करण पर जाएं

Hanging out: Mumbai Suburban Railway moves over 7 million commuters daily

I wake up, get ready, go outside and walk the kilometre or so to Churchgate. I weave between thigh-height bollards and lengths of fence that constrict the footpath and occasional gaps in pavement. There is no optimal height at which to fix my gaze to avoid impediments to movement; there are surprises everywhere here, and the entire scene requires full attention. Eventually, I reach Churchgate. I bought a monthly pass for between here and Bandra, so I do not have to wait in the queue snaking out from the ticket window. I will not have to do so for another three weeks. I walk through the metal detector at the end of the long white corridor and look out at the wide purple trains sitting snugly in their berths.

Each train rests under a display with big green numbers and letters that indicate when a train is leaving, where it will stop and where it will end up. This code is simple, but cracking it all those months ago made me feel a little bit more like I belonged here. Now I don’t even need to think about it. I walk to the train under the sign that tells me it does not run express, that it goes to Andheri, and that it is leaving sooner than the others. I enter the carriage and flip a switch near my seat to turn on the overhead fan. Within thirty seconds, we depart. The doors do not close, but this is normal. Over my twenty-five-minute-or-so commute to Mahim Junction, the crowd in my car swells and people stand beside those open doors, gripping the texturised vertical metal bar which bisects the entrance for support. At each station, riders jump onto the platform before the vehicle stops, jogging alongside the train for a few metres and slowing to a walk. We reach Mahim Junction; I exit the carriage and watch the train pull north into the haze.

I spent nearly half a year following this commute, Monday through Friday, in the thick tropical heat. As an amateur transport enthusiast and budding scholar, Mumbai’s local trains stole my attention more than anything else in the metropolis. The system has served as the city’s circulatory system for over a century and a half. Subsidised fares allow access to Mumbaikers from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Its idiosyncrasies are the stuff of legend. Countless Bollywood films feature clips of people hanging out of crowded local trains. Characters often meet in the unmistakable cage-like interiors of cars. Mumbai’s local train system is as emblematic of the city as the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Art Deco facades along Marine Drive. It is, however, not without its flaws. 

2.64 billion Mumbai Suburban Railway’s annual riders arguably rate service as the worst anywhere in the world

Mumbai’s local trains have an abysmal safety record. According to India’s Government Railway Police, 2,691 people died within the network in 2019. In addition, 3,194 people were injured. These numbers would be unthinkable in other cities. Falls from moving carriages and people crossing between platforms at rail level are the main causes of these fatalities. People also sustain injuries from jumping from moving cars as they pull into stations. Crowdedness makes rush hour travel a nightmare for commuters. Carriages are broken down into two classes. First and second class do not have many material differences, but first-class ticket prices are around ten times as high as second-class fares, leading to situations where there is intense congestion in second class and a great deal of space in first. All romantic and idealised notions of the system fly out the open train doors on crushing weekday mornings, and the realisation that this system needs some sort of an upgrade sets in. Finally, the local train system has a limited service area. Shrutika Manivannan, a young professional based in Mumbai, commutes with local trains but highlighted the system’s relatively poor connectivity. “[The local train is] convenient for large distances because it saves me on commute time, but I avoid it for shorter ones considering reaching the station itself takes some time”.

“I want my travel to be super cool and modern,” say Mumbaikers on the move

To ease some of this pressure, Mumbai has embarked on an ambitious project to build a new metro system. This project will completely change the way many Mumbaikers move through their city. It promises a safer, more comfortable alternative to local trains. The new network will eventually include ten lines and aims both to serve areas that do not currently have local train access and provide an alternative to some local train routes. According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the completed system will stretch over nearly 190 km. By having a more comprehensive urban railway network, Mumbai also hopes to see a reduction in the number of private vehicles on the road. As of now, there is only one operational line, Line One. Line One serves an east-west corridor that did not previously have a railway connection and provides important transfer points between two of the three local train lines. It was constructed through a Public-Private Partnership, with Reliance Energy Limited holding a 69% stake. The project cost about INR 43 billion, and service began in 2014. Riding Line One gives insight into what rider experiences on other lines will be like.

I first rode Line One in the autumn of 2018 in order to reach a job site. A colleague and I walked through the humid afternoon from our office in Dharavi Koliwada to Sion station. Rush hour had just begun, and we crammed into the Central Railways car when it pulled up to the platform. We stayed near the doors for the whole trip- going further into the car could have meant getting stuck behind the ever-swelling mass of commuters. We left the train at Ghatkopar, Line One’s eastern terminus, and followed the signs for the metro. Eventually, we reached the bright and polished metro station. We walked to the ticket window, bought our electronic tokens and waved them in front of the chip reader on the turnstiles. The gates opened and we took the escalator up to the platform. The LCD panels above our heads told us the next train would depart in just two minutes. Soon, we stepped onto the air-conditioned train and sat down. We watched the city roll underneath us and, within ten minutes, had reached our destination.

Turning point: The Mumbai Metro in action

The many subsequent times I have ridden Line One all blend together- using the line is pleasant and straightforward. This new system lacks the local trains’ quirks and it may never be the centrepiece of urban identity that local trains are for many Mumbaikers. But, it will undoubtedly free up space on the network and it may give drivers a viable alternative to commuting with private vehicles. Most importantly, the metro’s enhanced safety will allow more Mumbaikers to live with at least a little less fear.


Carl Adler is a Master student at Sciences Po Paris and is working on an internship at the International Transport Forum.


Several additional lines of Mumbai’s metro are expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

The International Transport Forum works on decarbonising transport in India over two projects:

The Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) – India project aims to help India’s government and other stakeholders to identify transport measures and establish pathways to reduce transport CO2 emissions and meet their climate goals and NDCs. Learn more

The NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA) aims at promoting a coherent strategy of effective policies for decarbonising transport that are co-ordinated among various sector ministries, civil society and the private sector. Learn more

Sleepless at the Wheel

Few things are as healthy as a good dose of sleep – except when we’re driving. Then, nodding off becomes a lethal danger, and instantaneously. Emma Latham Jones sat down with road safety expert Veronique Feypell on World Sleep Day 2020 to talk about driver fatigue and why it is underestimated.

ELJ: What exactly is “driver fatigue”?

VF: There are two main types of fatigue from a road safety perspective. For one thing, it is the result of a lack of sleep. Simply put, drivers who are tired because they either haven’t slept enough or haven’t slept well are at risk of fatigue. The second type of fatigue is as a direct result of the task of driving. Perhaps the driver has been driving too long without taking a break. Perhaps they have had a long work day and is already tired when getting in the car. For truck drivers, this second type of fatigue could result from the waiting time during the loading and unloading. These two kinds of fatigue have different causes, but both have same negative effect on the ability to drive a car safely.

ELJ: How does that negative effect manifest itself?

In a number of ways. Loss of vigilance is one. Drivers suffering from fatigue may misperceive the road environment. They may not notice important road signs and warnings; or they may not register the complexity of a traffic situation at an intersection. Fatigue makes it more likely that the driver will overlook other road users, as it negatively affects vision. Tired drivers are much less likely to spot a cyclist in their peripheral vision, or a pedestrian coming out into the road. And since fatigue also reduces reaction time, the result can be fatal. In the extreme case, drivers may feel asleep and completely lose the control of their vehicles.

ELJ: Who is most likely to get drowsy when driving and should take particular care?

One might think that older drivers are particularly susceptible to concentration loss. But in fact young drivers are also very much at risk from fatigue. They have less experience on the road, so even slight fatigue may affect their driving performance. Certain medications can contribute to drowsiness. Also, those driving long distances on motorways are more at risk to fall asleep at the wheel. Fatigue is a main source of fatal crashes on motorways. Driving there can be pretty monotonous, which contributes to the fatigue.

ELJ: How big of a problem is driver fatigue? What do the statistics tell us?

VF: We don’t have a lot of statistics, unfortunately, and the ones we have are not very accurate. If one follows the police statistics, one or two percent of fatal crashes are due to fatigue. But a crash usually involves multiple factors, so the link to fatigue is often not obvious. It’s very difficult for the police officer at the scene to pick up all of this. Hence there is probably significant under-reporting. In-depth investigations put the share of crashes in which fatigue played a role at up to 10 percent.

ELJ: Are there attempts to measure how many drivers experience drowsiness, without there necessarily being a crash?

Some such studies exist, but far too few because it’s not easy. You can measure seat belt use by simply about counting who wears them and who doesn’t. But you can’t sit on the roadside and reliably count who is falling asleep at the wheel. Most studies rely on drivers to report their experience. In the United States, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of adult drivers had experienced fatigue while driving at least once per year. But there have also been some studies with monitoring equipment in cars to evaluate drowsiness. They use cameras that detect how often the driver blinks and also register other movements that are indications of fatigue.

ELJ: Couldn’t such technology also be used to warn drivers when they’re about to fall asleep?

VF: Absolutely, that is something researchers and the car industry are working on. It won’t be very long until new cars will be equipped with sensors that can detect drowsy drivers and then triggers a loud “wake up” message. This sort of driving assistance system might play an important role in enhancing road safety. But then there are also very effective low-tech means. On motorways, rumble strips are very good at waking up drowsy drivers when they drift off their lane.

ELJ: What should drivers do who don’t have hi-tech helpers?

VF: Nobody should take the risk of relying on sensors to keep them awake. Stop for a break when you notice you are getting tired. It’s okay to take a 15-minute nap in your car at a petrol station or on a parking area on the roadside. Many countries recommend a break from driving is recommended every two hours. Freight managers also should be encouraged to provide proper information about the risk of fatigue and how to prevent it to their drivers. And freight companies must of course respect legislation on driving time. A cup of strong coffee make help for a short time, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will get you home safely if you have a long drive– it won’t. What you need is enough sleep.

ELJ: Thank you so much for your time on World Sleep Day, Veronique.

Veronique Feypell manages the road safety work of the International Transport Forum. She is currently working on, among other things, on the creation of regional road observatories for Africa and the Asia-Pacific. These will help countries in those regions to collect better crash data and use them to inform more effective road safety measures.

Emma Latham Jones is a Young Associate at the International Transport Forum.

Road safety will also be on the agenda at the International Transport Forum’s 2020 Summit on “Transport Innovation for Sustainable Mobility”, inter alia in a session on Road Safety and Security in The Age of New Mobility.

“Gender is One of the Most Robust Determinants of Transport Choice”

What has gender got to do with transport? A lot, but few people know it. That needs to change, was the message from a consultation on gender and transport organised by the ITF with 34 transport stakeholders.

Mary Crass at ITF Summit 2019

Mary Crass, the ITF’s Head of Institutional Relations and Summit sat down with Emma Latham Jones to discuss female representation in the transport industry, women’s personal safety and how gender influences travel behaviour.

ELJ: Is it still necessary to focus on women in transport in 2020?

MC: Without a doubt! Women represent the largest share of public transport users around the world. In France, for instance, two-thirds of passengers on public transport networks are women. A study that we’ve recently done here at the ITF reveals that gender is often a more robust determinant of modal choice than age or income. So it’s really significant, especially since transport services and policies are still not gender neutral.

ELJ: If gender is so important to journey decisions, why is it so often overlooked?

MC: Data collection and analysis very often do not include gender to reflect differences in travel behavior. This means that transport policy is potentially not accounting for 50% of travelers’ needs. It’s a huge missed opportunity for transport authorities, planners and operators to ignore the specific trip patterns and access needs of women— a market that represents over half of public transport clients. Clearly, gender needs to be better taken into transport policy consideration.

ELJ: Are travel policies not gender neutral because women are not well represented in the transport sector?

MC: I think this certainly plays a part. The transport labour force remains heavily male-dominated. Only 22% of transport employees in the European Union are female. In the Asia-Pacific region, women are typically found in fewer than 20% of transport jobs. There are relatively few women working as operators, drivers, engineers, and similar positions. A survey of ITF member countries also found that only 13 out of 60 member countries currently have female transport ministers. As a result, women’s voices in decision-making are under-represented across all levels, which leads to a lack of incentive for transport services to respond to the particular needs of women as users. It also contributes to the fact that gender considerations are largely ignored in transport data collection and analysis, and therefore in policy decisions. We need to change this to ensure that the voice of women is heard in public transport decisions.

ELJ: Does this mean female representation in the transport industry is a priority of the ITF?

MC: Absolutely – the lTF is working alongside its members and stakeholder organisations to better understand the questions related to gender in transport, both on a travel-behaviour level and in terms of representation in the sector. Our consultation on women in transport just now in January brought together 34 stakeholders to explore these questions. We hold this consultation annually, and our understanding of the importance of a gender-diverse transport sector is advancing year to year. We greatly appreciate the insights of our partners and we feed the findings to our summit in Leipzig in May. There we’ll examine how innovation in the sector is impacting women, in terms of their travel and mobility choices.

ELJ: How else does the ITF support women in transport?

MC: We’re looking at gender in transport within the context of inclusive transport and we examine the question from three different angles: travel behavior, safety and security, and representation in the sector. We look at how the gender balance in the industry can be more effectively pursued by understanding the distinctions between how men and women navigate the transport system as users – and how they evolve as workers and professionals serving transport operations and activities.

ELJ: I am a young woman, and sometimes on public transport I find myself concerned about my personal safety. How do issues like these influence women’s decisions and their lives more broadly?

MC: Women are more likely than men to be dependent on public transport. Yet they face personal security challenges that hinder and often deter them from using transit systems. As a result, women’s access to jobs, services and amenities is severely compromised. A Reuters survey of 16 major cities worldwide found that women in Latin American cities faced the highest rates of harassment, with about 60% of women reporting physical harassment on public transit systems. Even under conditions where infrastructure is considered to be safe, women’s perception of that security can influence their willingness to use collective means of transport. Simple, low-hanging fruit can go a long way to improve perceptions of security – including better lighting, clear signage and presence of security personnel. Our work has shown that if women do not feel safe and secure using transport, they will switch to taxis or private vehicles faster than men. So ignoring gender impacts of transport infrastructure and operations is a disservice to the sustainability agenda as well.

ELJ: February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. How can we increase the number of women in transport related science, technology and engineering roles?

MC: If we look at this question from the perspective of education and training, then I’d say employment in the transport sector needs to have greater visibility in higher education. Too often, opportunities in the transport sector for women are not properly understood.

ELJ: What about the more practical aspect of being a woman in a male-dominated sector?

MC: For operational jobs in the sector – driving vehicles for instance – the conditions of employment need to ensure that the needs of both genders are met. Too often required clothing, equipment and even facilities are not appropriate for women in the sector. This can be rectified by ensuring that upstream purchasing and planning of the worker environment take into consideration the presence of women in these jobs.

Thank you so much for your time, Mary.

Mary Crass is Head of Institutional Relations and Summit for the International Transport Forum. She is responsible for the ITF’s relations with member countries, international organisations and associations, and the Annual Summit of the International Transport Forum. The next Summit will be held from 27-29 May 2020 on the topic of “Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development” in Leipzig, Germany.