We often hear about the benefits that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods #lowtrafficislington (aka People Friendly Streets) bring, such as cleaner air, safer roads, quieter greener neighbourhoods and happier more active children and adults, but less often how car-dominated streets discriminate specifically against women. Men have wider access to private cars than women, and so policies favouring driving predominantly favour men, while harms from car use affect women, especially low-paid women, disproportionately.
Women lead the way in active travel, with 54% of walking trips in London undertaken by women for example. Yet women are less likely than men to cycle in London and we know this is due to a perception of danger, with 3 in 4 people saying that a lack of safe cycle lanes prevents them from cycling.
We know that women have unequal access to cars and that public transport does not serve the kinds of journeys that women more often make such as pre-work school runs and shopping expeditions. We also know that cycling can help by opening up many longer journeys that are impractical to walk and also allow for the transport of children and goods.
Addressing this discrimination means: Safe healthy streets for walking, comprehensive public transport, and safe routes for cycling.
Published in Islington Tribune on 18 March.