Gender and Urban Mobility: Addressing Unequal Access to Urban Transportation for Women and Girls

Big Data for Gender Challenge Awards

On September 19, 2017, Data2X, an initiative of the UN Foundation that works with a variety of cross-sector partners to close gender data gaps, announced the winners of its Big Data for Gender Challenge Awards.

The GovLab and its partners from UNICEF, Universidad del Desarrollo, Telefónica R&D Center, ISI Foundation, and DigitalGlobe, were among the 10 projects selected for awards from a pool of over 125 proposals. Our project seeks to leverage multiple data sources to study gender and urban mobility in Chile.

Gender and Mobility in Santiago, Chile

Close to 90% of Chile’s population lives in urban areas, with 40% living in Santiago alone. Like many other South American cities, Santiago continues to expand, which puts pressure on vulnerable populations, who must travel greater distances to work, study and live. Although private car ownership is projected to grow in the coming years, women are more likely to be traveling on foot than men–40% of women travel by foot in Santiago, as opposed to 30% of men.

When traveling, women often take multi-purpose, multi-stop trips to do chores, work and attend school. The needs of women and girls are not typically taken into account when authorities make plans for transportation developments. Difficulties in public transportation use can lead to a fear of personal safety in public spaces, especially when 85% of women reported that they were harassed on the street in Chile between 2014 and 2015.

Providing Increased Insight Through Data Collaboration

Over the course of a year-long study, The GovLab and its project partners will establish a data collaborative, or a new type of public/private partnerships that brings together data and expertise across sectors and geographies to create public value, to investigate answers to the following questions:

  • Does gender play a role in the way people move around the megacity of Santiago, Chile?
  • To what extent is tehre mobility inequality by gender, and what can be done to incorporate and include gender considerations in transportation planning?
  • Can the analytic model used to study gender and mobility in Chile be used in other places and contexts?

Through its newly formed Data Collaborative on Gender and Urban Mobility, The GovLab and its partners will to seek to decode the intersection of urban mobility and gender, combining a wide range of datasets, including call detail records and high-resolution satellite data.

For more information about the Big Data for Gender Challenge Awards, and to see the nine other winning proposals, click here.



To learn more about The GovLab, visit