Impact of gender on the adoption of sustainable transportation modes - The case of cycling in Helsinki analysed under the dimension of integrated cycling policy

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Sustainable Urban Mobility Transitions
Degree programme
Master’s programme in Urban Mobility
Cycling is a sustainable transportation mode that has the potential to be easily accessible to a wide population group. However, studies have shown that socio-economic characteristics can pose a barrier to the adoption of cycling, as it is often planned for a narrowly defined population group. One of these socio-economic characteristics is gender and it was observed that while women cycle less in many countries, in high-cycling countries like the Netherlands the percentage of female cyclist is even higher compared to men. It is therefore to be defined what the hinderances are for women to cycle and how the local definition of gender plays a role. The framework for the analysis is the seven domains of integrated cycling policy. Each of these domains is analysed in the literature review for different requirements between men and women. These findings are then applied to the use case of Helsinki. The aim of this thesis is to give recommendations to the City of Helsinki in each of these domains on how they can improve their cycling situation to be more gender inclusive. Besides the literature review, expert interviews were conducted to acquire an insight into the cycling system in Helsinki. The experts were chosen based on their expertise in at least one of the domains. In the end, suggestions are made on how to improve the cycling situation for women. The two main recommendations for the city are an improvement of the infrastructure and a more diverse perception of cyclists. Another aspect is the role of gender, especially in a high-equality country like Finland. A complete equality is not achieved, however the self-perception of equality is identified as a barrier for the consideration of varying needs among different groups, including women. For other cycling projects it can be learned that differences in requirements of children and elderly are easier to communicate than the differences between genders. While in short term this might help to include a wider spectrum of the population, the underling negativity against gender consideration needs to be addressed and researched further.
Mladenović, Miloš
Thesis advisor
Martínez Díaz, Margarita
cycling, gender perceptions, Helsinki, dimension of integrated cycling policy, sustainable mobility
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