Moving Toward Gender-Equitable Transportation in Post-COVID-19 Urban South Asia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - demand responsive transit, operations - frequency, policy - equity, planning - surveys, planning - methods, planning - signage/information, economics - subsidy


sustainability and resilience, transportation and society, women’s issues in transportation, data collection and analysis, gender and women, mode choice, planning, sustainable mobility, transportation equity, travel behavior


This research examines the impacts of COVID-19 on the mobility of resource-poor women and its linkage with livelihoods in urban South Asia, and how gender-responsive transport measures could be adopted. The study, conducted in Delhi between October 2020 and May 2021, used a mixed methods, multi-stakeholder, and reflexive approach. A literature review was conducted on the gender and mobility context in Delhi, India. Quantitative data were collected through surveys with resource-poor women, while qualitative research methods consisted of in-depth interviews with them. Different stakeholders were engaged through round tables and key informant interviews before and after data collection to share the findings and recommendations. The sample survey (n = 800) revealed that only 1.8% of working resource-poor women have access to a personal vehicle, making them dependent on public transport. While 81% of their trips are by bus, 57% of their peak hour trips are by paratransit, despite free travel on buses. Only 10% of the sample have access to a smart phone, which restricts their access to digital initiatives based on smart phone applications. The women expressed concerns such as poor bus frequencies and buses not stopping for them under the free ride scheme. These were consistent with issues faced before the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings highlight the need for targeted strategies for resource-poor women to achieve equity in gender-responsive transport. These include a multimodal subsidy, short messaging service to obtain real-time information, increased awareness on filing complaints, and an effective grievance redressal system.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.