Earlier today Frank posted an article about designing cities to help serve women and their transportation needs. I thought I’d take a look at numbers for Seattle’s current mode splits. All numbers are from the 2012 American Community Survey, and the percentages you see are the total number of commuters of a given mode and gender over the total number of commuters of any mode in that gender.
First, let’s look at the similarities. There are similar numbers of commuters overall, with only 7% more male commuters than female (189,929M, 176,274F). Male and female Seattleites drive in almost identical proportions (49.3%M, vs. 49.2%F). They walk to work in similar proportions (10.1%M, 9.7%F), and work at home in similar ratios (7.2%M, 6.8%F). But when we start looking at transit, the numbers start diverging.
Looking at “public transportation” as a group, women are well ahead of men (21.5%F, 18%M), and they keep this advantage when looking at buses in particular (20.5%F, 17.4%M) and “subway or elevated” (0.5%F, 0.3%M). Even carpools have women leading men (9%F, 8%M).
Where men lead in alternative commutes is bicycling (5.6%M, 2.5%F) and taxis (1.8%M, 1.3%F).
Of course, one weakness of the ACS is that it only tries to capture commutes. Like Vienna, it seems common in Seattle to have traditional gender roles of women running more errands than men, which might explain the 7% difference in number of commuters. I’d love to see a study here that captures all trips, not just commutes.
As an aside, I’ve always found it interesting that our STB meetups seem to have many more men than women, and all of our regular writers here are men. Considering women dominate Seattle’s transit scene, it’s strange that we’re missing out on the female perspective or even a female voice. If you have something to contribute, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.