Women Have More Drive than Men
May 19, 2016 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Women, literally, have more drive than men. Nowadays, only 16% of car trips are for commuting. The majority of the remainder are spent running errands, and it's women who account for the lion's share of those hours behind the wheel. The same holds true in cities where more trips away from home involve travel by public transportation. Yet most transit plans aimed at easing traffic congestion target work commuters through options such as telecommuting and hub-and-spoke public transit designs.

And as if it weren't enough that women spend more time sitting in traffic, long commutes have a greater negative impact on their mental well-being than for men.
posted by drlith (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Interesting! But the reason we need plans to ease congestion aimed at commuters is that those 16% of the car trips all happen within two 30-minute periods five days a week, and the roads aren't set up to have 16% of the traffic happen during (roughly) 2% of the available time.
posted by mmoncur at 5:41 PM on May 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's actually not true that everyone works 9-5, for what it's worth.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:45 PM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's actually not true that everyone works 9-5, for what it's worth.

You are right, but in the area where I live we have "rush hours" where traffic is much busier than during the rest of the day because large numbers of people are driving to and from work.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:14 PM on May 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


At least in Chicago, afternoon rush hour is worse than morning rush hour because of people running errands on their way home from work. Rush hour and errands aren't two separate phenomena. That's when women are doing stuff like picking kids up from daycare.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:24 PM on May 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ugh I feel like the list of ways women have it worse is basically endless (although this is a great article and point) now. I want some good feminest news!
posted by Kalmya at 6:56 PM on May 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's really not a great article. There's a point to be made about the number of trips women are expected to take throughout the day and how that cuts their time into garbagey bits, but this article doesn't make that connection. It doesn't give us a good reason to talk about driving in terms of trips made instead of time spent driving (PDF) or distance driven. Because of that, the article seems really suspect. Like, it says "Women actually make up the vast majority of congestion on the roads," but what does that mean? Where did that factoid come from? How can it be true if men spend more time than women on the road?
posted by knuckle tattoos at 7:43 PM on May 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


I am not currently a user of public transit, but whenever I have been it has usually worked well for getting to and from work (or to and from school), but totally awful for things like going to the grocery store or pharmacy. If that was the focus user group for transit, routing and timing of buses would probably look very different than they do now. But in fairness, there is more that could be done on the zoning side as well, such as requiring grocery stores and other high-use commercial locations to consider transit in the same way that they are currently required to build parking capacity for cars.

So if women are largely responsible for running errands, they may be forced out of practicality to use cars for more of those trips because transit (or walking) is so often not a viable option.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:20 AM on May 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


So if women are largely responsible for running errands, they may be forced out of practicality to use cars for more of those trips because transit (or walking) is so often not a viable option.

Especially when you add a child or multiple children to the equation. I literally do not fathom how a parent manages the weekly grocery trip with children on public transit. Sure, maybe you've got the stroller to handle the walking portion of the trip there, but then what do you do with the stroller once you're in the store? And where do you put the groceries when you leave the store? A stroller basket can barely accommodate a diaper bag. And then you have to get all of it on public transit, which includes folding that stroller down on the bus. And if your answer to this is, "well, you make more than one trip to the store during the week!" then, look, that's just not reasonable for a working parent, especially factoring in the extra time required with both kids and public transit, even if the kids are pretty well-behaved and don't melt down completely.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hub-and-spoke design is out of style, at least where I live. As are many other terrible aspects of our transportation system. Unfortunately it will take decades, trillions of dollars and a lot of political will to fix transportation in a country where almost literally everything is wrong.

I actually bet that before that can happen, we get taken over by self-driving cars (with the companies who run them taking massive economic rents) and everybody will shrug and say, "eh, good enough".
posted by mellow seas at 7:56 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I literally do not fathom how a parent manages the weekly grocery trip with children on public transit. Sure, maybe you've got the stroller to handle the walking portion of the trip there, but then what do you do with the stroller once you're in the store? And where do you put the groceries when you leave the store? A stroller basket can barely accommodate a diaper bag. And then you have to get all of it on public transit, which includes folding that stroller down on the bus.

I live in Paris, and in Nice for 14 years before that, so this question is easy to answer from observation. Yes, you take the kids with you. In a store, you push the stroller in front of you and use it to hold your groceries. Most strollers here have huge baskets beneath them; who knows though, ones sold in the States could well be designed differently. A lot of people also hang bags from the handlebars – really big bags. Some people even stuff a water bottle or four between their kids' legs in the stroller. If they've got a kid who can walk and is strong enough to hold stuff, then they get to hold a bag of groceries too. Parent may also wrangle yet another bag around a shoulder.

Public transport? No folding of strollers there. They have priority. People make way for them. Again, I live in Paris, and it can get crowded at rush hour. People will cram against one another even more than usual to let on a parent pushing a stroller with a kid in it.
posted by fraula at 11:22 AM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


> where do you put the groceries when you leave the store? A stroller basket can barely accommodate a diaper bag

You pick your stroller wisely. I had three strollers for the little Corpses -- an "umbrella" stroller that was almost useless except that it folded up small, a fancy stroller with a huge area under the seat where I could stick groceries, and a jogging stroller that could hold quite a bit so long as I made the kid keep it on their lap. Hang bags from the handles, use a backpack, go grocery shopping frequently and buy less per trip.

Not to say this was the ideal situation. From time to time we'd rent a car to go on a trip, and always ended trips by going to the suburban-style grocery store and buying two or three shopping carts full of stuff.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:17 PM on May 21, 2016


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