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Social Improvements Following Electric Public Transport

Social improvements following electric public transport worldwide.
A yellow electric bus driving around passengers in a city.
© Unsplash

Having a dedicated planning strategy for the transition to E-Mobility is essential for its success. One key aspect in such a planning strategy is focusing on electric public transport. Another aspect is considering the role of women and actively considering their mobility needs as public transport users.

Many people like to travel or have no other choice than travelling by car, but it comes at a cost. Worldwide, EVs are still in the minority, and the more cars on the road, the greater the cost to the environment and our health. But what are the alternatives for getting around? Most short journeys can be made on foot, by bicycle, or by bus. The bus in particular has a number of advantages over using a car to get from A to B. Here are the main reasons why you should consider leaving your car at home and taking the bus instead.

Image showing the number of people a single electric bus can carry instead of using ICE vehicles. Electric bus comparison. Mercado y Empresas (2022)

Why take the bus instead of the car?

  • Cars are a major contributor to local air pollution in cities, causing thousands of premature deaths and respiratory illnesses like asthma every year.
  • In a study published in the ‘Journal of Public Transportation’, it was found that riding the bus is about 60 times safer than driving a personal vehicle.
  • Public transport is cheaper than owning and driving a private car considering all cost (e.g. vehicle purchase, insurance, maintenace, parking, gasoline). According to the ‘American Public Transport Association, the average American household spends 93% of its transportation costs on maintaining and operating private cars.
  • Driving a car requires constant concentration on the road and on traffic. On the bus, you can read the newspaper, listen to music, chat with your friend, and look out the window.

Traveling by bus helps reduce road congestion. Every vehicle on the road contributes to congestion as it takes up road capacity. So, if you have ever sat in a car complaining about traffic, don’t forget that you are part of the problem! Buses can carry up to 50 passengers and more. And since most car drivers travel alone or with only one other person, one bus can replace about 30-40 cars as shown in the image above.

Electric buses make it easier to breathe

Electric buses offer several advantages compared to traditional, diesel or gasoline-powered buses. By reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, electric buses contribute to improved air quality, leading to health benefits for both passengers and residents in the areas they operate. Further, Electric buses are quieter than diesel or gasoline buses, reducing noise pollution in urban environments. They also provide a smoother and more comfortable ride due to the absence of engine vibrations and gear shifts.

Ensuring women feel safe when using public transport

Ensuring the safety of all public transport users is essential. Women and other marginalised groups can face several challenges and safety concerns when using public transport, which can vary depending on factors such as location, cultural norms, and the quality of the transportation system. Personal safety is a significant concern for women using public transport. They may fear harassment, assault, or theft, particularly when traveling alone at night or in poorly lit and secluded areas. These principles help to ensure women’s safety:

A woman waiting to get on a public bus in Africa. Public bus in Africa. TUMI (2022)

  • designing open public areas and public transport stations with greater visibility and in high footfall areas, improved lighting, and monitoring camera system
  • recognizing sexual harassment and gender-based violence as criminal offenses and developing reliable reporting mechanisms including sufficient security personnel
  • training public transport staff to adequately deal with sexual harassment incidents by taking care of victims and reporting aggressors and harassers
  • raising awareness through public campaigns and education that sexual harassment is intolerable and addressing fellow passengers to help out and not to be “silent bystanders”
  • providing real-time information on public transport schedules or cancelled services to avoid long waiting times
  • implementing on-demand bus or taxi services at night and early in the morning to compensate missing transport connectivity
  • increasing the number of women working in public transport and ensure a gender mix of staff at stations and in vehicles
  • improving operations to avoid overcrowded buses or trains. It is easier for harassers to operate in crowded spaces without being noticed or challenged
  • including safety requirements in tender documents and penalty clauses in service operator contracts.

Conclusion:

Increasing public transport ridership helps to reduce congestion, pollution and brings various benefits to its passengers. To ensure public transport is an attractive alternative compared to using the private car it is essential to create safe and inclusive public transportation systems that prioritize the needs and safety of all passengers, regardless of gender.

References:

  • TUMI. (2022) Remarkable Women Retrieved from Link
  • Zicla. (2020). Why is taking the bus better than taking the car. There are many reasons! Retrieved from Link
  • Injury Facts (2023). Deaths by Transportation Mode. Retrieved from Link
  • iDriveYourCar. (2023). Difference between private and public transport. Link
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Exploring the World of Electric Mobility: Key Concepts and Strategies

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