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Reduced emissions if everyone would travel like women do

Published: 2 March 2020

Energy use and emissions from passenger transport in Sweden would decrease by almost 20 percent if men traveled like women do. In addition, we would have already reached the level of reduced car travel that is deemed necessary to meet the climate goals by 2050. This according to a new study of the transport system from an equality perspective.

This web page has been machine translated. If there are any uncertainties, please refer to the Swedish text.

Today, intensive work is ongoing in Sweden for sustainable change. One of the most important areas for success is the transport system.

On behalf of Vinnova, Trivector Traffic has produced a report that illustrates transportation from an equality perspective. The purpose of the report is to open up new perspectives on innovation, and what is presented in the report shows that gender equality is a relevant aspect for a more sustainable transport system.

- Transportation of people and goods accounts for a third of Sweden's emissions and is necessary to change the climate change. In addition to technological development, major behavioral changes are needed. The report states, among other things, that with women's travel behavior as a starting point, we could reduce energy use and emissions from passenger transport by almost 20 percent, says Andreas Netz, head of department community development at Vinnova.

In addition to increased understanding of the importance of gender equality for the transport area, the report can give new suggestions for the position of Vinnova's investments.

- Vinnova is now reviewing and taking a strategic overall approach in a number of areas, where transport and mobility are one. In addition to technological development, new services and business models, policies and regulations as well as changing consumer and travel behavior are needed to achieve the necessary change. In the transition, it is important that the knowledge and needs of the entire population are utilized and that initiatives supported by Vinnova benefit both women and men. These insights are definitely reinforced by the report, says Andreas Netz.

Examples of what appears in the report

Women and men travel differently

The report states that the differences between how women and men travel are both well documented and extensive. It is in the choice of means of travel and the length of travel that differs most. Women and men make about the same number of trips per person per day, but men travel considerably longer, especially by car and air.

Women make chain trips to a greater extent, that is, do several cases per trip, and if there are alternatives to cars, women choose to a greater extent than men.

If everyone traveled as women do today, energy use and emissions from passenger transport in Sweden would decrease by almost 20 percent. In addition, the use of a car as a means of transport would already be in line with what is estimated to be sustainable for 2050.

Major differences in norms and values for transport issues

According to the authors of the report, previous studies on the transport system have not taken into account the importance of changes in attitudes, values and norms for travel behavior and choice of means of transport. Going forward, it is likely that it will play a bigger role, given that the challenge of the transport system's climate change requires behavioral change.

The report states that current transport systems are characterized by male norms. Sustainability is an area where the differences in values linked to travelers are consistently between women and men. Men are generally less motivated than women to change travel habits to more environmentally friendly behavior, and more is needed to convince men to change behavior than women. This gender difference is greater in transport issues than other environmental issues. In general, women are also more positively attuned to efforts in the transport system that are done to curb climate change.

In addition, if all traveled as women and women norms are included on an equal footing for decisions that affect the transport system, energy use and emissions from passenger transport in Sweden are estimated to decrease by 29 percent.

Synergy effects of gender equality transport system

The survey also found that an equal transport system would have positive synergy effects in sustainability, such as increased public health, reduced surface use and increased road safety.

Read more in the report:

Gender equality and the transport system

Om Vinnovas's work on gender equality and the report

I Vinnovas's instruction from the government states that we should integrate an equality perspective into the agency's activities and promote gender equality in the distribution of funds for research and innovation. We shall also work to include gender and / or gender perspectives in the project we finance, where applicable.

Within this framework, we have identified a need to produce short reports that focus on important innovation areas from an equality perspective.

The reportGender equality and the Transport Systemis a survey that highlights the importance of equal representation in transport systems as well as the behaviors, values and norms of women and men linked to transportation.

The questions answered in the report are:

  • What does an equality perspective mean for the transport system?
  • Why is a gender equality perspective needed on the transport system?

The report is written and compiled by Trivector Traffic, commissioned by Vinnova.


Andreas Netz

Head of department

+46 8 473 30 86

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Vinnova arbetar aktivt för att hela befolkningens kunskaper och behov tas tillvara och för att satsningar som stöds av oss ska komma både kvinnor och män tillgodo. Som en del i det arbetet har vi identifierat ett behov att ta fram korta rapporter som fokuserar på viktiga innovationsområden ur ett jämställdhetsperspektiv. Den här rapporten fokuserar på transport- och mobilitetsområdet och ger svar på frågorna: Vad innebär ett jämställdhetsperspektiv på transport- och mobilitetsområdet? Varför behövs ett jämställdhetsperspektiv på transport- och mobilitetsområdet? Rapporten visar bland annat att skillnaden i resebeteende i Sverige är så stor att om män reste som kvinnor, skulle energianvändningen och utsläppen från persontransporter minska med nästan 20 procent. Om dessutom normerna för beslut som påverkar transportsystemet förändras till att inkludera kvinnliga normer lika mycket som manliga, skattas energieffektiviseringspotentialen för persontransporter i Sverige till hela 29 procent. För att den potentialen ska kunna förverkligas krävs dels att kvinnors resebeteende är utgångspunkten för resebeteendet och dels att transportpolitiken tar likvärdig hänsyn till mäns och kvinnors förutsättningar och inställning till transportsystemet och dess konsekvenser.

Last updated 2 March 2020

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