The distinct needs and experiences of women and men are rarely taken into account in mobility and infrastructure planning, write Katharina Csillak and Sophie Kamenz in a recent analysis. The IKEM researchers propose ways to increase gender equality in practice, using the development of electric charging infrastructure as a case study.
‘Statistics show that most drivers of electric cars are men. This is due to different mobility patterns, which stem from a gender-specific distribution of roles, income differences and safety aspects,’ says Katharina Csillak.
‘In order to create gender-neutral access to electric mobility, knowledge about the different needs of women and men must be included in the planning and design of electric charging infrastructure in the future,’ says Sophie Kamenz. She lists concrete suggestions that take into account the usage needs of women: ‘public charging infrastructure should always be well lit or placed near building entrances and residential buildings. Kindergartens, schools, parks, shops, doctors’ surgeries and nursing homes are suitable locations for fast charging stations,’ she says.
‘However, special attention must be paid not only to the availability of the electric charging infrastructure, but also to the concepts behind it,’ the authors conclude and propose a category system to support researchers and practitioners in the evaluation of mobility projects. In addition to a number of other criteria, the design of the charging infrastructure must also taken into account: is the charging station accessible for users and accompanying persons? Is there enough space on the associated parking lot to unload baby carriages and wheelchairs?
Dr. Kathleen Pauleweit, Gender Equality Officer at IKEM, stresses the importance of gender-sensitive research: ‘With its research, IKEM is committed to a comprehensive understanding of sustainability. This includes the goal of ensuring that all women have equal access to public services and infrastructure. Thus, the publication is an important step towards gender mainstreaming in mobility research.’
The study was conducted as part of the USER-CHI project. Here, IKEM conducts research on ethical and data protection issues of electric charging infrastructure.
The publication is now available online: https://open-research-europe.ec.europa.eu/articles/3-47/v1.