Gender Differences in Travel Patterns: Role of Employment Status and Household Structure

Many signs indicate that the mobility of women has changed significantly in the past several decades: young women possess a driver's license almost as often as young men do, and women's car availability and their average mileage per year have increased. At the same time, more and more women combine job and family. The effects that these changes have on women's mobility in Germany are explored. The central questions are whether women adapt their mobility behavior to that of men or develop a woman-specific behavior, particularly for the use of the car, and whether household structure and employment status have the same effect on travel patterns for men and women. With data from a national travel survey in Germany, a group classification is carried out in order to compare those with similar basic conditions. The grouping variables are sex, employment status, and household structure. The analysis is restricted to individuals between 30 and 49 years of age in order to minimize variation in the life cycle to the extent possible. The results show that single men and women share many similarities. Gender differences reach the highest level for multiperson households. As long as only sex and household type are taken into account, the gender differences found are consistent with the literature. However, the additional distinction of employment status reveals a more differentiated view of gender differences in travel patterns. Men are rarely part-time employees or homemakers, but once they have this role, they often have even more strongly pronounced travel characteristics that normally are ascribed to women. In contrast, the travel patterns of full-time employed women are still different from those of their male counterparts. In addition, when working full time, women are to a higher degree than men responsible for household duties and child care. In this context, the car seems to have the ambivalent role of affording more flexibility while at the same time solidifying the traditional role of women in household duties and child care.

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  • Authors:
    • Nobis, Claudia
    • Lenz, Barbara
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  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 114-123
  • Monograph Title: Research on Women's Issues in Transportation, Report of a Conference, Volume 2: Technical Papers
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01016529
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309093945
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 30 2006 3:58PM