This paper explores the three elements of motility (access, competence, appropriation) through women's perceptions of travel using the metro rail in Delhi, India. Studies on metro rails are a recent phenomenon in developing countries where this is a relatively new transport mode. The concept of motility to explore gendered use of metro is useful in context of this South Asian city where women's movements (potential and actual) are contingent upon their ability to travel safely. Data was collected using story completion methods. Participants were asked to complete an online semi-structured form that presented five fictional story stems/openings. Data in this paper is based on stories finished by 84 female participants across Delhi with varying demographic profiles. This paper advances qualitative research on women's mobility and transport use by highlighting situation-specific metro access; necessary skills to optimize access; and how women actually use the metro system. Feelings of un/safety related to fear of sexual harassment, getting lost, and risk of contracting diseases in unhygienic conditions results in specific access of the metro to feel safe. Diverse skills to manage the access include: coping (e.g., adapting to delay in services), performative (e.g., mannerisms to feel safe from threat of violence), spatial (e.g., location of coach), cultural (e.g., awareness of norms), and sanitary skills (e.g., bodily modifications to feel safe from unhygienic conditions). Based on travel priorities and past mobility experiences (personal/shared), the skills and access shape how women travel and what they decide to do to travel safely. This paper advocates for gender inclusive guidelines and collecting disaggregate data in transport, especially for newer metro systems being planned or constructed. It presents an opportunity to consider the barriers to women's potential mobility; how/where transport systems can play a part; and the use of qualitative research methods to appreciate the diversity of women's travel experiences across different segments of their journeys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Environmental Science(all)