Improving young women’s access to safe mobility in a low-income area of Tunis: Challenges and opportunities pre- and post-Covid

Elsevier, Transportation Research Procedia, Volume 60, 2022
Porter G., Murphy E., Han S., Mansour H., Keskes H., Dungey C. et al.
This paper explores the everyday transport and mobility challenges faced by young women living in one poor peripheral neighborhood of a North African city, Tunis. Discussion spans a two-year period covering conditions prior to and within the COVID-19 pandemic. Using an innovative participatory methodology, young women from the study neighborhood were trained to work as peer researchers in collaboration with the academic team. We examine women’s everyday mobility experiences, with particular reference to safety and the risk-avoidance practices they employ. In the context of the pandemic we then consider the impact of measures such as social distancing, lockdowns, and curfews on women’s travel safety. In the early phases of the pandemic women’s concerns around harassment seem to have been over-ridden by stronger concerns regarding disease contagion but also reflect reduced incidence of harassment due to limits imposed on transport usage and over-crowding. We conclude with reflections regarding the interventions needed for more positive post-pandemic travel scenarios, including priority seating, and boarding for women; expanded transport services into low-income areas; also improved surveillance on transport, at transport hubs and on the streets.