I’ll have to drive there: How daily time constraints impact women’s car use differently than men’s

  • Manish ShirgaokarEmail author
  • Kelly Lanyi-Bennett


Women, compared to men, spend more time on home-serving tasks. This might leave women with less time for other activities including daily travel, which can further limit their travel choices. Though the impacts of gender and family structure on work and non-work travel have been investigated, daily time constraints and their implications for travel are less well understood. We address this gap by employing mixed-methods. In the first phase, we use non-probabilistic purposive sampling and conduct focus groups to explore how professional women and men think about daily time use in relation to transportation choices. In the second phase, we rely on Canada’s 2015 General Social Survey (Cycle 29: Time use) and use daily time spent driving or riding as a passenger in an automobile as outcome variables. We specify weighted robust regression models to examine differences by gender using six sets of controls, namely, individual characteristics, household attributes, full-day time use profile, travel, and location factors. Our findings confirm that women spend more time than men on home-serving tasks including shopping and taking care of children/other adults. When we compare women and men who spend the same hours per day in paid work/getting an education, holding everything else constant, women spend more time driving. This research underscores the importance of gendered travel in relation to policies such as flex time and transportation options for complex trip making.


Automobile use Full-day time use Gender Mixed methods Time constraints Travel time budget 



This paper developed from the second author’s research thesis, which relied on qualitative methods. Madeleine Stout, Adwoa Adasi, and Alisa Oum assisted with the focus groups. The City of Edmonton and Stantec Inc. graciously agreed to host the focus groups. Leith Deacon provided research space for the second author’s thesis work. We thank all the above as well as the participants who attended the focus group discussions. The authors sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments have substantially improved this paper.

Author contributions

The authors confirm contribution to the paper as follows: study conception and design: MS, KLB; data collection: KLB; analysis and interpretation of results: MS, KLB; manuscript preparation: MS, KLB.


This project was funded through the first author’s research grants and the second author’s award for undergraduate research from the University of Alberta.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This project received approval through the Research Ethics Board at the University of Alberta (#Pro00059982).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Urban and Regional Planning, Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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