Level of immobility by gender and age
Figure 1 presents the level of immobility for all age groups combined. The results for age-stratified analysis for this metric and all others are presented in Supplementary Material. In all cities, level of immobility is greater among females than males, with exceptions of Kisumu and Los Angeles, where the two are equal. On average, females have 4 percentage points higher level of immobility than males (26% and 22%, respectively). This difference is greatest in Delhi (26 percentage points), followed by Accra (12 percentage points) and Sao Paulo (9 percentage points). The gender difference in immobility varies across the age groups. The average divergence between the two groups is the highest among the older adults (8 percentage points higher for women), followed by working age group (5 percentage points higher for women), while among the children, girls have slightly lower level of immobility (less than one percentage point) than boys.
Mode shares for all trips
In Table 2we present percentage share of all trips with walking, cycling, and public transport as main modes for all age groups combined. Note that the three proportions do not sum to 100 as there are also other modes of transport, for which the results are presented in Supplementary Material. Of the three modes of transport presented, walking is most common across the cities, followed closely by public transport. In comparison, cycling is used for a small minority of trips within most cities. There are, however, significant variations in mode share across the cities. Highest levels of walking are in Accra, Delhi, and Kisumu, with an average of 59% among females and 45% among males, and the lowest levels are in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Melbourne (average 14% and 13% for females and males, respectively). In all the cities, females have higher likelihood to walk and, on an average, this likelihood is 23% greater than that of men (calculated as the average of the ratios of the mode share of females to males). Among the three age groups, children have the highest levels of walking, and working age group and older adults have slightly lower but similar levels of walking. Gender difference in walking is the lowest among children, highest among working age group, and slightly lower than working age group among the older adults.
Among the three modes of transport, levels of cycling show greatest variation across the cities. The lowest levels of cycling are in Accra and Cape Town, with almost no cycling among females and less than a percent among males. The highest levels are in the four German cities with an average of 14–15% for the two gender groups. The gender differences are the highest for this mode of transport, and in a direction opposite to that of walking. On average, females are half as likely as males to cycle. The notable exceptions are the German cities of Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, where females are more likely to cycle than males. Cycling levels are generally the highest among the working age group followed by children, and the lowest among older adults. The gender differences vary greatly over the age groups. Among children, girls are 30% less likely to cycle than boys. Among working age groups and older adults, gender differences are equally high, with about 50% lower likelihood among women than men.
Highest levels of public transportation mode shares are in the Latin American cities of Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Santiago, and Sao Paulo, with an average of 39% among females, and 37% among males. These levels are many times greater than in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, which have the lowest levels of public transport use (average of 7% for the two gender groups). In all the cities, except Delhi and Mexico City, females are more likely to use public transport. On an average, likelihood to use public transport among females is about 6% higher than among males. The use of public transport is lowest among the children, highest among the working age, and slightly lower among the older adults than the working age. Gender difference in the use of public transportation is highest among older adults. In this age group, women are, on average, 26% more likely to use public transportation than men. Among children and working age group, females are only 5–6% more likely, on average.
Mode shares of work trips
In Table 3, we present modes shares of the walking, cycling and public transport for work trips. For this analysis, we present results only for all age groups combined, as work trips exclude children and most older adults. Among work trips, public transportation is the most common mode of transport, walking is the second most common, followed by cycling. Women have on average 25% higher likelihood to walk to work than men—similar to the finding for all trips (Table 2). Highest levels of walking are in Accra, Delhi, and Kisumu with an average of 41% among women and 28% among men. Lowest levels of walking to work are in Chicago, Hamburg, Los Angeles, and Munich, with an average of 6–7% among women and men.
The levels of public transportation among women are the highest in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, New York City, and Santiago, ranging from 57 to 68%, while among men, these levels range from 37 to 54% in those cities. In contrast, in Chicago and Los Angeles, use of public transportation among women is 8–12%, and among men, less than 10%. Women are on average 21% more likely than men to use public transport to travel to work, and this gender gap is much higher than in all trips combined. The gender differences in the use of public transport are the highest in the Latin American cities.
Similar to the finding in the previous section, the four German cities have the highest levels of cycling to work, and these levels are even higher than their corresponding values in all trips combined, presented in Table 3. Bogota and Delhi are the other two cities with high levels (10–12%), though only among men. In general, likelihood of cycling to work is higher than the likelihood of cycling in general. On average, women are half as likely as men to cycle to work, which is the same level of gender gap as we found among all trips.
Active travel time
Figure 2 presents harmonised active travel time per capita. The cities indicating ‘reported’ used reported stage-level travel time and those indicating ‘harmonised’ used the estimated travel time for stages (see Method section). In all cities except Accra and Delhi, females spend more time travelling actively than males, though the gender differences in most cities are small. On average, females have 5% higher active travel time per capita than males, with values of 24.4 min and 23.3 min, respectively. Chicago has the lowest levels with 5.5 min among females (f) and 5.2 min among males (m), followed by Melbourne (10.5: f; 10.7: m) and Los Angeles (10.5: f, 10.6: m). The highest levels are in Accra (48: f; 50: m) and in Zurich (38: f; 36: m). The gender difference is the highest in Delhi and Buenos Aires, though in opposite directions. In the former, females have 33% lower levels of activity than males, and in the latter, females have 15% higher levels of activity than males.
Among the age groups, working age adults have the highest level of active travel time per capita, and females have a higher level than males (26.1 min and 24.3 min, respectively). Older women have the lowest levels among all gender and age sub-groups, and the gender difference within this age group is also the highest— women have on average 16% lower active travel time per capita than males. This gender difference among older adults is in an opposite direction to the other two age groups— among children and working age groups, females have higher levels of activity than males. In Delhi and Buenos Aires, which have the highest gender difference for all age groups combined, activity levels are equal among children. It is in the higher age groups that the gender gap widens for the two cities, except in Buenos Aires, two gender groups are again equal among older adults. Using the alternate method for harmonisation, we found that the average results of most cities are within 4 percent of the estimates obtained using the main approach (see SI). Thus, our results are not sensitive to the assumption used for harmonisation.
In Table 4, we present share of total active travel time (walking and cycling) contributed by the three categories of main mode—walk, cycle, and public transport. Note that the percentages across the three modes do not sum to 100% as some part of active travel (2–3%) is contributed by other modes of transport, for example, cars and motorised two-wheelers. On average, females obtain 62% of their active travel time from those trips in which they walked all the way. In comparison, this share is 54% among males. The three cities with the highest contribution from walking among females are Delhi (91%), Accra (81%), and Kisumu (76%). Among males, highest contribution from walking is in Accra (80%), Kisumu (70%), and Zurich (71%).
Cycling contributes an average of 8% of total active travel time among females across the cities, while it contributes about twice as much (15%) among males. The four German cities have the highest contribution of cycling to active travel time, with an average of 24% among females and 29% among males. The average contribution of public transport to total active travel time is 28–29% for the two gender groups, and the gender gap is the lowest among the three modes of transport. The three cities with the highest contribution of public transport to active travel time for females are Buenos Aires, New York City and Santiago (43–51%), and for males are Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Santiago (46–55%). Delhi has the lowest contribution by public transport for females (8%) and Zurich for males (14%).
Among the three age groups, walking has the highest contribution to active travel time among children, and the lowest among working age group. Public transport and cycling have the highest contribution among the working age group. The lowest share of public transport is among children, and the lowest share of cycling is among older adults. The gender differences are the lowest among children for all the three modes. The highest gender gap for walking is among working age adults, and the highest gender gap for cycling is among working age and older adults. For these two age groups, the share of cycling to active travel time among females is half that of males.
Individuals gaining 30 min or greater of active travel time
In Fig. 3, we present the percentage of individuals across all age groups reporting at least 30 min of daily active travel time. We present this metric for the 10 cities for which stage-level duration of travel was available. Compared to the full set of 19 cities, these 10 cities include representation of all the regions except Africa. On an average, one in every four people achieve 30 min of daily active travel. The gender gap in achieving this level is the highest in Delhi where 24% females achieve 30 min of active travel compared to 33% males. Delhi is also the only city where this proportion is lower among females than among males. Excluding Delhi, on an average, females have 7% higher likelihood to achieve 30 min of active travel than males. Among these, the highest gender gap is in the Latin American cities of Bogota and Mexico City—27% females versus 24% males in the former, and 26% females and 22% males in the latter.
Among the three age groups, working age adults are most likely to achieve at least 30 min of active travel and older adults have the lowest, with children in the middle. Children are most gender equal among the three age groups. In Delhi, where overall gender gap is the highest, there is no gender gap among the children. In Mexico City and Bogota also, the gender gap among children is much smaller than the other age groups. Working age group has similar gender gap (females more likely) as all age groups combined, and among older adults, the gender gap is in an opposite direction, and females are 8% less likely than males to achieve 30 min of active travel.