85% of women in the UK think about their safety when planning for and making a journey. This can include letting other people know when and where they’re travelling, avoiding to travel at certain times of the day (especially at night), using a different mode (taxi or private car both reached the highest perceived safety in this particular survey at 90 and 97%), only taking particular routes, travelling together or meeting someone at the end destination. 

A reality that stems from a justified fear of sexual harassment or assault by men or general violent attacks women are subjected to in a patriarchal society, leading a lot of them to feel like they have to always “think three steps ahead”.

Public transport as a closed-off space can feel less dangerous when certain criteria are met: good lighting on services, visible staff and option to contact police if necessary. 

An app like the one that Unwire offers could aid in a few ways to women feeling safer, some possibilities include real-time data on staff availability (if the transport provider can supply this), offering safe and affordable last mile services, suggesting well-lit routes for walking, sharing a live-location with friends of family or an emergency buttons similar to the Berlin VBB children’s app.

Research done by the University of Hertfordshire on the potential of MaaS for women highlights some difficulties. First off, MaaS schemes that include ride-sharing or travelling with strangers could pose security risks for female travellers and keep them from using these services. To reduce these concerns, the researchers advise focusing on community-led ride-share systems. Connecting with someone they already know locally (on the app) could ease concerns and motivate switching to sustainable modes together.

Secondly, as women are still more often in charge of household and childcare duties in a family, they have very different travel patterns to men. Their days may differ significantly, meaning traditional weekly or monthly bus passes might not be the best financial decision for them. They also make shorter, but more trips in general often ‘trip-chaining’ activities like dropping children off at school or other activities and running errands. For this, the car is often seen as more convenient as they have to carry more goods around and public transport links are not available. 

Although, women are also less likely to have a drivers license or men in their household tend to use the (only) car which makes them dependant on PT. MaaS providers need to take these differences into account to include women sufficiently.

As women still earn less than men on average, they are more at risk of being in poverty and for those groups, something like using a smartphone with a data plan might not even be available.