Sustrans Cymru call for sustainable and inclusive transport network for Wales

22 September, 2021
By Christine Boston

Around the world, it is those who contribute least to climate change who suffer the most from the havoc it is creating.  In particular, women carry a greater burden for economic, social and cultural reasons and yet we are currently under-represented in decision-making.

This year, as part of Great Big Green Week, Sustrans Cymru will be hosting an event for women leaders in transport and inclusion.  We know that in Wales, we must reduce emissions from transport to meet the climate challenge.  Welsh Government have set a target of 45% modal shift which means we must encourage people to travel differently for as many journeys as possible, especially, where the distance is short (i.e. less than 5 miles).

In order to achieve this, we have to make it easier for people to walk and cycle by providing facilities that make it safe and easy to do so.  We also need to make public transport more accessible and inclusive to make it an attractive alternative to the private car.

Our event in Bute Park, will bring together the women who are working to increase access to transport either by developing policy or services or by increasing access and awareness for under-represented groups.

The aim of the event is to highlight the impact of climate change on women and raise awareness of the need for more women in decision-making roles.  We are lucky in Wales that we have some prominent and talented women leaders but with just 20% of the transport industry being female, it is clear we still have a long way to go before we achieve parity in the sector.

Given the challenge we face in making transport more sustainable in Wales, it is critical that we increase representation of all users.  Taking active travel specifically, we know that we must increase both number and diversity of those making every day journeys on foot or by bike. In order to achieve that, services should be developed by those with similar characteristics to the groups in the population that we are trying to reach.

Through collaboration with Pedal Power, Nextbike UK and Cycling UK, our event will give women leaders a chance to try a range of different cycles including electric and adapted.  It will allow us to build confidence around active travel; build a network for those leading change; and inspire others to think differently about both how they travel and, hopefully, how they think about careers in the transport industry.

We have a lot of work to do if we are going to achieve a shift in the way people travel in Wales.  Bringing colleagues together to celebrate the contribution of women in the industry and progress we have already made will help us create a movement for change that can accelerate efforts to diversify the transport sector and ensure a sustainable and inclusive transport network for Wales.

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