Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilRubriquesEspace, Société, Territoire2012Convergence or divergence? Changi...

2012
591

Convergence or divergence? Changing gender differences in commuting in two Swedish urban regions

Convergence ou divergence ? L’évolution des différences hommes/femmes dans les navettes domicile-travail de deux régions urbaines suédoises
Konvergens eller divergens? Förändrade könskillnader i arbetspendling i två svenska regioner
Ana Gil Solá et Bertil Vilhelmson

Résumés

Cet article explore les différences hommes/femmes dans leurs navettes domicile-travail en Suède alors que différentes politiques avaient été mises en place pour promouvoir à la fois un marché du travail spatialement plus étendu et l’égalité des sexes. Pour cela, nous avons d’une part utilisé les statistiques nationales suédoises sur le transport datant de 1994-1995 et de 2005-2006 et d’autre part étudié les différentes inégalités avec un intérêt particulier donné à la distance, la vitesse, le temps et l’utilisation de la voiture. Une attention particulière a été portée à deux régions urbaines, celles de Malmö et Göteborg, parce qu’on peut y voir d’importants changements durant cette période. Les résultats nous montrent que les distances parcourues dans le cadre des navettes domicile-travail ont généralement augmenté. Les résultats nous montrent aussi que les différences entre les sexes ont aussi légèrement diminuées durant la période étudiée. Les hommes et les femmes utilisent plus et passent plus de temps dans des moyens de transports rapides dans le but d’étendre spatialement leurs possibilités d’emploi. Cependant, les femmes continuent d’utiliser des moyens de transport pour leur migration du travail plus lents que ceux utilisés par les hommes. Les résultats de notre étude nous montrent que cela n´a pas beaucoup changé. Au niveau des régions urbaines de Malmö et de Göteborg, on peut voir deux dynamiques différentes. Dans la région de Malmö, les différences s’amenuisent : les femmes ont étendu leurs navettes domicile-travail. Tandis qu’à Göteborg, les différences s’accroissent de plus en plus : ce sont les hommes qui ont étendu leurs migrations. Dans ces phénomènes, la voiture ne semble pas avoir été un facteur influant sur les différences migratoires entre les sexes ce qui nous montrent que celles-ci sont plutôt dépendantes des situations inhérentes à chaque région.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

We wish to thank the reviewers at the TRB’s Fourth International Conference on Women’s Issues in Transportation for comments on an early draft of this paper. We also wish to thank the two anonymous referees who helped us improve the final version of the paper.

Introduction

1Within urban and regional planning and policy in Sweden, regional enlargement – here understood as the geographical extension of labour markets and associated longer commuting distances – is embraced as a means of stimulating economic growth (Amcoff 2009; Swedish Government Official Reports 2007). Extended functional labour markets are believed to offer the individual more employment and specialization opportunities, and to allow regions to become more competitive in a globalizing world. Regional enlargement is based on people commuting longer distances. In this context, extended commuting facilitates the process of matching employees with proper qualifications to relevant jobs and higher incomes (Gadd et al. 2008).

2Critical questions then are whether all groups of society really could participate in such enlargement and what the socio–spatial consequences of this might be – not least from a gender perspective, as women generally commute much shorter distances than do men, in Sweden as in most other countries (Crane 2007; Polk 1998; Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis 2007). While the reasons for this gap have been discussed in several studies, change over time, aspects of regional variation, and the consequences of women’s comparatively shorter commuting distances are less well known. Overall, the wider context of gender equality issues and how responsibilities are shared between women and men in households, at work, and elsewhere are all supposed to affect work-related mobility change (Bergström Casinowsky 2010; Hjorthol 2008; Turner and Niemeier 1997). Studies conducted from a regional enlargement perspective demonstrate that the effect of local labour market size on income levels is considerably smaller for women than for men (Dahl et al. 2003). A recent longitudinal study (Sandow and Westin 2010) firmly demonstrates that male commuters benefit more in terms of better economic outcomes from increased long-distance commuting than do women. This suggests that women do not benefit from regional enlargement to the same extent as do men, a condition that might affect decisions to change commuting behaviour.

3How far and by what means commuting is extended also have important impacts on broader issues of sustainability – ecological (i.e., regarding regional emission goals) as well as social (not least for gender equality) – and on how individuals perceive their mobility in the context of everyday life. Increased commuting distances can be supported by faster, yet more energy-consuming and environmentally detrimental infrastructure and means of transport (Hanson 1998). Commuting can also be extended by increasing the daily commuting time, which would be less beneficial for individuals, households, and society.

Aim of study

4This paper explores whether gender-based commuting gaps change in Sweden in times when policies at various levels seek to promote both regional enlargement and gender equality. Regional enlargement policy is expected to fuel further extension of travel and possibly increase the existing gender gap in commuting. On the other hand, increased gender equity in society could be expected to narrow the commuting gap between women and men (Frändberg and Vilhelmson 2011; Hjorthol 2008), leading to a convergence trend. Indications of several processes at work, pulling in different directions, stress the need for regional comparison. In our empirical exploration, we first analyse developments in Sweden in general. We then concentrate on the urban regions of Malmö and Göteborg. In a preliminary analysis, Gil Solá (2009) identified different patterns of change in gap convergence/divergence in these two urban regions.

5As traditionally measured in Sweden and elsewhere, regional enlargement is said to occur when the population commuting across municipality boundaries increases over time; when a certain proportion of the population commutes across boundaries, two or more local labour markets will merge and become one (Amcoff 2009; Statistics Sweden 2011c). Notably, this study takes the individual’s spatial reach on the labour market (rather than the crossing of administrative boundaries) as a point of departure. Commuting is then measured in terms of the fundamental dimensions (Banister 2011) of actual travel distance, time, and speed.

Previous research

6Women’s commuting distances and reach on the labour market per se has been examined in many international studies (e.g., Cristaldi 2005; Gilbert 1998; Hanson and Johnston 1985; Hanson and Pratt 1995; Johnston-Anumonwo 1988; Kawase 2004; McLafferty and Preston 1991; Nobis and Lenz 2005), as well as in Nordic (Hjorthol 2000; Krantz 1999; Polk 1998; Sandow 2008, forthc.; Sandow and Westin 2010). Results have repeatedly shown that women as a group commute shorter distances than do men, although this varies depending on factors such as car access, education level, income, household structure, occupation, age, and ethnicity. However, many of these studies were conducted long ago, do not consider dynamic change, and are limited to a few countries.

7In the Nordic context, several studies have focused on women’s everyday travel in general, rather than commuting in particular (Hjorthol 1998, 2008; Krantz 1999; Polk 1998, 2004; Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis 2002, 2007). These studies reveal gender differences in trip frequency and distance, modal choice, and attitudes towards various means of transportation, such as the car and public transportation. In a recent study, Fults (2010) compares two large-scale travel surveys conducted in Stockholm County in 1986–1987 and 2004. Her findings indicate that, while travel distance increased overall, it increased at a higher rate for women than for men. Women’s overall travel behaviour has become more similar to men’s, which explains an overall trend towards increased travel distance.

8However, research demonstrating how the gendered character of work-related travel evolves over time, in Sweden or other countries, is scarce. This can partly be attributed to lack of data, though repeated cross-sectional national travel surveys conducted over time in recent decades now appear to comprise an important source of long-term data in many countries (Frändberg and Vilhelmson 2010). Sandow (2008, forthc.) and Sandow and Westin (2010) use population register data in a longitudinal study of how socio–economic factors influence the propensity to commute longer distances in northern Sweden. These studies are based on geo-referenced data concerning the locations of and the Euclidian distance between the home and the workplace of a total population. The authors demonstrate that the pattern of women commuting shorter distances than do men remained relatively stable over the 1991–2003 period. However, the analysis is constrained by the fact that it does not measure actual travelled distance, travel time, or mode of transportation used. Several international studies specifically examine the issue of changing commuting time (Crane 2007; Levinson and Kumar 1994; Vandersmissen et al. 2003). For example, Crane (2007) analyses changes in commuting time in the USA, identifying an increase for both women and men over the 1985–2005 period, although women’s commutes were somewhat shorter in duration than were men’s throughout the period.

9The crucial role of mobility in women’s efforts to integrate everyday activities scattered in time and space – to combine paid work, household responsibilities and care, and leisure activities – are highlighted in qualitative research (Friberg 1998, 2002). Specifically in relation to the concept of regional enlargement, gender differences are critically examined, not least concerning the expected impacts of increased commuting on everyday life. Friberg (2006, 2008) argues that the policy of regional enlargement will preserve the traditional division of household work and childcare responsibilities between women and men. The more specific question of the extent to which enlarged labour markets (and longer commutes) really pay off from an income perspective is analysed (National Board of Housing, Building and Planning 2005; Sandow and Westin 2010), as are the correlations of enlarged labour markets with socio–economic factors (Sandow 2008) and with local labour market size and income levels (Dahl et al. 2003). It is generally found that men benefit economically more than do women from increased long-distance commuting. On the other hand, long-distance commuting men run a greater risk of divorce, indicating the wider social cost or implications of regional enlargement (Sandow forthc.).

Theoretical approach

10From a theoretical perspective, our investigation of changing mobility gaps regards commuting as activity-based and gendered. Mobility is perceived as driven mainly by an individual’s wish or need to take part in activities that are geographically dispersed and thus largely concerns providing access. The resulting travel is influenced by factors related to the individual (e.g., sex, income, age, education, and occupation) and her or his household, to the wider social context of values, norms, and expectations, and to factors related to the physical, built environment (e.g., transportation infrastructure and localization of activities). Gender and gender-based structures affect many, if not all, of the important factors that shape mobility, such as access to mobility resources, social values and expectations, and the urban and regional setting (Gil Solá 2009; Grimsrud 2011, Law 1999; Polk 1998). To this are added the basic time-geographic aspects of where, when, and for how long certain activities must be undertaken to carry out the regular projects of everyday life – i.e., work, household maintenance and care, leisure, and socializing. These projects cannot be accomplished in any random way, are often tied to fixed places (Ellegård and Vilhelmson 2004; Vilhelmson 1999), and are subject to intra-household negotiation and distribution. Accordingly, travel distance, time, and speed (to overcome distance) are central dimensions of processes that link projects scattered in space and as such are important “barometers of equality” (Hjorthol 2008) used for empirical analysis. These three dimensions reflect gender relations played out in a spatial arena. Local and regional variation in gender commuting gap change should therefore be expected and subject to further examination.

Travel survey data

11Swedish national travel survey data (Riks RVU 94/95 and RES 05/06) covering the 1994–1995 and 2005–2006 periods are used for the empirical analysis. The data comprise detailed information about the journeys of approximately 19,000 individuals in 1994–1995 and 27,000 individuals in 2005–2006. The data were collected via telephone interviews with members of the Swedish population aged 6–84 years. Response rates were 77 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively, in the two periods. The variables included concern the individual (e.g., gender, age, car access, education, and work), the household (e.g., household income, children, and housing), and the trips made on the day studied (e.g., means of transportation, distance, time, trip purpose, and destination). The database covers 10,600 commuting trips in 1994–1995 and 14,800 in 2005–2006 in Sweden. The analysis of the Göteborg region is based on 890 trips in 1994–1995 and 1070 in 2005–2006, and of the Malmö region on 610 trips in 1994–1995 and 570 in 2005–2006 (see table 1).

Table 1. Number of individuals (commuters) and work trips used for the analysis

 Unit

1994-1995

2005-2006

Sweden

Göteborg

Malmö

Sweden

Göteborg

Malmö

Individuals

(commuters)

5,106

446

299

7,076

523

275

Work trips

10,593

890

608

14,560

1,066

568

  • 1 However, a small number of reported work trips made by air were excluded. 10 trips were discarded i (...)

12While individuals are sample units, their work trips make up the basic unit of our analysis. As shown in table 1, the number of commuters is just about half the number of trips, reflecting the fact that commuters normally make two work trips per day (to and from work). In the surveys, commuting distance is defined as the actual route between home and work. It includes any detours and stops for secondary activities performed on the way. By using this definition trip-chaining, which is often attributed to women more than men, is taken into account. Travel time is measured as the total time needed to travel from door to door. In our analysis, no cut-off limit is applied for trip time or distance.1 Approximately 5 per cent of all trips would be too long to be considered everyday commuting and could probably be classified as weekend commuting. Although the great distances of a few extra-long trips might affect the average commuting distance and time, these trips are kept in the dataset, as there is no straightforward way to distinguish between everyday and weekend commuting in the survey.

13The descriptive analysis of the survey contains bivariate comparisons (including tests for statistical significance) of gender differences at the national and regional levels. Weighting procedures were used to produce estimated totals for the target population.

Studied urban regions

14To analyse regional variations in the change of gendered commuting gaps, the Göteborg and Malmö regions were compared based on the so-called A-regions (see Figure 1). The selected regions are each dominated by a large city, i.e., Göteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city with a population of 490,000 in 2006, and Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city with a population of 275,000. The population of each city corresponds roughly to half the population of each region. The Göteborg region is considerably larger than the Malmö region.

Figure 1. The Göteborg and Malmö urban regions, classified in terms of population distribution and service supply locations into so-called A-regions according to Statistics Sweden (2011b, d)

Figure 1. The Göteborg and Malmö urban regions, classified in terms of population distribution and service supply locations into so-called A-regions according to Statistics Sweden (2011b, d)

Map data: © Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority (permission number I2011/0075)

15A-regions are defined as urban areas and their surroundings, based on the classification of population patterns and service supply (Statistics Sweden 2011a). This classification of regions is used because it remains stable over time, allowing comparison. Notably, A-regions are not the same as local labour markets, which tend to grow over time.

16Both Göteborg and Malmö have traditionally been industrial cities and ports. In recent decades, industries in both regions have undergone similar structural transformations. In 2006, the largest industries in both regions were related to the sectors of wholesale and retail trade, transport, storage and communication (in which six of ten employees are men), financial intermediation, real estate, renting and business activities (in which six of ten employees are men), manufacturing industry (in which seven of ten employees are men), and health and social work (in which eight of ten employees are women). The share of women in various industries was very similar in both regions. The same holds true for men, although manufacturing was slightly more important for men in the Malmö region (Gil Solá 2009). Both regions feature several important railroad and road networks, although the Göteborg region is situated on hilly terrain, making it difficult and expensive to build good railroad infrastructure.

National level: changes over time in Sweden

17As regards general gender gap change, at the national level and in both relative and absolute terms, commuting distances in Sweden increased faster for women than for men between 1994–1995 and 2005–2006, when women increased their commuting distances by 21 per cent versus 13 per cent for men (see Table 2). This indicates a moderate convergence in spatial labour market access in Sweden over the period. Still, women’s spatial reach on the labour market appears more constrained than that of men, who on average commute 33 per cent farther than do women. Further, changes in the distribution of work trip lengths (see Figure 2) indicate that the growth of commuting is concentrated toward longer trips and thus associated with regional enlargement rather than being a sign of increased intra-urban interaction.

18In terms of travel time, both women and men spent an average of 27 minutes per trip in 2005–2006. Since 1994–1995, both groups increased their commuting time, women by 18 per cent and men by 15 per cent. This increase is comparable to the relative increase of travel distance among women and men. The changes in commuting distance could thus be largely associated with increased commuting time, rather than with increased travel speed. Women still commute at a slower speed than do men, although a convergence occurred over the study period, from a 39 per cent to a 32 per cent gender ratio. This suggests that there should be some notable changes in the means of transport used for commuting.

Table 2. Commuting distance, time, and speed (one way trip averages), Sweden 1994–1995 and 2005–2006

Commuting, dimension and group

1994–1995

2005–2006

Absolute change (over period)

Travel distance,

km

Women

11.3

13.7

+2.4*

Men

16.1

18.2

+2.1*

Gender gap

4.8*

4.5*

..

Gender ratio

42.3%

33.0%

..

Travel time, min

Women

22.9

26.9

+4.0*

Men

23.5

27.1

+3.5*

Gender gap

0.6

0.1

..

Gender ratio

2.7%

0.4%

..

Speed, km/h

Women

29.6

30.5

+0.9

Men

41.1

40.4

-0.6

Gender gap

11.4*

9.9*

..

Gender ratio

38.5%

32.4%

..

Note: Gender gap calculated as value for men – value for women, Gender ratio calculated as (value for men – value for women) / value for women.
* Statistically significant difference at p < 0.05

Figure 2. The distribution of commuting trip length by gender. Sweden 1995/1996 and 2005/06

Figure 2. The distribution of commuting trip length by gender. Sweden 1995/1996 and 2005/06

19In terms of speed and efficiency, it is important to analyse how car use developed over time. Car use (as driver) is the single most dominant mode of transport, used by women on almost half and by men on two thirds of all commutes (see Table 3). Results show a reduced gender gap as regards car trip frequency, as women increased their use of the car by 8 per cent. There is also a converging tendency as regards travel distance by car as women increased their average car trip length by 17 per cent and men by 9 per cent over the period. These results could be interpreted as indicating that women now prevail more often in competition for the car in single-car households, or that more households have bought second cars.

Table 3. Commuting by car as driver: average trip frequency and distance (one way average), Sweden 1994–1995 and 2005–2006

Car driver,

dimension and group

1994–1995

2005–2006

Share of all

commuting trips,

%

Women

43.7

47.0

Men

64.3

63.9

Gender gap

20.6*

16.9*

Gender ratio

47.1%

36.0%

Travel distance,

km

Women

14.2

16.6

Men

19.4

21.1

Gender gap

5.1*

4.5*

Gender ratio

36.0%

27.3%

Note: Gender gap calculated as value for men – value for women, Gender ratio calculated as (value for men – value for women) /value for women.
* Statistically significant gender difference at p < 0.05

Regional level: changes in the Göteborg and Malmö region

20From an urban/regional perspective, initial results from 2005–2006 indicated large gender differences in average commuting distance in the Göteborg region, but no such differences in the Malmö region. These unexpected results raised questions about how (in a Swedish context) fairly similar regions could display such disparity. To gain a better understanding of this, we explored the development over time of commuting distance, time, speed, and car use. The first notable observation (see Table 4) was that, in 1994–1995, the two regions had similar gender gaps. On average, men then made approximately 25 per cent longer commutes than did women in both regions. Since then, divergence developed in the Göteborg region, while there was considerable convergence in the Malmö region (see Figures 3a and 3b).

  • 2 To include a sufficient number of observations, observations labelled 1994 comprise NTS data for 19 (...)

Figure 3a. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Göteborg A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.2 Difference between women and men in 2006 statistically significant (p = 0.05)

Figure 3a. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Göteborg A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.2 Difference between women and men in 2006 statistically significant (p = 0.05)
  • 3 To include a sufficient number of observations, observations labelled 1994 comprise NTS data for 19 (...)

Figure 3b. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Malmö A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.3 Difference between women and men in 2006 not statistically significant

Figure 3b. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Malmö A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.3 Difference between women and men in 2006 not statistically significant

21The convergence in commuting distance between women and men in the Malmö region is mainly attributable to a large increase in distances commuted by women, while men in the Malmö region only slightly increased their commuting distances. The divergence found in the Göteborg region is explained by a large increase in commuting distance among men, and no change among women. An analysis of trip length distributions confirms that observed changes are due mainly to increased long-distance commuting frequencies; changes that also promote regional enlargement.

Table 4. Commuting distance, time, and speed (one way trip averages), Göteborg and Malmö regions, 1994–1995 and 2005–2006

Commuting, dimension and group

Göteborg

 Malmö

1994–1995

2005–2006

1994–1995

2005–2006

Travel distance, km

Women

13.2

13.4

12.7

16.6

Men

16.6

19.7

15.7

16.7

Gender gap

3.4

6.3*

3.1

0.1

Gender ratio

25.6%

46.8%

24.2%

0.6%

Travel time, min

Women

27.9

28.6

23.8

30.4

Men

26.5

31.1

24.4

27.7

Gender gap

-1.4

2.5

0.6

-2.7

Gender ratio

-5.1%

8.8%

2.5%

-8.9%

Speed, km/h

Women

28.4

28.2

31.9

32.7

Men

37.6

38.0

38.6

36.1

Gender gap

9.2

9.9

6.7

3.4

Gender ratio

32.3%

35.0%

21.1%

10.4%

Note: Gender gap calculated as value for men – value for women, Gender ratio calculated as (value for men – value for women) / value for women.
* Statistically significant gender difference at p < 0.05

22From the perspective of regional enlargement, only women in the Malmö region and men in the Göteborg region substantially extended their labour market regions. This variability suggests that the development registered at the national level, indicating a slow convergence in commuting distance, masks profound regional variation. Under certain circumstances, regional enlargement seems to go hand in hand with increased gender equality in terms of commuting, although it in other cases might reinforce existing gaps. This further suggests that the development observed is heavily influenced by region-specific factors. In principle, these could be attributed to region-specific changes in the (gendered) labour market structure, in residential mobility, changes in transport systems and/or modal choice, and/or intra-household efforts to adjust work-life balances. In this paper, and given the type of available data, we are restricted to the partial exploration of certain important aspects, i.e., time and speed of transport, and car use.

23Considering the temporal aspect, women’s commuting time in the Göteborg region remained practically unchanged over the study period, while it increased considerably more in the Malmö region. Men increased their commuting time in both regions. The only group that changed the commuting speed remarkably was men in the Malmö region, who reduced it.

24The observed changes (and non-changes) in the two regions with regard to commuting distance, time, and speed imply that some changes have occurred in the use of means of transportation. The results indicate that driving a car is the most often used mode in both regions, among both women and men. Car use is at the same level among women in the Göteborg and Malmö regions, accounting for 45 per cent of all commutes in 2005–2006. Similarly, men’s car use differs little between the Göteborg and Malmö regions, cars being used for 62 per cent and 65 per cent of all commutes, respectively. Access to cars does therefore not seem to be the main explanation of the observed difference in commuting distance between women and men in the two regions. However, in the Malmö region, women commuted longer distances by car (19.6 km) than did men (16.3 km) in 2005–2006. This is unexpected, since women in Sweden generally commute shorter distances than do men when they drive to work (see Table 3). In the Göteborg region, on the other hand, men commute considerably farther by car than do women, i.e., men 23.8 km and women 15.4 km on average.

25Results further indicate that increased gender differences – divergence – in commuting distance in the Göteborg region go hand in hand with increased driving distances for men, i.e., a 24 per cent increase for men versus a 5 per cent decrease for women. The convergence found in the Malmö region is associated with a 15 per cent increase in women’s commuting distance by car versus a 9 per cent decrease in men’s. However, and importantly, regional results concerning car trip frequencies imply that it is not a general increase in the number of car users, but rather an increased average commuting distance per car driver that is associated with extended labour market areas. Car use frequency decreased by 12 per cent for men in the Göteborg region and increased only by 6 per cent for women in the Malmö region – the two groups increasing their one way trip averages - while it increased by 17 per cent for women in the Göteborg region. From a gender perspective, this implies that increased access to cars is not the only factor evening out gender differences in commuting distance, giving women access to a larger labour market.

Concluding discussion

26This study confirms that, in terms of commuting distance, women and men in Sweden are still far from having equal access to the labour market, although some convergence has occurred over time. With reference to the common view of gradually improved equality standards between women and men in Sweden over recent decades, this outcome might be expected. Despite this, women and men spend the same average amount of time daily on commuting. Women still commute at slower speeds than men do, no significant change occurring in this aspect over the study period. This suggests that gender differences in time constraints or pressure in everyday life do not cause substantial differences between the sexes in the acceptance of commuting time. Still, this aspect is complex and should be further studied, especially in relation to gender differences in the acceptance of low travel speeds.

27Arguably the most important finding is that the observed general increase in average commuting distance – in other words, in regional enlargement – was matched by people spending more time commuting. This implies that regional enlargement over the study period was not primarily ascribable to improved infrastructure or faster means of transportation, as is often expected, but to an increased tolerance of longer commuting time. Consequently, longer commuting distances may well allow regional economic development, but also de facto imply increased time costs for individuals and households. This fact must be acknowledged, since planning policies aiming for regional enlargement or labour market extension, and enhanced by infrastructure investments aiming to increase travel speed and comfort, in principle, also could be used for travel time savings, and reduced time spent on travel.

28However, and importantly, contrasting changes were found at the regional level when two major Swedish urban regions were compared. Over the period, rapid gender gap convergence occurred in the Malmö region, while divergence occurred in the Göteborg region. This inconsistency indicates that general national-level change hides profound regional variation.

29Convergence in Malmö was mainly attributable to women increasing their commuting distances, while divergence in Göteborg was mainly attributable to men commuting farther. This contrasting spatial development indicates that gender-related changes are largely contingent on region-specific factors. The extent to which those factors are connected to regional changes in gendered labour market structure, transportation system access, and/or intra-household efforts to adjust work-life balances could not be disentangled and therefore calls for further study. A preliminary interpretation is that, under certain circumstances, regional enlargement seems to go hand in hand with improved gender equality, although it also could reinforce existing gaps.

30Notably, the groups that increased their commuting distances – women in the Malmö and men in the Göteborg regions – to some extent used similar mobility strategies. Both women in the Malmö region and men in the Göteborg region generally increased their commuting distances by spending more time travelling, and none of them increased their commuting speed distinctly. However, it was not an increased total number of car drivers, but an increased average commuting distance per car driver, that was associated with regional enlargement.

31Finally, since commuting time for both women and men increased in Sweden over the period – for women in Malmö in particular – it is important to assess, in further study, whether travel time increased at the expense of other trip purposes or affected time for other, place-bound activities. This process of displacement may have important implications for everyday life viewed from a gender perspective.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Amcoff J., 2009, “Rapid regional enlargement in Sweden: A phenomenon missing an explanation”, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 91, No. 3, 275–287.

Banister D., 2011, “The trilogy of distance, speed and time”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 19, No. 4, 467-1006.

Bergström Casinowsky G., 2010, Tjänsteresor i människors vardag: Om rörlighet, närvaro och frånvaro, PhD Dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Crane R., 2007, “Is there a quiet revolution in women’s travel? Revisiting the gender gap in commuting”, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 73, No. 3, 298–316.

Cristaldi F., 2005, “Commuting and gender in Italy: A methodological issue”, The Professional Geographer, Vol. 57, No. 2, 268–284.

Dahl Å., Einarsson H., and Strömqvist U., 2003, Effekter av framtida regionförstoringar i Mälardalen, Temaplan, Stockholm.

Ellegård K. and Vilhelmson B., 2004, “Home as a pocket of local order: Everyday activities and the friction of distance”, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 86, No. 4, 223–238.

Frändberg, L . and Vilhelmson, B. 2011, “More or less travel: personal mobility trends in the Swedish population focusing gender and cohort”, Journal of Transport Geography Vol. 19, No 6, 1235–1244.

Friberg T., 1998, Förflyttningar, en sammanhållande länk i vardagens organisation, KFB Report 1998:23, Stockholm, Swedish Transport and Communication Research Board.

Friberg T., 2002, “Om konsten att foga samman: kvinnors förflyttningsprojekt i tid och rum” in Schough, K. (ed.), Svensk kulturgeografi och feminism: rötter och rörelser i en rumslig disciplin, Karlstad, Sweden, Karlstad University Studies.

Friberg T., 2006, “Kommunala utmaningar och genus: Om regionförstoring, pendling, produktion och reproduktion”, in Jonsson L. (ed.), Kommunledning och samhällsutveckling, Lund, Sweden, Studentlitteratur.

Friberg T., 2008, “Det uppsplittrade rummet: Regionförstoring i ett genusperspektiv”, in Andersson F., Ek R., and Molina I. (eds.), Regionalpolitikens geografi: Regional tillväxt i teori och praktik, Lund, Sweden, Studentlitteratur.

Fults K., 2010, A time perspective on gendered travel differences in Sweden, Licentiate thesis, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Gadd H., Lidén G., and Tiger F., 2008, Tillväxt i relation till regionalt självstyre och regional storlek, Report R2008:004, Östersund, Sweden, ITPS.

Gilbert M. R., 1998, “Race, space, and power: The survival strategies of working poor women”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 88, No. 4, 595–621.

Gil Solá A., 2009, Vägen till jobbet: Om kvinnors och mäns arbetsresor i förändring [The way to work: On women’s and men’s changing work trips], Licentiate thesis, Department of Human and Economic Geography, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden, Choros 2009:2.

Grimsrud, G. M., 2011, “Gendered Spaces on Trial: The Influence of Regional Gender Contracts on In-migration of Women to Rural Norway”, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 93, No. 1, 3-20.

Hanson S., 1998, “Off the road? Reflections on transportation geography in the information age”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 6, No. 4, 241–249.

Hanson S. and Johnston I., 1985, “Gender differences in work-trip length: Explanations and implications”, Urban Geography, Vol. 6, No. 3, 193–219.

Hanson S. and Pratt G., 1995, Gender, work and space, London, Routledge.

Hjorthol R. J., 1998, Hverdagslivets reiser: En analyse av kvinners og menns daglige reiser i Oslo. PhD Dissertation, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo, TØI rapport 391/1998.

Hjorthol R. J., 2000, “Same city-different options: An analysis of the work trips of married couples in the metropolitan area of Oslo”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 8, No. 3, 213–220.

Hjorthol R. J., 2008, “Daily mobility of men and women: A barometer of gender equality”, in Uteng T. P. and Cresswell T. (eds.), Gendered mobilities, Farnham, UK, Ashgate.

Johnston-Anumonwo I., 1988, “The journey to work and occupational segregation”, Urban Geography, Vol. 9, No. 2, 138–154.

Kawase M., 2004, “Changing gender differences in commuting in the Tokyo metropolitan suburbs”, Geoforum, Vol. 61, No. 3, 247–253.

Krantz L.-G., 1999, Rörlighetens mångfald och förändring: Befolkningens dagliga resande i Sverige 1978 och 1996. PhD Dissertation, Department of Human and Economic Geography, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.

Law R., 1999, “Beyond ‘women and transport’: Towards new geographies of gender and daily mobility”, Progress in Human Geography, Vol. 23, No. 4, 567–588.

Levinson D. M. and Kumar A., 1994, “The rational locator: Why travel times have remained stable”, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 60, No. 3, 319–332.

McLafferty S. and Preston V., 1991, “Gender, race, and commuting among service sector workers”, The Professional Geographer, Vol. 43, No. 1, 1–15.

National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, 2005, Är regionförstoring hållbar?, report from National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, Karlskrona.

Nobis C. and Lenz B., 2005, “Gender differences in travel patterns: Role of employment status and household structure”, in Research on Women’s Issues in Transportation, Report of a Conference, Volume 2: Technical Papers, Chicago 2004.

Polk M., 1998, Gendered mobility: A study of women’s and men’s relations to automobility in Sweden. PhD Dissertation, Department for Interdisciplinary Studies of the Human Condition, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.

Polk M., 2004, “The influence of gender on daily car use and on willingness to reduce car use in Sweden”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 12, No. 3, 185–195.

Sandow E., 2008, “Commuting behavior in sparsely populated areas: Evidence from northern Sweden”, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 16, No. 1, 14–27.

Sandow E., (forthc.), “Till work do us part: The social fallacy of long-distance commuting”.

Sandow E. and Westin K., 2010, “The persevering commuter: Duration of long-distance commuting”, Transportation Research A, Vol. 44, No. 6, 433–445.

Statistics Sweden, 2011a, Area range of H regions, 11/03/11, 3 p. (www.scb.se).

Statistics Sweden, 2011b, A-regioner 2006-01-01, 11/03/11, 4 p. (www.scb.se).

Statistics Sweden, 2011c, Metoden att skapa lokala arbetsmarknader, 14/03/11, 3 p. (www.scb.se).

Statistics Sweden, 2011d, Förteckning over lokala arbetsmarknader (år 2006), 17/03/11, Excel file, (www.scb.se).

Swedish Government Official Reports, 2007, Regional utveckling och regional samhällsorganisation, SOU 2007:13.

Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis, 2002, Jämställda transporter? Så reser kvinnor och män, Östersund, Sweden, Statens Institut för Kommunikationsanalys.

Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis, 2007, RES 2005–2006 Den nationella resvaneundersökningen, Kommunikationsmönster 2007:19, Östersund, Sweden, SIKA Statistik.

Turner T. and Niemeier D., 1997, “Travel to work and household responsibility: New evidence”, Transportation, Vol. 24, No. 4, 397–419.

Vandersmissen M.-H., Villeneuve P., and Thériault M., 2003, “Analyzing changes in urban form and commuting time”, The Professional Geographer, Vol. 55, No. 4, 446–463.

Vilhelmson B., 1999, “Daily mobility and the use of time for different activities: The case of Sweden”, GeoJournal, Vol. 48, No. 3, 177–185.

Haut de page

Notes

1 However, a small number of reported work trips made by air were excluded. 10 trips were discarded in the 2005-2006 dataset (of which 8 were made by men) and 3 in the 1994-1995 dataset (all made by men).

2 To include a sufficient number of observations, observations labelled 1994 comprise NTS data for 1994–1995 (n = 885), those labelled 1996 for 1996–1997 (n = 943), those labelled 2000 for 1998–2001 (n = 1.043), and those labelled 2006 for Oct. 2005–Sept. 2006 (n = 1.034).

3 To include a sufficient number of observations, observations labelled 1994 comprise NTS data for 1994–1995 (n = 606), those labelled 1996 for 1996–1997 (n = 645), those labelled 2000 for 1998–2001 (n = 636), and those labelled 2006 for Oct. 2005–Sept. 2006 (n = 559).

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The Göteborg and Malmö urban regions, classified in terms of population distribution and service supply locations into so-called A-regions according to Statistics Sweden (2011b, d)
Crédits Map data: © Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority (permission number I2011/0075)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/docannexe/image/25141/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 388k
Titre Figure 2. The distribution of commuting trip length by gender. Sweden 1995/1996 and 2005/06
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/docannexe/image/25141/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 34k
Titre Figure 3a. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Göteborg A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.2 Difference between women and men in 2006 statistically significant (p = 0.05)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/docannexe/image/25141/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 11k
Titre Figure 3b. Commuting distance and gender gap in the Malmö A-region, 1994–2006. Distance (one way trip averages) and trend.3 Difference between women and men in 2006 not statistically significant
URL http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/docannexe/image/25141/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 12k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Ana Gil Solá et Bertil Vilhelmson, « Convergence or divergence? Changing gender differences in commuting in two Swedish urban regions », Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Espace, Société, Territoire, document 591, mis en ligne le 14 février 2012, consulté le 04 août 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/25141 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/cybergeo.25141

Haut de page

Auteurs

Ana Gil Solá

Department of Human and Economic Geography at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, PhD student, Ana.GilSola@geography.gu.se

Bertil Vilhelmson

Department of Human and Economic Geography at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Professor, Bertil.Vilhelmson@geography.gu.se

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
La revue Cybergeo est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search