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General Overview

EICS Framework


Region of Reference

  • AfricaAfrica
  • AsiaAsia
  • AustraliaAustralia
  • EuropeEurope
  • North-AmericaNorth-America
  • South-AmericaSouth-America
  • WorldWorld


This intervention pertains to the provision of female-only rail carriages on regular services, sections of vehicles (bus services) and special women-only services (such as taxis and rickshaws), sometimes called ‘pink’ services. The concept of separating men and women is not new. 'Ladies Only' compartments were first introduced in 1874 in the UK by the Metropolitan Railway. The uptake for these compartments was quite low and the practice soon became to reserve a compartment on request, rather than all the time.

The women-only compartments were officially abolished on British Rail trains in 1977. However, there are a large number of females only public transport services globally. However, no law legally forces men not to ride in “women-only cars” or punishes men for riding in them. There are a growing number of female taxi drivers providing women-only services and a recent report indicated that more females would use the services if they were able to choose a female driver.

Types of Impact

Area Impacted

  • To/from the stop/station/rank
  • Waiting for train/bus/paratransit
  • In the vehicle
  • At interchanges
This intervention is only effective on board the vehicle.

Time of Day of Impact

  • Day-time travel
  • Night-time travel
  • Peak-time travel
  • Off peak-time travel
Impacts are generated whenever transport services are provided.

Mode Impacted

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Rideshare
  • 4 wheelers informal
  • 3 wheelers informal
  • 2 wheelers informal
  • Cycling
  • Walking
All motorized modes of transport are impacted by this intervention.

Demographic impacted

  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Adult Women
  • Men
  • Elderly Women
This intervention only impacts female passengers, regardless of age.

SWOT Analysis

  • May be more appropriate in some countries and cultures than others

  • Is often seen as a solution by politicians and the general public without a good understanding of the operational consequences

  • Supports segregations rather than behaviour change

  • Does not address the core issue

  • Perpetuates male dominance

  • May alllow women access to education and employment as they would otherwise not be able to do.

  • May be more suitable for some modes rather then others (e.g metro and rail services)

  • Can be useful for more personal travel such as taxis and on-demand/ hail services

  • Must be part of a wider programme for success

  • Should only be considered a temporary solution under certain circumstances.

  • May reduce women's overall mobility and agency if they can only use the lower frequency women- only services


Although there is sufficient literature on the topic, results in various locations and applications differ, hence the moderate level of confidence. Generally, females and governing bodies perceive it to be an effective measure.

  • Perception by (female) passengers
  • Perception by governing bodies
  • Level of confidence in these ratings


Implementation timeframe

  • 0-1 year
  • 1-3 years
  • >3 years

Timeframe to realise benefits

  • 0-1 year
  • 1-3 years
  • >3 years

Scale of Implementation

Station or

Ease of Implementation

There are several operational aspects to consider and it is not straightforward to implement. It is also crucial that women’s overall mobility and agency to move in public space is not further constrained or restricted with the introduction of segregated carriages or services.

List of References



1. Horii, M., & Burgess, A. (2012). Constructing sexual risk: 'Chikan’, collapsing male authority and the emergence of women-only train carriages in Japan. Health, Risk & Society, 14(1), 41-55.

2. Jafarova, T., Campbell, S., & Rojas, W. S. (2014). AZE: Rapid assessment on sexual harassment in the Baku metro rail - final report. Philippines: Asian Development Bank.

3. Joyce, C. (2005, May 15). Persistent gropers force Japan to introduce womenonly carriages. The Telegraph [online].

4. International Human Rights Watch . 2017 . Pap- ua New Guinea https://www .hrw .org/ world-report/2017/country-chapters/ papua-new-guinea

5. Christy A . 2019 “Papua New Guinea – “Meri Seif” Women & Girls Safe Bus Transport Sys- tem” . Published in Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN) 2019 https://wunrn . com/2019/12/118532/

South America

South America

4. Dunckel-Graglia, A. (2013). Women-only transportation: How “pink” public transportation changes public perception of women’s mobility. Journal of Public Transportation, 16(2), 85-105.

5. Dunckel-Graglia A. (2013) ‘Pink transportation’ in Mexico City: reclaiming urban space through collective action against gender-based violence, Gender & Development, 21:2, 265-276, DOI: 10.1080/13552074.2013.802131



6. Okabe, C., 2004. Study of the ‘Carriage for Women Only’. Kurume Shin-ai Women’s College Bulletin, 27, 57–66.

7. Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (2009). ‘What is blocking her path? Women, mobility, and security’. In S. Herbel & D. Gaines (Eds.) Women’s Issues in Transportation: Summary of the 4th International Conference (pp 103-121). Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board.

8. Mungai, M. W., & Samper, D. A. (2006). 'No mercy, no remorse': Personal experience narratives about public passenger transportation in Nairobi, Kenya. Africa Today, 52, 51-82.

9. Women only transport - a solution to what end?

10. Driving towards equality – women ride hailing and the shared economy IFC 2017.