The Pink Tax on Mobility: Opportunities for Innovation

Sarah Kaufman, Alexander Shermansong, and Nicholas Cowan

The Pink Tax is a form of gender-based price discrimination concerning the upcharge women pay for specific products or services. Although the term is most frequently referenced in regard to cosmetic and personal care products, it is also prevalent in transportation services. Women are three times as likely to be concerned for their safety on shared modes of transit, and as a result, choose longer, more costly, or less efficient transportation options. The physical and psychological impact of gender-based trauma can result in lifelong preferences for cars or taxis instead of transit or bikes. Moreover, 61% of caregivers are women; escorting children or the elderly further reduces travel options and adds costs.

This white paper is based on the conviction that innovations to increase personal safety and improve accessibility for caregivers will provide greater access to education and jobs, deliver health benefits from more active transportation, and support women’s confidence and well-being in trip planning—while greatly reducing carbon emissions.

This white paper—and the workshops described herein— is an initial step in building more equitable systems. It is intended to frame the issue for various stakeholders, lay the foundation for systemic change, and gather momentum by identifying high-impact near-term interventions.

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Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management