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Queering public transport: Understanding access for Aotearoa queer communities

Queer people face inequitable access to public transport. International literature suggests that queer people are more likely to be transit dependent, but at the same time more likely to experience discrimination, harassment or violence while using it. However, little is known about what makes public transport attractive or accessible to this group. This thesis seeks to address this through a survey of 347 public transport users (half of whom are queer) to understand this issue in an Aotearoa context. The results show the main factors influencing the attractiveness and accessibility of public transport to queer people are not feeling safe, lack of transport choice, long journey times, and affordability. Straight people are also influenced by these factors, however at lower rates. Interventions that could improve public transport attractiveness and accessibility for queer people were also identified. Safety improvements such as more frequent services, safety interventions along walking routes to public transport, and staff training are key to improving queer public transport access. Improving travel times to reduce queer exposure to discrimination and harassment is also important. Engagement with queer people is key to ensuring interventions are appropriate for local contexts. The survey also showed that police presence is unlikely to improve queer feelings of safety. This research was the first study of queer people’s access to public transport in Aotearoa and offers important practical insights as to how planners can support a just transition to a low emissions transport future.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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