Queering Public Transport

Understanding access for Aotearoa queer communities

SESSION: Friday 22nd March, 3:20pm - 3:50pm
Kiri Crossland

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 research used 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. It also has implications on how we plan for other public spaces to be inclusive of queer communities.

Presented By

Kiri Crossland

Intermediate Planner, Hamilton City Council

Kiri wants to see equitable cities where transport and land use work in tandem, supporting all people to live good lives. She has recently joined the Urban and Spatial Planning Unit at Hamilton City Council. She has strong research experience which covers inclusive access, public transport, and land use planning. Kiri's strengths lie in translating planning theory into real-world impacts in an accessible way. As a queer person, Kiri is interested in how her work impacts her community.