Gender differences in commute time and accessibility in Sofia, Bulgaria: a study using 3D geovisualisation


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Much research on human mobility patterns and accessibility to date has been conducted largely in Western European and North American countries, where the private vehicle is the main means for commuting. As a result, most studies focused largely on car-based mobility (automobility) and accessibility, and relatively little is known about countries in other regions of the world. Based on an activity-travel dataset collected in Sofia, Bulgaria and using 3D geovisualisation, this study attempts to fill this gap through examining gender differences in commute time and potential access to urban opportunities. The results reveal important gender differences in commute time and individual accessibility. Among the surveyed participants, women tend to spend more time on their commute trips and have more restrictive spatial reach to urban opportunities compared with men, largely as a result of their reliance on public transit as their primary mode of transport. Further, women have lower accessibility compared with men who used the same travel mode. This case study adds important new knowledge about a geographical area that has been under-studied by Anglophone geographers. It also shows that GIS-based geovisualisation and analysis are powerful tools for uncovering gender differences in the geographical distribution of commute time, which conventional quantitative methods cannot reveal.