New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC), a think-tank of the Delhi government, will collaborate with a research team from Harvard University and the World Bank to study the ‘Free Bus Travel for Women’ policy’s impact on the safety and mobility of women.
“It is a unique opportunity for the Delhi government and DDC to study the short and long-term impact of the Free Bus Travel For Women scheme. This is a first of its kind policy experiment in the world and what we learn in Delhi could have implications for other Indian cities as well as globally,” said Jasmine Shah, the Vice-Chairman of the DDC.
“It is a matter of privilege that some of world’s topmost researchers have shown interest in studying this scheme of Delhi government and we will provide any support needed for the conduct of the study,” Shah said.
The research team consisting of Girija Borker (Economist, World Bank), Gabriel Kreindler (Prize Fellow, Harvard University) and Dev Patel (Harvard University) will begin the study after October 29 when the scheme is scheduled to be launched.
Speaking on behalf of the team, Kreindler said the research team is enthusiastic about conducting a rigorous study of the impact of the policy to make bus travel free for women in Delhi.
“This is a unique and large-scale policy and hence a valuable opportunity to better understand factors that improve mobility and safety for women. We are grateful for the support for our study from the Delhi government and the DDC, and we aim to produce valuable policy lessons applicable in Delhi as well as in other cities that seek to improve women’s mobility and safety while travelling.”
The research design will use primary data collected from a sample of approximately 800 women living across Delhi. The data will be collected through an initial household baseline survey as well as repeated telephone surveys before and after the launch of the policy, the DDC said.
“The data will include a travel diary as well as questions on observed and experienced incidents related to women safety in public transport. In addition, the research team will collect data on bus ridership separately on the basis of gender through direct observation in selected bus stops throughout Delhi, both before and after the policy,” it said.
The study method will analyze the mobility patterns and perceived safety before and after the launch of the policy, using several comparison groups of individuals less likely to be impacted by the policy. These groups will include women and also men who travel regularly but do not use buses. The research will also study the overall effect of the policy through the change in the ridership pattern of women in buses.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that Delhi’s Free Bus Travel for Women scheme will be implemented from October 29 and will play a big role in ensuring the safety and greater access to education and job opportunities for women.