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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Sexual Orientation Linked To Choice Of Transport To Work According To Research @University Of Exeter

Men and women in same-sex couples are more likely to commute by public transport and less likely to drive to work than those in different-sex couples, according to a new survey from the University Of Exeter Business School.

Data from the American Community Survey, which spoke to 3 million working age households allowed the team to look at how sexual orientation impacts on choices of transport to work. They found a gap that was particular stark among men, with gay and bisexual men in same-sex couples 7% more likely to commute by public transport and 13% less likely to drive to work. For women this figure for commuting difference is less at only 3%.
It also highlighted that men in same-sex relationships were 45% more likely to work from home and an average 69% more likely to commute by what was seen as less popular transport such as walking and cycling.

Evidence was also taken from General Social Survey 2008-18 suggesting that this gap could be due to valuing the environment more than different-sex couples, showing that same-sex couples tended to choose greener forms of transport.

Sonia Oreffice, a Professor of Economics at the University of Exeter Business School, said that the different commuting choices made by individuals in same-sex households have direct health and environmental implications.
“Our study reveals that working men and women in same-sex couples make healthier and more environmentally conscious transportation to work choices than comparable men and women in different-sex couples,” Professor Oreffice said. “This could help policy makers and health practitioners to address transportation to work in a more diverse and less traditional family-oriented manner.”
Co-author Dario Sansone, an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Exeter Business School, added that gender norms played a part in the findings. Dr Sansone noted: “Gender norms affecting many of the household and work choices of different-sex couples may also play a role in the choices regarding mode of transportation to work, which in turn impacts on people’s health, the environment and work opportunities of men and women.
“Estimating the work transportation differences among same-sex and different-sex couples may help to better understand the transportation decisions of men and women overall, and the factors that influence them."
The report has been published in full on PLOS One called Transportation To Work By Sexual Orientation and can be found here:
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