Long-Distance Travel by Women

Long-Distance Travel by Women

People in the United States took 2.6 billion long-distance trips1 covering 1.4 trillion miles in 2001. Females made 43 percent of these trips (1.1 billion) while males made 57 percent of them (1.5 billion). Adult females (18 and over) take about two-thirds of the long-distance trips that adult males take (8 trips, on average per year, compared with 13 trips). However, the median distance per trip for women tends to be slightly longer than for men (216 and 201 miles, respectively) [1].

The largest differences in the number of long-distance trips taken by females and males occur in the working age group-typically defined as ages 25 to 64 (figure 4-15). Among those aged 35 to 44, for instance, men take 61 percent of all long-distance trips compared with 39 percent for women. This gap persists until people are 75 years and older; then women and men take approximately the same number of trips.

Trip purpose also varies between females and males (figure 4-16). Both make a similar number of trips for pleasure and personal business, but almost 8 out of 10 long-distance business and more than 8 out of 10 long-distance commuting trips are made by males [1]. While business travel accounts for 16 percent of all long-distance trips, it constitutes 21 percent of males' long-distance trips compared with 9 percent for females. Similarly, commuting accounts for 13 percent of all long-distance trips but 18 percent of males' and only 5 percent of females' long-distance trips.

Modal choice between males and females does not differ much-both use personal vehicles as their primary mode of transport, accounting for 90 percent of all long-distance trips. However, females make a slightly higher proportion of their long-distance trips by bus (2.7 percent) as compared to males (1.7 percent) (figure 4-17).


1. Jonaki Bose, Lee Giesbrecht, Joy Sharp, Jeffery Memmott, Maha Khan, and Elizabeth Roberto, "A Picture of Long-Distance Travel Behavior of Americans Through Analysis of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey," paper presented at the National Household Travel Survey Conference: Understanding Our Nation's Travel, Nov. 1-2, 2004, available at http://www.trb.org/, as of March 2005.

1 Long-distance trips are defined as trips, originating from home, of 50 miles or more to the farthest destination and include the return component as well as any overnight stops and stops to change transportation mode.