Barcelona Meetup review

Interview with Oliva García

Oliva Garcia
11 June 2021

Read here an interview with with Oliva García, Chief Research & Development Officer at Nommon Technologies

What is your institution's link to mobility in general, and to urban mobility in particular?

The main goal of Nommon is the provision of decision support tools and one of the areas of application is the mobility and transport sector. These solutions are based on the analysis of data and the development of different models. At Nommon we generate activity and mobility indicators from the analysis and fusion of different geolocated data, mainly mobile phone records, with other more conventional data sources. We mainly work with the extraction and reconstruction of mobility patterns from geolocated data. Beyond the descriptive analysis of the mobility, Nommon also develops simulation and data-based models which allow the evaluation of different mobility scenarios. We have cooperated in developing different projects for either public or private organizations dealing with urban mobility planning and urban mobility operation and management.

What do you think about such an initiative as Women in Urban Mobility (project supported by EIT Urban Mobility)?

I think initiatives such as WUM are relevant, first of all, to put on the table the relevance of mobility differences between genders for urban planning. I think, as I was mentioning in my talk, we have done a lot of research. But it is time to raise awareness and elevate the problem from the academy to the planning sphere. Gender mobility differences are already known, but we are not working on applying this knowledge on improving the mobility conditions of the 50% of the population, women.

Do you think there is a gender gap in the field of urban mobility today, whether at the user level, in academia, in the public sector or in business? Please briefly explain your answer.

Yes, I think there is a gap. I do not think there is a gap in Academia. In fact, there is a huge amount of literature dealing with gender differences in mobility patterns. I think the biggest gap is now in urban mobility planning. It is time to design and put in place initiatives really taking into account the specific needs of women.

What progress in recent years towards gender equality in this field would you highlight?

I would highlight some of the initiatives mentioned in the workshop today. The ones that Barcelona is taking, like services to increase the perception of security like stops on demand for public transport. However, I think there is still much to be done and we have to keep working on this and go beyond.

What are the biggest challenges to closing this gap?

One of the biggest challenges I think is related to accessibility to public transport. We have seen today in the workshop and it can also be found in literature, the differences in the mobility patterns are largely related with care mobility. The movements of people in charge of caring for others or of the household are specific and complex. When caring for someone the accessibility to transport infrastructures becomes more complicated. Think for example of a woman taking care of a child or a person with special needs or carrying a trolley that has to climb staircases or has to make a series of connections to get from origin to destination, it will take longer than when doing it on its own. We really need to consider accessibilities and reduce the number of connections.

Are you or your institution involved in initiatives or projects that address or promote gender-responsive mobility?

Yes, in Nommon we have the advantage of working with geolocated data coming from mobile phone records. This gives us a huge amount of data, a very wide distributed sample which allows us to perform mobility and activity studies taking into account the gender perspective. We put the emphasis on understanding and studying mobility patterns at a high degree of disaggregation, understanding differences in gender and age, socio-economic status, etc. We look very carefully at differences and try to understand the causes for these differences.