Physical walls, invisible barriers: Palestinian women's mobility in Jerusalem

Tamara Kerzhner*, Sigal Kaplan, Emily Silverman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper studies the impact of multi-layered transport exclusion on the mobility and accessibility of Palestinian women in Jerusalem. Ethnic segregation, hostile social climate, poor infrastructure and low levels of public transportation create multifaceted barriers to daily travel throughout the city. This research sheds light on the individual needs and decisions of women in making their travel choices in an exclusionary urban environment. This research is based on eight in-depth interviews and 38 participants in focus-group of Palestinian women living in East Jerusalem. It examines their public transport and private car use, in light of physical and psychological barriers. Interviews find that cultural and social pressures and the sense of exclusion and fear pose significant limitations to public transport use and destination choice, alongside poor infrastructure, low service levels and discriminatory planning policies. Many women internalize expectations of violence and exclusionary linguistic and visual cues, which serve as fear-based barriers for public transport use. Women's responses fall into a number of categories: avoiding West Jerusalem and minimizing travel; adopting private cars as safer and more practical or, at times, accepting and barrelling through fears. Policy implications include both immediate changes to symbology and behaviour of transport personnel, and long term implications about consciously-inclusive route and infrastructure planning.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)299-314
Number of pages16
JournalRegional Science Policy and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s). Regional Science Policy and Practice © 2018 RSAI


  • Jerusalem
  • fear-based exclusion
  • gender and mobility
  • public transport
  • segregation


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