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Understanding Travel Needs of the Poor: Towards Improved Travel Analysis Practices in South Africa

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The ability of conventional South African travel analysis practices to analyse adequately the travel needs of the poor is examined. The origins and nature of conventional practices are described, and it is observed that typically their scope has been limited to motorized modes, commutes and peaks. The paper reports on the findings of an activity diary survey administered in Cape Town that extended the conventional scope of analysis. An activity-based survey method was selected because it typically yields higher rates of trip recall than other methods and is therefore relatively well suited to investigating travel behaviour in its fuller complexity. Selected findings of the survey are presented to demonstrate that travel occurring by non-motorized modes, for non-work purposes and during off-peak periods, is considerable. It is argued that the conventional limitation in analytical scope can create serious misconceptions of the true nature of travel behaviour, particularly of low-income households. By restricting the focus of analysis to motorized, work and peak period trip-making, there is a risk of a routine bias being introduced in the way the urban passenger transport problem is understood, and in the nature of the interventions that are implemented as a result.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment University of Cape Town Rondebosch South Africa

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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