Rural Transport Indicators

Background

Rural roads are vital for poverty reduction and economic development. However, in Africa, where most people do not own motorised means of transport, roads alone cannot meet the rural access needs of communities. People require transport services and/or means of transport for their livelihoods and to access markets, health services, education and numerous economic, social and civic opportunities.

People living in rural areas need transport between their homes and the various facilities and opportunities available in their local trading posts, market towns and district (or provincial) administrative centres. The road transport services that provide such access are crucial for poverty reduction, economic development and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. In a few countries, buses provide such services. More commonly smaller public transport vehicles cater for such demand, including midi-buses, minibuses, pickups, light trucks and/or cars. These are sometimes known as ‘taxis’ or ‘taxi-brousse’. In East Africa they are often called ‘matatus’. Public transport vehicles with similar rural transport functions operate with a wide variety of local names including chiva and willies (Colombia), poda-poda (Sierra Leone), jeepney (Philippines), guagua (Cuba), anggunas and microlets (Timor Leste) and carriers (Fiji). These may be complemented by motorcycle taxis, bicycle taxis and animal powered transport.

Further information about rural transport services in Africa is available in the on-line resources, including the publication: Rural Transport Services in Africa (Starkey, 2007).

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