The potential role of mobile phone technology in rural motorcycle and three-wheeler taxi services in Africa

Over the last two decades, motorcycle and motorised three-wheeler taxis have become important means of transport in many sub-Saharan African countries, including in rural areas. However, the emerging role of mobile phone technology in improving mobility in rural areas is currently under-explored in the literature.

This paper presents the findings of a small-scale research study that was undertaken into the use of mobile phone technology in the context of motorcycle and three-wheeler taxi use, and its potential to improve rural access. Informed by a literature review, the research focuses on four countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with riders of motorcycle and motorised three wheeler taxis and the developers of mobile phone-enabled transport technologies.

Mobile technology linked to the utilisation of motorcycle and three-wheeler taxis is increasing, but ‘ride hailing’ applications (apps) are likely to be limited to urban areas for the foreseeable future due to various disincentives to their use in rural areas. The study identifies several promising innovations that combine the use of motorcycles and three-wheelers with mobile technology to increase rural people’s access to essential services and opportunities. These have the potential to be scaled up or expanded to other countries.

To read the full the article, click below.

Surveys for the ReCAP project: Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport and the implications for appropriate training and regulatory frameworks.

This tool can be used to better understand the benefits and disbenefits of motorcycles taxis and three-wheelers in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.  The tool has five parts which target different groups including motorcycle and three-wheeler riders, passengers, taxi owners and owners of freight, as well as members of the community who do not use these modes of transport. This tool was designed to gather data to inform research on two- and three-wheeler taxi use and training, to influence the development of policy and legislation. The surveys are available in English and French.

This tool was initially designed for and used during the project ‘Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport and the implications for appropriate training and regulatory frameworks’ in DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda between December 2017 and August 2019. The project was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) as part of the Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP), and was carried out by a consortium which included Transaid, Amend and TRL.

Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport. Final Country Report: Kenya

This Kenya Country Report presents the Kenya-specific findings of the project ‘Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport and the implications for appropriate training and regulatory frameworks’.

This project was carried out in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda between September 2017 and January 2019. The study has revealed that motorcycle taxis are very important for rural travel, and are very popular among rural communities. While the study has revealed that in comparison to the other three countries, Kenya appears to be leading in the management of the motorcycle taxi sector, there are many areas in which improvements are needed. The results of the study can be used by the Kenyan government and others to better understand the issues related to motorcycle taxis in rural areas and to develop policy and practice to maximise their benefits and minimise the disbenefits.

Click below to read the full report.

Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport – Final Report

Throughout 2018, a project entitled ‘Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport and the implications for appropriate training and regulatory frameworks’ has been carried out in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The project was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) as part of the Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP), and was carried out by a consortium of Transaid, Amend and TRL.

The use of motorcycles has increased greatly in Africa in recent years and they are often used as taxis; with riders charging a fare to carry passengers or goods. In rural areas, motorcycle taxis play a crucial role in connecting people to services and farms to markets, and in many countries motorcycles are the most commonly found vehicle on rural roads.

Over 1,140 people in 32 settlements across the four countries took part in a survey looking at the benefits and disbenefits of motorcycle and three-wheeler taxis in rural areas. Riders, owners, passengers and other users, as well as people who do not use such vehicles, answered questions on topics including economics and finance, access and mobility, injuries, health issues, crime and personal security, access to services and protective equipment, and overall opinions.

The findings showed that motorcycle taxis are very important to rural communities: in many situations they are either the only existing, or the only affordable, mode of transport. In the survey locations, motorcycle taxis accounted for an average of 83% of all motorised trips, being used for business activities as well as personal transport. They are particularly important for emergency transport. For riders they are an important source of income.

As well as the many benefits of motorcycle taxis, the results of the survey also shed light on a number of disbenefits. Forty-one percent of riders reported that while riding a motorcycle taxi in a rural area they had suffered an injury that resulted in them either losing money or requiring medical attention, or affecting their family life. Incidents that caused injuries tended to be single vehicle crashes or falls that occurred when the rider was alone, and were caused by rider error. The vast majority of riders had never received training and had no driving licence. Some riders and passengers were worried about their personal security.  Riders also reported health issues that they attribute to riding a motorcycle, including respiratory problems, eye infection, stiffness and numbness.

But while motorcycle taxi riders and passengers face the risk of injury, personal security threats and health problems, this does not stop people from using motorcycle taxis – either as a means of earning money, or as a mode of transport.

Motorised three-wheeler taxis were also included in the study, but they were found to be very uncommon in the surveyed areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In Ghana, motorised three-wheeler taxis were found to be used for both freight and passenger transport, although they are less common than motorcycle taxis.

The project has identified potential opportunities for improving road safety and personal safety, and for addressing health issues. These opportunities include effective training, licensing and enforcement of laws. Motorcycle taxi associations have the potential to play an important role in realising many of these opportunities.

Click below to read the full final report.

Technical Brief: Training of Rural Motorcycle and Three-Wheeler Taxi Riders in Sub-Saharan Africa

This technical brief is focused on the state of professional training available to motorcycle and three-wheeler taxi riders in sub-Saharan Africa. The foundations for this brief are laid upon the findings of the 2018 ReCAP-funded research on the use of motorcycle and three-wheeler taxis in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Major findings highlight inconsistencies in the provision of professional training, its quality, availability and affordability.

Understanding how to improve the availability and quality of professional rider training, through the provision of standardised and quality assured curricula and training manuals is essential. These findings couldn’t have come at a better time, given the rise of motorcycle and three-wheeler taxis in rural contexts across sub-Saharan Africa and their increase use by rural people to access markets, health services and livelihoods, not to mention their income generating potential for riders.

To read this brief, please click below.

Enhancing the understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport – Progress Report

This Progress Report details progress during the first seven months of the project ‘Enhancing understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport and the implications for appropriate training and regulatory frameworks’, which included an inception report and a literature review.

ReCAP is a six-year programme of applied research and knowledge dissemination funded by a grant from the UK Government through the DfID. The overall aim is to promote safe and sustainable rural access in Africa and Asia through research and knowledge sharing between participating countries and the wider community.

To read this report, please  click below.

 

Enhancing the understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport- Literature Review

The purpose of this literature review was to generate contextual information to inform the development of research strategies in the project’s four focal countries: Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.  The literature review draws on existing academic and grey literature. It maps the growth in use of motorcycles and motorised three-wheelers in sub-Saharan Africa and examines the benefits and disbenefits of their use as a means of public transport, with a particular emphasis on their use in rural areas. It describes the implications of the existing lack of regulatory frameworks covering motorcycles and three-wheelers, as well as gender, mobility and road safety issues.

ReCAP is a six-year programme of applied research and knowledge dissemination funded by a grant from the UK Government through the DfID. The overall aim is to promote safe and sustainable rural access in Africa and Asia through research and knowledge sharing between participating countries and the wider community.

To read the literature review, please click below.

 

An introductory webinar on the topic of Motorcycle Taxis in the Rural Context in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

This free, introductory webinar on the topic of Motorcycle Taxis in the rural context of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia was held on Thursday 6th of April 2017. This was a Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) event, made possible with funding from the Department for International Development and facilitated by Transaid.

 

ReCAP is a six-year programme of applied research and knowledge dissemination funded by a grant from the UK Government through the DfID. The overall aim is to promote safe and sustainable rural access in Africa and Asia through research and knowledge sharing between participating countries and the wider community. Transaid would like to thank ReCAP; as without their support, this webinar would not have been possible.

 

The webinar brought together African and Asian transport research practitioners, from within research institutes and universities, regulators and practitioners. Our panel of experts included Mr. Leo Ngowi from the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority in Tanzania (SUMATRA), Dr. Elizabeth Ekirapa Kiracho from Makerere University in Uganda and Mr. Felix Wilhelm Siebert from the Technical University of Berlin. The discussion was moderated by Caroline Barber, Head of Programmes at Transaid who invited participants to ask questions as well as to contribute ideas for further research into this topic.

 

Please click here to listen to the recording of the webinar. To view the webinar presentations (available in English and French) and other related materials please click on the resources below.

2015 – “Developing an East African Community Standardised Driver Training Curriculum and Instructor’s Manual for Drivers of Large Commercial Vehicles”

This technical case study outlines the background, methodology and conclusions of a six month programme that developed a standardised driver training curriculum and instructor’s manual for drivers of large commercial vehicles. The curriculum and instructor’s manual were developed for the East African Community and funded by TradeMark East Africa.

2015- “Evaluation des obstacles à l’accès aux soins de santé maternelle et conception d’un système de transport adapté au contexte des femmes enceintes.”

Evaluation des obstacles à l’accès aux soins de santé maternelle et conception d’un système de transport adapté au contexte des femmes enceintes.

Cette étude de cas technique présente le contexte, la méthodologie et les conclusions d’une assistance technique apportée à un projet au Kenya sur une période d’un mois. Les objectifs du projet étaient de renforcer les systèmes de santé de base et d’augmenter le taux de survie des mères et des nouveau-nés en permettant à des femmes enceintes de milieux défavorisés d’accéder à des services de santé abordables et de qualité.