Exploring Children's Travel to School in Upgraded Informal Settlements: A Qualitative Case Study of Ezbet El-Haggana

The majority of residential settlements in Greater Cairo are informal, yet little is known about travel behavior within its informal settlements. The present paper explores aspects of travel behavior in one of Egypt's largest and most dense informal settlements, Ezbet El-Haggana, through a qualitative study of children's travel to school. The key research question was: How do children interact with transport options to access schools in a dense informal settlement in Egypt? Ten Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) for this research were conducted, 4 with mothers, 5 with children, and 1 with transport service providers. Design of FGDs leveraged existing behavioral theories commonly used in exploring travel behavior and also included photo-elicitation. Qualitative data was also complimented with field observations and interviews with community leaders and government officials. Findings highlighted the high degree of children's independent mobility (CIM) and the diversity of modes of transport used and multitude of trip-to-school arrangements facilitated by community collaboration and entrepreneurial initiatives standing in contrast to current mainstream knowledge about trips to school in formal urban areas. Another distinct feature is prevalence of strong socio-cultural factors strongly inhibiting the consideration of cycling as a mode of transport, more so for older females, but also for all other segments. Implications for accompanying culturally-sensitive gender-specific soft measures that are needed together with the planned hard interventions are discussed in order to (a) maintain existing elements of sustainable travel behavior observed today (mode choices and efficient trip planning) sustaining their relatively low carbon footprint, and (b) mainstream underutilized modes such as cycling and Walking School Buses (WSB), and (c) inhibit adoption of unsustainable travel behavior in the future as found in the formal counterpart of the city that informal settlements are converging with.


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  • Accession Number: 01605864
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2016 8:29AM