Motorcycle-taxis in sub-Saharan Africa: Current knowledge, implications for the debate on “informal” transport and research needs

In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) population growth, urbanisation, and social change have resulted in rising and diversifying mobility needs of urban and rural populations alike. Moreover, this has stimulated the emergence of new modes of transport, for example the motorcycle-taxi (“moto-taxi”). While moto-taxis have been used for decades in some areas, they have seen massive growth in the past couple of years and they have expanded to other rural and urban areas in SSA. This has come with a number of benefits as regards securing public mobility and socio-economic effects. On the other hand, the growth of these often “informally” provided services has resulted in negative externalities, especially road safety issues. And this has fuelled public discussions on how to control and regulate these services. Within academia their growing importance has resulted in a significant number of empirical studies – including a large share of final theses/assignments – in the past five to ten years. These studies deliver valuable insights into different aspects of this transport mode. However, only few comprehensive overviews of moto-taxis and their service characteristics exist. This article aims to present a comprehensive summary of the role played by moto-taxi services in providing public transport options in SSA. Based on an extensive literature review it categorises and summarises insights into this transport mode that are covered by the reviewed studies. The topics include underlying factors of motorcycle-taxi growth, supply side and demand side aspects, service organisation, regulation, as well as safety, health and environmental impacts. As far as available insights allow, regional, as well as urban and rural service patterns are traced. On that basis, the article discusses implications for the debate on informal transport and identifies knowledge gaps that should be addressed by future research.


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  • Accession Number: 01673119
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2018 11:08AM