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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Gina Porter

Porter, G. (2002). Improving mobility and access for the off-road rural poor through Intermediate Means of Transport. World Transport Policy and Practice 8(4): 6-19.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper is concerned with the potential of
Intermediate Means of Transport (IMTs) for improving
mobility and alleviating access problems in off-road
areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. Off-road rural
populations appear to be disadvantaged and
vulnerable in many respects. They characteristically
appear markedly poorer in income terms, in health
and in life chances than those in comparable roadside
locations in the same region, though, obviously, not all
off-road people are disadvantaged to the same degree
by their location: women and children in Sub-Saharan
Africa suffer much of the burden of off-road transport,
for instance.
In the first section I briefly review the range of
difficulties commonly faced by men, women and
children resident in off-road locations as a result of
restricted mobility and poor access. The second section
of the paper focuses on the potential of Intermediate
Means of Transport for alleviating access/mobility
problems in off-road areas. Constraints on IMT use
among different sectors of the off-road rural poor are
examined through presentation of a case study from
coastal Ghana, while recent evidence from the Jos
Plateau, Nigeria, is used to illustrate the enormous
potential of IMTs, in favourable circumstances, for
improving access and reducing isolation.