The National Household Travel Survey in South Africa (NHTS)

Media Release

12 March 2014

The National Household Travel Survey in South Africa (NHTS)

The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that barriers to mobility in the country have been reduced in the last ten years, yet several challenges remain. Rural households had better access to public transport and had reduced travel times.  There has been a general increase in the percentage of households who used taxis (from 59% to 68,8%), buses (16,6% to 20,1%) and trains (5,7% to 9,9%). This reflects a general increase of the percentage of travelers in the country during 2003 and 2013.

The NHTS was conducted between January and March 2013 as a joint effort by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) and the Department of Transport (DoT) where a total of 51 341 households and/or dwelling units were sampled. The findings are representative of the population of South Africa and can be analysed and reported on at provincial, municipal and Transport Analysis Zone (TAZ) levels.

According to the survey, more than half of the travellers in the country reside in four provinces: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Approximately 85% of individuals in urban and metropolitan areas travelled during the 7-dayreference period, whilst only 75,7% of individuals living in rural areas were likely to travel. Since 2003, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of travellers across all geographic types. In 2003, three-quarters (75,9%) of South Africans travelled during the seven days prior to the survey. This increased to 81,5% in 2013. Of the 42,6 million people who took trips across all provinces, a quarter lived in Gauteng, 18% in KwaZulu-Natal, and12% in Eastern Cape.

The survey also indicates that urban and metropolitan households tended to wait longer for transport than had been the case in 2003, and their journeys to work and school took more time. Most learners, who attended pre-school, school, ABET and literacy classes walked all the way to reach educational institutions. Those attending higher educational institutions tended to use taxis more than any other mode of travel.

As far as workers were concerned, nearly four million of the 15,3 million workers drove all the way to work using private transport, whilst 3,7 million used taxis. A further 3 million walked all the way, and approximately 1 million made use of buses as their main mode of transport.

Nationally, Gauteng had the highest percentage (39,3%) of persons 18 years and older with a driver’s licence, followed by Western Cape (35,9%) and KwaZulu-Natal (21%). Close to 6,1 million persons aged 18 years and older had a licence for light motor vehicles, while 3 million persons had a licence for a heavy-duty motor vehicle, and 403 000 persons had a motorcycle licence. The absolute number of licences increased from 6,5 million in 2003 to 9,2 million in 2013.

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