Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning: The case of developing countries

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  • Planners, researchers and policy mak- ers should pay greater attention to non- routine intraurban trips rather than tra- ditional journey to work trips when organizing urban transport planning and investment in the developing areas. This is because the character of ex- isting urban employment and land-use patterns suggest a different trip be- haviour. In order to assist this transi- tion, alternatives for studying internal trip behaviour in Third World cities are also discussed.

    The author is with the Alternative Trans- port Program, Bureau of Transportation Engineering, Portland, OR, USA.

    D.N.M. Starkie, Traffic and Industry, Lon- don School of Economic and Political Sci- ence Geographical Papers No 3, London, 1967. Y. Zahavi, Travel Characteristics in Cities of Developing and Developed Countries, World Bank Working Paper 230, The World Bank, Washington, DC, 1976.

    Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning

    The case of developing countries

    Krys Ochia

    The argument in this paper is that, given the occupational structure of a significant proportion of urban residents and the characteristics of land-use systems in developing areas, researchers, planners and policy makers should pay greater attention to non-routine (business) trips in the course of the urban transport planning process in order to achieve a balanced and effective system. The travel data obtained by surveying non-routine travellers could be complemented by the standard journey to work trip data commonly applied as the basis for organizing urban transport planning. The reason is that given existing weak or non- existent land-use laws, the characteristic ubiquitous small-scale entre- preneur in the urban informal sector will value (non-routine) business trips more than work trips - in contrast to workers in Western cities.* Non-routine travel includes all trips completed by formal and informal sector employees from places of employment. These trips are non- routine because they occur irregularly as opposed to routine journey to work or school trips. Surveying and recording these trips will provide a relevant data base for transport planners in these areas.

    Typically, the worst traffic volume, often occurring during the evening peak period, is used to model highway and road trip capacity since intermediate traffic volumes would be moved efficiently during off peak hours. This is true for urbanized Western cities where the economic and occupational structure forces workers to make routine journey to work trips. In developing countries, however, a significant number of urban residents may not need to engage in routine journeys to work. The expectation is that business trips will be more numerous than journey to work trips and quite often they are spontaneous (as they are often combined with other cultural and social obligations), which suggests why planners should recognize and integrate such business trips into the planning process.

    A few years ago the United Nations and the International Labour

    230 0264-2751/90/030230-06 0 1990 Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd

  • Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning: the case of developing counrries

    Organization sponsored a major study- to evaluate the economic importance of the informal sector in the urban economy. It was determined that The share of urban labour force in the Third World cities engaged in the informal sector ranges anywhere from 20 to 70 per cent, the average being close to half or more. However, since many job seekers work irregularly in this sector for varying amounts of time and since accurate counts may be hard to come by, other researchers indicate that the work force in this sector generally outstrips that in the secondary and primary sectors by about 3 to 1. For example, comment- ing on economic activity and employment in Kingston, Jamaica, Albu- querque, van Riel and Taylor6 emphasize that Much of the employ- ment in Kingston, as in most developing cities, is provided by the (informal) service sector of employment. Despite these characteristics, researchers and planners, borrowing heavily from Western methodolo- gies and criteria, are not known to pay reasonable attention to the travel needs of those who have different but unexplored travel characteristics. Researchers appear to be intent upon reproducing (home based, journey to work) travel behaviour studies which would compare favour- ably with those completed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa or Berkshire, UK, without considering the stark dissimilarities in the social, cultural and occupational structure of participants, especially employees in the non-wage urban economies of Third World cities.

    3 S.V. Sethuraman, ed, The Urban Infor- ma/ Sector in Developing Countries, ILO, Geneva, 1981. 4 Ibid, p 8 5 A. OConnor, The African City, Africana Publishing Co., New York, 1983; H.A. Reitsma and J.M.G. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective, Rowman and Allanheld, The Netherlands, 1985. 6 K. de Albuquerque, W. van Riel and J. M. Taylor, Uncontrolled urbanization in the developing areas: a Jamaican case study, The Journal of Developing Areas, Vol 14, April 1980, pp 361-386. See, for example, T. Nakkash and N. Jouzy, Beirut travel characteristics - a comparative study, Transportation, Vol 2, 1973, pp 41 l-430. a M. Nkambwe, Urban transportation, in T. Falola and S.A. Olarenwaju, Transporl Systems in Nigeria, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1986, Chapter 9. _ K.H. Wekwete. Development of urban planning in Zimdabwe, Cities, Vol 15, No 1, 1988, pp 57-71. lo T.G. McGee, The Southeast Asian Cify, Praeger, New York, 1967, p 127.

    Generalized relationships between economic activity and land-use structure

    In the developing areas it is appropriate to ponder the question of whether the nature of urban economic activity eventually determines land-use structure or vice versa. In the West strictly enforced (in most cases) land-use regulations and zoning laws tend to determine and control the type of economic activity conducted at a given location. A comprehensive plan usually provides a guide for urban development. For example, a certificate of occupancy for a building is typically issued when the government agency is satisfied that the developer has met applicable land-use laws and regulations. As a result compatible uses are contiguous and each parcel of land is devoted to the highest and best use. In developing countries, however, the decision about how to use privately developed land is, in most cases, primarily lodged with the individual as the property owner(s), who bases his decision on the potential economic return without necessarily considering the potential environmental or economic impact on adjacent properties. In the end economic activity primarily controls and shapes the ultimate land-use structure. For example, a property owner will rent space to individuals on the basis of their ability to pay rather than considering whether their activities are compatible or whether their use will violate any existing laws. What emerges is the now familiar residential-cum-commercial characterization of urban land-use in these areas.s In fact, where urban master plans exist, as in several cities in Zimbabwe, they are not integrated with local and social issues for effective administration.

    Writing on the economic pattern of the South-east Asian city, McGee notes that apart from the familiar and relatively constant land-use reserved for ports and port complexes and other areas desig- nated for market gardening, often in the periphery of town, the remainder of the [South-east Asian city] is characterized by a

    CITIES August 1990 231

  • Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning: the case of de~~eloping countries

    A.G. Onokerhoraye, The planning im- plications of the present structure of urban economics in traditional Nigerian cities, Planning Outlook, Vol 18, 1976, pp 19-34. *L. Lowenstein, The location of urban land uses, Land Economics, Vol39,1963, pp 407420. l3 P.J. Smith, Calgary: a study in urban pattern, Economic Geography, Vol 38, 1962, pp 315-329. l4 A.G. Onokerhoraye, Urban land use in Nigeria, Town Planning Review, Vol 48, 1977, pp 59-72. l5 M. Tewfik, Urban land in Jordan, Cities, Vol 6, No 2, 1989, pp 119-135. l6 R.A. Olu Sule, Urban Planning and Housing in Nigeria, Vantage Press, New York, 1982. Op tit, Ref 5, OConnor. P W Daniels and A.M. Warnes, Move- ment ii Cities, Methuen. New York. 1980. p 26. M Peil Cities and Suburbs., Urban Life I in West Africa, Africana Publishina Co, New York, 1981, p 133. R Et Mitchell and C. Raokin. Urban Traf- fit: A Function of Land Us.& Columbia University Press, New York, 1954, p 8. See, for example. G. Beier. A. Churchill. A. Cohen and B.Renaud, The task ahead of cities in the developing countries, World Development, Vol4,1971, pp 36%409; op tit, Ref 16; The World Bank, Urban Trans- port Sector Policy Paper, Washington, DC, 1975; A. Onibokun, Forces shaping the physical environment of cities in the de- veloping countries: the lbadan case, Land Economics, Vol 69, 1973, pp 424431.

    tremendous mixing of economic activity and land use. In West Africa the ubiquitous small-scale family business has transformed the urban landscape to merit a similar characterization. Empirical evidence in the USA on the spatial location of urban activities shows a pattern of land-use arrangement which confirms that different employment (or economic) activities appear to have distinct and different land use patterns in metropolitan areas because of economies of scale, localiza- tion and urbanization factors. Elsewhere it has been determined that in Calgary, Canada, there are a number of well-defined land use zones [as] each site becomes occupied by that activity which can use it most efficiently [thereby creating an urban pattern which is] relatively efficient in its basic space relationships. In the developing countries, in contrast, where town planning authorities exist they are primarily interested in approving house plans and ensuring provision of proper set back,14 rather than paying attention to the spatial distribution of economic activities, in response to any comprehensive plan for efficient- ly managing urban space to minimize conflict between non-compatible uses. As a result urban land-use in developing countries could easily be characterized as the any use anywhere concept.16 However, in Latin America, where urban manufacturing tends to dominate the local economy, the intensity of residential-cum-commercial mixture may be reduced. It is reasonable, therefore. to argue that different land-use patterns (from the Western examples) resulting from the different structures of urban economic activity systemslx will produce different travel demands.

    In Third World cities the ubiquity of small-scale operators in the informal sector affects the states ability to enforce any existing zoning laws, as does the weak administrative system set up to administer these laws. Moreover, government personnel are often improperly trained/ equipped and inexperienced in zoning matters. Recall that operators in the informal sector often require only a small space to set up shop and may not even require a licence to operate. Not only may the authorities be unaware of a business location, the sheer number of such operators makes it difficult for zoning officers to track and enforce any existing land-use standards on them. Studies in Ghana. the Gambia and Nigeria, for example, confirm that traders and businessmen are overrepresented as property owners among urban residents.lY The implication is that such owners are more likely to tolerate tenants who operate small businesses from residential properties and may not be inclined to inform on their (illegal) activities. One of the results is that residences eventually tend to constitute a work base for a number of urban residents, a situation similar to that which Mitchell and Rapkin*a observed in early US cities (1870-1910) which, however, had higher levels of urbanization.*l Despite these differences some researchers would elect to continue to emphasize the journey to work as the major issue in transport planning in the developing areas or would develop models to simulate it.

    Economic activity and urban travel

    An informal sector business is characterized by its small size (1 .l to 1.5 persons) and sole proprietorship. The majority (60%) of such enter- prises operate in service and trade sectors, with little start up capital, being unregulated or unlicensed. Few owners have been in business for

    CITIES August 1990

  • Non-routine wave1 in urban transportation planning: rhe case of del,eloping cuunrries

    Table 1. Percentage of urban labour force in less than ten years. they have little or no constraints on the use of their

    the informal sector. time, a significant number operate businesses at their places of resi-

    Urban centre Year % Abidjan 1970 31 Lagos 1976 50 Kumasi 1974 6Of70 Nairobi 1972 44 Jakarta 1976 45 Urban areas (Pakistan) 1972 69 Urban areas (Peru) 1970 60 Santo Domingo 1973 50 Sao Paul0 1976 43 Urban areas (Venezuela) 1974 44 Cht0 1970 46

    Source: S.V. Sethuraman, ed, The i/&an infor- ma/ Sector in Devefoping Countries, ILO, Gene- va, 1981

    Op tit, Ref 3, Chapter 2: MS. Muller, The self-employed in Kitale: no easy road to success, African Urban Studies, Vol 12, Winter 1982, pp l-15; K. Ochia, Commer- cial Activities and the Geography of Move- ment in a West African Urban Market.. A Study of Market Stall Traders in On&ha with implications for Transport Policy, Un- published PhD dissertation, Portland State &cversity, Oregon, 1989; op tit, Ref 11; J.P. Dickerson. C.G. Clarke. W.T.S. Gould, A.G. Ho&kiss, R.M. Prothero, D.J. Siddie, CT. Sr&th, and E.M. Thomas- Hooe. A Geooraohv of the Third World. Meihien, NewYbrk: 1985. 23 Op tit, Ref 3. 24 Scholars are being urged to rethink their concept of the home and recognize the rather complex interrelationship it has with the workplace. In transport studies the reconceptualization would seek to deem- phasize the tendency of models to con- centrate explicitly on the home-work link in the form oi journey to work; S. Hanson and G. Pratt. Reconceotualizina the links between the home and work-in urban geography, economic Geography, Vol64, No 4, 1988, pp 299-321. * R A Olu Sule, The Calabar CBD traffic flow: a study of Nigerian central city mobil- ity problems, African Urban Studies, Vol7, Spring 1980, pp 59-74. 26 T. Gihring, Intraurban activity patterns among entrepreneurs in a West African setting, G~gra~ska Anna/er, Vol 66B, 1984, pp 17-27: op cif, Ref 22, Ochia.

    dence or close to home, business hours are not fixed, business transac- tions are often face to face, there is a close relationship between the individual, the household and the enterprise and operators tend to have unstable incomes. Table 1 shows the percentage of the labour force engaged in this sector (estimates). According to Sethuraman,~~ some of these operators have no fixed location (34% in Colombo; 25% in Jakarta, 24% in Kano and 20% in Freetown). We are, however. more interested in operators who have fixed locations. at home or away from the place of residence, because their trip history is less difficult to track and record. According to the data, a significant proportion of those who have fixed locations often operate from their own residential premises - 44% in Jakarta, 50% or more in trade and service sectors in Manila. 67% in Kano, 61% in Lagos and 70% in Cordoba (Argentina), confirming the strong interplay between the workplace and residence. What this empirical evidence suggests is that an appreciable percentage of urban workers may not engage in the traditional journey to work trip so that any relevant intraurban trips must occur from the home - the workplace - during official business hours in support of business activity. This would suggest that standard travel studies conducted by relying on home based journey to work data must attempt to distinguish between the home as a place of residence and as a place of business and separate trips accordingly. In order to accommodate this, therefore, researchers should refocus their attention and reexamine their study methods; otherwise, we run the risk of producing survey results which are insufficient for the urban transportation planning process and for implementing the appropriate systems.

    It is not only home based operators who are predisposed to make intraurban trips during business hours: operators who are located away from home snd employees in the wage sector are also involved. For instance, in a Calabar study, 25.7% of Nigerian respondents in the wage sector indicated that they leave their offices to conduct other personal business during official work hours. In Zaria Gihring found that Taking time off to run personal errands during the working day is a prominent feature in overall travel patterns of employees in the civil service and academic institutions. In addition, other small-scale operators/participants who are located away from the home - in the retail trade, services, repairs and craft - have been found to make numerous trips during business hours, unlike their Western counterparts. These findings are instructive because we now know that if no clear temporal variations occur in the traffic volume on urban roadways, it is not only home based operators in the urban informal sector who are responsible for contributing to the traffic system; other offenders include wage earners and informal sector operators located away from home. Moreover, the preceding discussion suggests that, on the basis of the urban economic structure and the land-use system in the developing areas, relying on journey to work trip data for transport planning purposes would be incomplete to say the least. For businesses located in their places of residence, in close proximity to the home or even away from home, the journey to work trip would represent an insignificant aspect of total daily travel need because sourcing salable goods or raw materials would constitute a more important business and travel activity. On the other hand for workers whose residences are far

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  • Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning: the caSe of developing countries

    27 I. Schuster, Marginal lives: conflict and contradiction in the position of female trad- ers in Lusaka, Zambia, in Edna G. Bay, ed, Women and Work in Africa, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1982. 28 Op tit, Ref 21, Beier et a/; Bertrand Renaud, National Urbanization Policies in the Developing Areas, World Bank Paper 347, Washington, DC, 1979. 29 Op tit, Ref 21, Onibokun, p 427. 3o D Rondinelli, Development Projects as Policy Experiments, Methuen, New York, 1983. For a critiaue of Western models applied in study of Third World problems, see, for example, Paul Streeten. The role of the social sciences in development stu- dies, Development Digest, Vol 14, No 2, pp 51-58. A number of development pro- jects have been implemented using the revised paradigm; see, for example, M. S. Grindle, ed, Politics and Policy Imp/e- mentation in the Third World, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1980.


    from their places of employment, the workplace tends to provide an opportunity to complete other personal contacts (away from the work- place) before engaging in the arduous trip home at the close of the workday.* So not only the type of employment but the work ethic of the wage economy could affect the decision to take a trip during official work hours. These add to our reluctance to accept the journey to work trip as the proper basis for organizing transport planning in these areas.

    Proposals for studying urban travel behaviour in developing countries

    It is plausible that the socioeconomic conditions of developing countries will not alter dramatically in the short run to render the preceding argument useless;* job opportunities in the wage sector will continue to lag behind population increases for a long time29. Moreover, aware that Western theories have failed to produce the expected results in the developing countries, experts in the economic development field have argued for a change of paradigm to accommodate local conditions. They argue that economic development theories and programmes should be flexible and adaptable, permitting continuous (re-)assessment and allowing beneficiaries an opportunity to evolve alternatives which are more likely to succeed. This is what Rondinelli, for example, has labelled an experimental approach.

    In transport planning, therefore, researchers should reexamine their tools and methodologies and evaluate whether it would not be more appropriate, given the local conditions in developing countries, to emphasize non-routine trips generated from places of business employ- ment rather than concentrating on home based journey to work and school trips as the basis for organizing and planning urban transport needs. If accepted and adopted the journey to work trip will comple- ment the non-routine trip data as used in the planning process.

    In recognizing the need for a new approach we propose that travel research studies consider including attributes which capture the type of good sold or manufactured by an establishment or the type of services rendered. Perhaps a more inclusive variable would be to use the type of occupation, although this would run the risk of lumping together a lot of activities and ignoring differences. An alternative is to use the type of business, based on an international nomenclature for occupational classification, for example, the UN International Trade Classification. These variables could be measured on a dichotomous scale.

    Another relevant variable would relate to the distance of the place of business from the operators residence. This would help to determine the relationship between the number of trips generated as a function of distance between work and residence. The size of the entrepreneur, measured by total employees, rather than total sales, could also be included as a predictor variable. This has a number of advantages. It would eliminate the problem associated with extracting income related data which researchers often overcome by estimating the value indirect- ly using surrogates which may be inappropriate or inaccurate. In addition, it would force researchers to concentrate on business oper- ators and acknowledge that they constitute a significant group of intraurban (non-routine) trip makers. This is because even though the volume of sale (income) could affect total trips generated from an establishment, prevailing cultural and social aspects could induce addi-

    CITIES August 1990

  • Non-routine travel in urban transportation planning: the case of developing countries

    tional trips, a quality not capturable by income data. By concentrating on number of employees we are concentrating on the total operation, which takes into account the effects of culture and sociology. Third, the effect of gender on trip production could be measured and evaluated to compare the differences between males and females. The use of gender is encouraged especially when an establishment could be considered a unit sometimes occupied by both males and females, in which case scoring on a binary scale would not make any sense. Finally, it would provide a basis for comparing cultures where female participation in the economy may be curtailed because of religious or traditional reasons.

    By combining these with other traditional trip inducing variables, researchers would produce results which are responsive to local land-use and occupational characteristics, especially in situations where respon- dents occupational characteristics would suggest a reduced need for traditional journey to work trips. Finally, by focusing on non-routine trips, researchers, planners and policy makers would be better equipped to evaluate whether the acceptance of the importance [emphasis mine] of the work trip in planning and policy decisions on transport is compatible with economic and land-use characteristics prevalent in developing areas.

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