This year, we started experimenting with “Travel Diaries”, a research project aimed at understanding transport behaviour in Cape Town. We are happy to announce that Lize Barclay was the winner of the first round. We have awarded her with a bike donated by Pedal Power Association. Enjoy!
We launched Travel Diaries at the most recent Open Streets Day, in the City Centre, where 50 participants signed up. Each of them received a bag with a journal that they needed to complete over the course of seven days and then return for analysis. Bicycle Cape Town’s Kirsten Wilkins, who coordinated the project, summed up the responses as follows.
- The total distance travelled by participants who logged distances: 3 635km
- The average distance travelled per participant in seven days: 225km
- The spatial/geographic spread of participants: 45 self-identified suburbs/neighbourhoods
- The average distance per trip: seven kilometres (520 entries)
- The average number of trips per participant per day: six
Kirsten also highlighted a few interesting observations from the responses:
- Afterhours trips of shorter distances are always completed by car or taxi, with the presumption that safety is a major concern. The connection between walkability, safety and carbon emissions is an important conceptual connection.
- A number of regular, predictable and short-distance trips by car are made weekly to a gym and back. This seems counterintuitive. It’s worth investigating ride share, shuttle or share-lift options to and from these facilities in areas of higher density.
- All trips made to school and/or involving collecting children were by car.
- We require confirmation to understand the role of gender and safety regarding walking and cycling, but initial observations show these numbers are heavily skewed and worth investigating.
- As a general observation, longer trips are predominantly made over weekends. Thus, while the easing of traffic congestion on weekdays at peak periods would seem to be an important issue in reducing carbon emissions (particularly with slow-moving or stationary cars), weekend travel behaviour is also worth considering to significantly reduce overall weekly car mileage.
- The regularity and observable patterns of travel of most participants provides an interesting insight into the often-quoted reason for not participating in rideshare: the perceived unpredictability of travel schedules and coordinating those movements with others. This should be investigated.
- Of interest is the self-categorised destinations participants refer to with regards to shopping. “Shops” are often a short distance away and generated many walking trips, while “malls” almost always generated car trips or carsharing and were not as regularly visited. The availability of small convenience stores in residential areas appears to significantly reduce car trips and thus has an observable impact on emissions reductions (prior to data verification).
The sample of participants is, of course, too small to draw any conclusions. But based on the positive feedback from most participants, we want to run Travel Diaries again during a different season. If you want to be part of the autumn Travel Diaries, please sign up here.
This content was made possible through the support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.