Completing Africa’s first systemic gender-sensitive data collection project with the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative

3 min readNov 30, 2022

Did you know that women make up the majority of public transport users?

Despite this, public transport policies rarely take the experience of women into account. At WhereIsMyTransport, we believe that this is partly down to a gender data gap.

Working with the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), we conducted Africa’s first systemic gender-sensitive data collection project on women’s transport experiences in Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; and the Gauteng city region, South Africa.

Before this, there had been no comprehensive attempt to collect gender-sensitive data around women’s experiences in public transport in these cities.

Read more in our new case study or download the report

Women wait for a minibus taxi to depart in Johannesburg, South Africa

Groundbreaking methodology

Over 400 people took part in the substantial range of data collection methodologies we undertook. Those included:

  • Focus-group discussions
  • Online and in-person surveys
  • Ride-alongs
  • Journey mapping workshops

Our core research team worked with local researchers to refine and localise our methodology for the needs of each region. We set up a research lab in each city where we trained local researchers on our methodology.

Building understanding

We chose to focus on Nairobi, Lagos, and Gauteng after assessing where the gender data gap was most acute, and where the data we collected could have the most impact.

Central to our approach was the understanding that women are not a single homogenous group. Women’s public transport experience will vary depending on their occupation, household structure, income levels, age, and other factors. We worked with a diverse group of women, including:

  • Students attending tertiary education
  • Working professionals with and without children
  • Stay-at-home mothers
  • Women working in public transport
  • Domestic workers
  • Informal traders
An informal trader works at a minibus taxi depot in Johannesburg, South Africa

Some of our findings

Influencing factors: While attitudes to public transport differ from person to person, region to region, we found five main factors influencing the public transport choices women make in all three cities:

  1. Cost
  2. Time
  3. Safety
  4. Comfort
  5. Access

Attitude to drivers: In Nairobi, drivers were seen as a form of safety for women. This was in sharp contrast to the experience in Gauteng where women participants cited drivers as one of the biggest frustrations with public transport. In Lagos, trust with drivers was also low, with women highlighting that drivers are seen as dangerous.

Public transport satisfaction: In Lagos, 52% of women reported that they were dissatisfied with public transport, while in Nairobi it was 29%, and Gauteng 21%. Across all three regions, when asked what makes public transport fun, the majority all shared socialising and entertainment.

The focus of change: In Gauteng, 37% of respondents indicated that improving overall service and reliability on the network was most important. 23% of participants in Nairobi, and 33% in Lagos cited that better infrastructure was needed to improve the public transportation experience.

What’s next?

The data collected during this project will be used to contribute to the TUMI Mobility Hub — an initiative that aims to bridge the gender data gap by providing comprehensive quantitative and qualitative mobility data for all cities across the world. And the methodology we devised is suitable for scale, in further African cities or elsewhere in the Majority World.

Find out more about our work with TUMI in our new case study or download the report




Stories about data, mobility, and the Majority World from the WhereIsMyTransport team.