Journal article

Geographical Modelling of Transit Deserts in Cape Town

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Publication Details

Author list: Vanderschuren Marianne, Cameron Robert, Newlands Alexandra, Schalekamp Herrie

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Nature Sustainability

Volume number: 13

Issue number: 997

Start page: 1

End page: 16

Total number of pages: 16

eISSN: 2398-9629



TheWorld Bank calculated South Africa’s 2018 Gini Coefficient to be 0.63, which made it
the world’s most unequal country. Such inequality is perpetuated by land-use patterns still influenced
by the apartheid past. The resulting urban form necessitates long travel distances, often relying
on fragmented transit modes, each with their own geographical and temporal constraints. This
study applies work on transit deserts in cities in the global north to Cape Town, aiming to assess the
methodological transferability to the global south, and generating case study results. In the Cape
Town case, the study first analyses transit deserts based on formal public transport supply (bus rapid
transit, traditional bus and train), identifying that ten out of 18 traffic analysis zones were classified
as transit gaps (some unserved demand), while three of these zones qualified as transit deserts
(significant undersupply). Like its U.S. counterparts, excess supply is found near Cape Town’s city
centre. In Cape Town, the transit gaps/deserts are partly filled by unscheduled minibus-taxis. When
this informal public transport service is added, the transit deserts disappear; however, half of the
transport analysis zones still qualify as having transit gaps. It is, therefore, concluded that informal
public transit in Cape Town reduces the transit gap, but does not eliminate it.


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Last updated on 2021-30-04 at 11:26