Almost half of the African population is under the age of 18 years, while females make up just over half of the overall population. Estimates of the number of persons living with disabilities, on the African continent, range between 60-300 million individuals. Children, the elderly, females and people with disabilities all require amendments to traditional transport planning.
This paper investigates the availability of transport policies and guidelines in 29 different African countries, focussing on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, women and children. A desktop study was conducted, followed by the analysis of secondary data in the case study area, South Africa, demonstrating that the lack of adequate policies, guidelines and appropriate implementation leads to a lack of accessibility, opportunities and social isolation.
The data analysed revealed that Ghana and Kenya, have the most inclusive policy and legislative framework, while Tanzania has the most inclusive transport related framework. The private sector, NGOs, and NPOs are most active in the inclusion of people living with disabilities in Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.
In South Africa (STATSSA, 2013), over 2.2 million people (4.5% of the population) did not travel at all in the seven days before the interview, as their disability or age prohibits them to do so, or due to a lack of appropriate services. When comparing the trip rates per week, people with disabilities travel significantly less than their abled counterparts, between 65.8% and 27.2% less.
The study concludes that people with disability live less integrated, more isolated lives, due to the lack of accommodating infrastructure and services, in addition to the lack of binding policies, legislation, standards and guidelines. The results underpin the need for Disability Inclusive Planning in the African context and provides recommendations that mitigate the isolation challenges faced by people with disabilities.