Quantification of Accessibility Levels of Rural Areas: A case study in the Northern Province of South Africa

Socio-economic and political relations in South Africa are characterized by dualism and a high degree of heterogeneity particularly when comparisons are made between urban and rural areas. The lack of mobility and accessibility of goods and persons at the local level is a major factor impending the integration of rural communities into the national economy. While most rural transport work has been heavily sectoral with an obvious slant towards higher levels of rural road network, little work has been reported on the accessibility and development needs of rural communities. The greater majority of these rural mobility studies have described the accessibility of rural location as a function of distance from gravel or paved roads, distance from bus or minibus routes or total travel time to a node. In this paper a methodology to quantify the overall accessibility level or rural communities has been suggested. The results obtained by applying the methodology in a case study in the Bochum ¿ My darling Transitional Local Council (TLC) in the Northern Province of South Africa have also been discussed. As expected, the value of the derived indices indicated low overall accessibility levels.
However, the methodology aids policy and decision makers to quantify and compare accessibility levels of different locations with a view of arriving at sustainable solutions and investment priorities.