Inclusivity of ICT Based Solutions to Public Transportation Problems: Challenges and Opportunities for Bloemfontein
Promoting information and communication technologies as mobility and transportation accessibility solutions in efforts to achieve sustainable transportation excludes socioeconomic vulnerability. ICT-related efforts do not meet the mobility and accessibility needs of every single group in society, resulting in socioeconomic exclusion for specific groups of people. Social exclusion disadvantages vulnerable social groups in society's mobility, while limited mobility reduces access to activities for disadvantaged groups; travel for job hunting, education, work, and health facilities further increases these groups' physical isolation. The need to travel for activities, services, and basic goods for human consumption such as food, water, and medication must be addressed by developing inclusive transportation systems. Through tele-activities, e-payments, security and surveillance, among other components adaptable to travel and mobility, technological solutions have been at the forefront of prescriptions to transportation problems. However, they remain inaccessible to some of society. The study investigates whether inclusive, sustainable public transportation can be fully realized in developing countries by utilizing technology-based travel behavior solutions. It also investigates the effectiveness of ICT solutions to travel, mobility, and accessibility issues in a South African city with a relatively traditional public transportation system. The study considers socioeconomic travel processes as well as travel behavior constructs to inclusivity in order to weigh the prospects of equitable provision of ICT-enabled public transportation services in the developing world. This study discovered that travelers have smartphone access; however, the purposes of smartphones are not directly related to travel and transportation. Furthermore, public transportation service providers do not have an online presence. Overall, for ICT-enabled public transportation to thrive in developing countries, accessible technologies such as calls and SMS that do not require internet access must be considered.
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