Policy Brief

Gendered differences in mobility and the demand for transport in Ethiopia

Date Published

Nov 14, 2023


Anastasiia Arbuzova, Tigabu Getahun, Ammar A. Malik, Mahesh Karra


The International Growth Centre


Abuzova, A.A., Getahun, T., Malik, A. A., & K. Mahesh. 2023. Gendered differences in mobility and the demand for transport in Ethiopia. London, UK: The International Growth Centre (IGC).


A study in urban Ethiopia reveals gender disparities in mobility. Introducing improved transport for women meets latent demand, enhances access, and underscores the need for gender-sensitive transport policies in planning and implementation.


  • In spite of rapid urbanisation, many urban African residents continue to be constrained by poor transport options and generally low mobility. Inadequate transportation system in African cities has a particularly disproportionate effect on women, whose travel patterns, needs, and means of mobility are notably different from men’s.
  • The introduction of effective transportation services for women has the potential to meet their latent demand for transport, promote access to services and improve well-being.
  • We study how mobility and latent travel demand vary by gender, particularly for women, with the introduction of improved transport.
  • We conduct a field experiment with 1,000 couples in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants received travel credit that they could use to reimburse the cost of trips taken with a private taxi service over two months. Couples were randomly assigned to either: 1) a woman arm, where the taxi service and credit was offered to women; 2) a man arm, where the credit was offered to men; or 3) a couples arm, where the credit was offered to the couple jointly.
  • Our findings highlight the need for policymakers and urban planners to recognize the role of gender as a core determinant of a high-quality, equitable transport system. Effective transport policies and programs must internalise and proactively respond to gender-based differences in travel demand, mobility, and access across all phases of planning, design, and implementation.

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