Activity-specific mobility of adults in a rural region of western Kenya

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Improving rural household access to resources such as markets, schools and healthcare can help alleviate poverty in low-income settings. Current models of geographic accessibility to various resources rarely take individual variation into account due to a lack of appropriate data, yet understanding mobility at an individual level is key to knowing how people access their local resources.

Our study used both an activity-specific survey and GPS trackers to evaluate how adults in a rural area of western Kenya accessed local resources. We calculated the travel time and time spent at six different types of resource and compared the GPS and survey data to see how well they matched.

We found links between several demographic characteristics and the time spent at different resources, and that the GPS data reflected the survey data well for time spent at some types of resource, but poorly for others.

We conclude that demography and activity are important drivers of mobility, and a better understanding of individual variation in mobility could be obtained through the use of GPS trackers on a wider scale.

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