Effective transport infrastructure is an essential component of economic integration, accessibility to vital social services and a means of mitigation in times of emergency. Rural areas in Africa are largely characterized by poor transport infrastructure. This poor state of rural road networks contributes to the vulnerability of communities in developing countries by hampering access to vital social services and opportunities. In addition, maps of road networks are incomplete, and not up-to-date. Lack of accurate maps of village-level road networks hinders determination of access to social services and timely response to emergencies in remote locations. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, communities in rural areas and some in urban areas have devised an alternative mode of public transport system that is reliant on motorcycle taxis. This new mode of transport has improved local mobility and has created a vibrant economy that depends on the motorcycle taxi business. The taxi system also offers an opportunity for understanding local-level mobility and the characterization of the underlying transport infrastructure. By capturing the spatial and temporal characteristics of the taxis, we could design detailed maps of rural infrastructure and reveal the human mobility patterns that are associated with the motorcycle taxi system. In this study, we tracked motorcycle taxis in a rural area in Kenya by tagging volunteer riders with Global Positioning System (GPS) data loggers. A semi-automatic method was applied on the resulting trajectories to map rural-level road networks. The results showed that GPS trajectories from motorcycle taxis could potentially improve the maps of rural roads and augment other mapping initiatives like OpenStreetMap.
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