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The National Household Travel Survey: What you need to know

Whether you live in the heart of bustling Johannesburg or among the lush green hills of Zululand, transport is what connects you to many important things in life – from family and friends to jobs and learning opportunities. And with more and more South Africans moving around, access to affordable, safe and reliable transport is more vital than ever.

To deliver an integrated, safe, reliable and effective transport system Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in collaboration with the Department of Transport is conducting a research survey to collect data on the travel patterns of individuals and households across the country. The outcomes of the survey will be used as a planning platform for new transport services and infrastructure required in the future.

Officially known as the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) 2020, the research survey will provide  important insights into citizens’ travel needs and experiences. Hundreds of Stats SA fieldworkers  have been crisscrossing the country since the start of the year to conduct in-person interviews with South Africans about their transport challenges and behaviours.

The survey results will be critical for the planning of new and improved transport services and infrastructure.

“The information collected will aid the government in identifying public transport programmes that require immediate intervention and where more resources should be deployed in improving services and efficiency,” explains Statistician-General Mr Risenga Maluleke. The fieldworkers who will be conducting  the survey in person, will record the responses on a handheld device.

The NHTS 2020 is South Africa’s third household travel survey, with the first one conducted in 2003 and the second in 2013. The latest data will help the  Department of Transport, which commissioned the research, to understand how the transport landscape has changed in the past seven years to enable better infrastructure planning and resource reallocation for public transport.

The 2013 survey shed important light on the preferred  modes of public transport in the country, revealing that the vast majority of South Africans relied on taxis over buses and trains. The data collected as part of NHTS 2020 will help to inform interventions designed to give  passengers better-quality services.

“It will help decipher needs and issues in services such as the scholar transport system, the taxi industry and the passenger rail network to enable the  Department of Transport to plan interventions that will ensure continuity and quality of services,” adds Mr Maluleke.

A snapshot of the NHTS conducted in 2013 

The last NHTS conducted in 2013 indicated that individuals who attended educational institutions and used public transport were most likely to use taxis (69,5%), followed by those who used buses (24,7%), while 5,8% used trains.

NHTS 2020 at a glance


  • Stats SA issued identity card
  • Black bib and a cap with Stats SA logo

To verify a fieldworker, contact the NHTS call centre: 0800 110 248 (toll-free number) or visit www.statssa.gov.za (for online verification).