Inclusive travel options to allow access within cities to education, healthcare and employment is a critical component of sustainable urbanization; however, of the annual 1.25 million road traffic fatalities globally, 90% are in low and middle-income countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Africa has the joint highest road crash fatality rate of all global regions and transport-related deaths are growing and overtaking some major diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, leprosy, hepatitis and malaria. Over half of all fatalities are among vulnerable groups (e.g. pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users) and death and injury burdens are heavily skewed towards lower income groups.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for inclusive and sustainable urbanization including increasing the capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management. There is a specific request for improving road safety incorporating local level planning reform to ensure clean and safe mobility within urban systems.
Creative methods (e.g. the use of arts interventions, including drama, participatory map making, storytelling, creative writing, photography, etc.) have a particular contribution to make in revealing vulnerable peoples’ needs and desires for urban mobility. They have demonstrated value in effectively communicating these needs between stakeholders addressing the need for inclusion in planning processes irrespective of age, gender, religion, origin or economic status. The arts and humanities have a role to play in bringing forward new viewpoints and generating novel solutions by providing a discussion space to explore these key issues. Sometimes providing a counterpoint or challenge to existing bureaucratic and technical knowledge and power processes.
The CMiiST project will build a network of UK arts and humanities academics with their counterparts from East Africa alongside local urban planners, designers, NGOs, civil society groups and urban decision makers. The UK participants have experience of a range of creative approaches used to reveal different groups problems (in relation to mobility and travel); but methods that are also useful in helping identify novel solutions co-designed with these groups themselves. The network will identify how these approaches could be developed and used in East Africa to help address issues around sustainable travel options for all residents of the regions with rapidly growing cities and contributing to the delivery of the SDGs.