Street panorama, Kampala, Uganda

Street panorama, Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Howard Cambridge / SEI

Working with UN Environment Share the Road Programme, the project will raise awareness of the needs of low-income disadvantaged user groups and the effects of climate change on transport infrastructure. It aims to enhance capacity of transport planners to assess the mobility needs of disadvantaged groups in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda.

This project is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) ’s High Volume Transport (HVT) Applied Research Programme and runs from September 2020–August 2022.

Family walking along busy road due to lack of adequate pavement space on Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya

Family having to walk down a busy road due to lack of adequate pavement space in Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Howard Cambridge / SEI

The transport sector is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases (GHG), and a major contributor to climate change . While many low-income countries (LIC) in Africa currently have low levels of motorization , this is expected to change.

Imported new and used vehicles are increasing by 10% per year in African countries. By 2030, the African car market could reach 1.9 million units, which would represent a modest 1.8% of global sales. However, greater car use in African LIC will mean more polluting vehicle emissions.

Road transport contributes to poor air quality which has an impact on human health such as bronchitis, asthma, heart disease and brain damage. In addition, road traffic deaths are higher in Africa than in any other region of the world.

Climate change will increase the incidence of tropical cyclones, flooding and heatwaves . More extreme weather events will disrupt vital transport infrastructure, networks and services affecting the mobility of low-income disadvantaged groups (i.e. the old, disabled, young, and women).

The provision of transport infrastructure in Africa is often based on political decisions rather than being demand-driven or evidence-based. The standard response to addressing urban mobility issues has been to invest in infrastructure for motorized transport. However, this prioritization of road infrastructure leads to a vicious cycle that stimulates urban sprawl and greater car use.

Multiple road users in Nairobi, Kenya

Congestion at the entrance of Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya before it was re-designed in 2019 to create more space for walking and cycling. Photo: Steve Cinderby / SEI

Poorly planned transport systems have negative consequences for everyone; whether they are driving a car, using public transport, walking or cycling. There is a need to ensure transport planning and decision making is not only sustainable and resilient to climate change but hears the voice of all transport users, especially low-income disadvantaged groups.

SEI is undertaking a 24 month project together with UN Environment’s (UNEP) Share the Road Programme to strengthen the technical capacity in African low income countries (LIC) to develop and implement inclusive climate resilient transport infrastructure. It links with Share the Road’s project on Investing in Walking and Cycling Policies in African Cities, a UN Development Account (UNDA) funded initiative supporting governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zambia to develop national non-motorised transport (NMT) policies that incorporate the needs of vulnerable groups.

The project will work with a network of local partners (i.e. Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, University of Cape Town (South Africa), University of Makerere (Uganda) and Zambia Road Safety Trust) and stakeholder groups in these three countries.

The estimated results of the project are increased:

  • understanding of the needs of low-income disadvantaged groups and transport, low carbon mobility and climate resilience;
  • capacity to include the voice of low-income disadvantaged groups in planning climate resilient transport infrastructure;
  • use of tools and approaches that can include the concerns of low-income Increased use of tools and approaches that can include the concerns of low-income disadvantaged groups in transport planning;
  • ability to ensure transport infrastructure is resilient to climate change; and
  • opportunity for low-income disadvantaged groups to contribute to transport planning and design.

Overall, this HVT project will contribute to meeting the mobility needs of low-income transport groups in a changing climate.

Congested city centre street - Namirembe Road, Kampala, Uganda

Namirembe Road, Kampala Road now has dedicated lanes for non-motorized transport (NMT). Photo: Howard Cambridge / SEI

The HVT project will undertake the following key activities:

  • Needs assessment of transport planners, decision-makers and transport providers in developing transport policy, planning infrastructure and offering transport services and the mobility needs of low-income or disadvantaged groups such as women, older people and the disabled in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia.
  • State of knowledge review of climate impacts on transport infrastructure, including adaptation efforts. An assessment of global best practice on participatory approaches tools, lessons learned and pilot projects.
  • Case study analysis of transport planning in Uganda (Kampala) and a second LIC, and application of selected tools/approaches.
  • Development of a Guidance Framework for Inclusive Climate Transport Planning in African LIC based on the evidence and practical insights gained from field data.
  • Training workshops on the Guidance Framework within Uganda, second LIC; and beyond.
  • Dissemination activities to promote the Guidance Framework in the Region.

Case Study #1 

Understanding the impact of a major road junction on the mobility of disadvantaged groups and implications for low carbon mobility.

HVT Case Study – Tokyo Way – Kamwala South, Lusaka, Zambia. On-street survey and PGIS mapping. Photo: DMwamba/ZRST.

Background:

The majority of trips in Lusaka consist of walking, followed by public transport, and with only 10% trips by car. Despite low car ownership, Lusaka and other Zambian cities are experiencing increasing traffic congestion, road fatalities and poor air quality making it difficult for disadvantaged groups to access economic and educational opportunities. To overcome such challenges and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cities need to adopt urban planning strategies and transport system interventions that promote a shift to low carbon modes, including efficient public transport, walking, and cycling. 

The Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) is testing new ways of working with local people to better understand their journeys, the road safety risks they experience, climate change impact and also their ideas on solutions of how to improve local travel. 

Location: Tokyo Way – Kamwala South, Lusaka, Zambia

This location has been identified as one of the most unsafe road traffic junctions in Lusaka, particularly for a large number school children during their travel to and from school. The junction also affects the safety of other vulnerable road users.

Participatory Geographic Information System (PGIS) Mapping used as a creative method for engagement on the street. Photo: DMwamba/ZRST.

Purpose:

This case study assesses the experiences of disadvantaged groups who use the Tokyo Way/Kamwala South road junction. It will determine challenges they face and how these impact their mobility and transport mode choices, especially during different weather conditions. It also examines using creative and participatory methods to gain additional insights to mobility needs of disadvantaged groups to provide a more inclusive transport planning process, and one that also considers future climate change. 

Methods:

The case study will investigate using Participatory Geographical Information Systems (PGIS) and pop-up creative activities to gain insights into the mobility challenges and needs of disadvantaged road users.

HVT Lusaka Case Study – PGIS mapping. Photo: DMwamba/ZRST

Artworks; streetscape models; digital story-telling and photography will be used to capture local knowledge and identify co-created solutions and preferences for mobility infrastructure.

The on-street activities were featured on Zambian TV. Photos: DMwamba/ZRT

Expected outcomes:

Feedback from stakeholders will help identify the key problems of road safety and climate change in this area which will be communicated to Lusaka City Council and other central government agencies responsible for transport planning. This will provide the evidence to support the development of a Guidance Framework to promote inclusive climate resilient transport in African cities. The learning from the project will also be shared across Africa with transport planners and decision makers through collaboration with UN Environment.

Different road users (pedestrians, car drivers, cyclists,  wheelbarrow “Zamcargo” pushers) were engaged to understand mobility challenges they face. Photo: DMwamba/ZRST.

Activities:

On-street survey July 2021

Lusaka City Council (LCC) granted permission to ZRST to undertake the case-study . The first on-street survey took place in July 2021 using rapid PGIS mapping. More than 40 participants were asked  about their typical daily journeys and their perceptions of road safety, climate impacts and ideas for solutions to the problems. Further surveys and stakeholder engagement activities using different creative methods will take place around the junction.

Read more about the activity .

External Collaborators

UNEP Share the Road Uganda Local Partner
Carly Gilbert-Patrick
Carly Gilbert-Patrick, Share The Road, UNEP

Carly Gilbert-Patrick
Global transport and programme manager in transport policy and practice. She leads UN Environment’s Share the Road Programme.

Amanda-Ngabirano, Makerere University, Uganda.

Amanda Ngabirano
Lecturer and researcher in transport planning and mobility. She is also Chairperson of Uganda’s National Physical Planning Board (NPPB)

Zambia Local Partner Uganda Local Partner
Daniel Mwamba – Zambia Road Safety Trust..

Daniel Mwamba

Daniel Mwamba is the founder and chairman for Zambia’s leading NGO for Road Safety, the Zambia Road Safety Trust. He is also the country’s Data Coordinator for the WHO Road Safety Global Status Report.

Wasike Yusuf Arby
Wasike Yusuf Arby

Wasike Yusuf Arby

Wasike Yusuf Arby is an Urban Planner and Managing Partner of Newsphere Innovations Limited.