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 redesigned 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.

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

The project is working with a network of local partners in Zambia (Zambia Road Safety Trust) and Uganda (University of Makerere) and various other stakeholder groups in both countries.

The outcomes 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.

Creative participatory methods

People using a 3D Zebra crossing in Lusaka, Zambia
People using a 3D zebra crossing in Lusaka, Zambia in 2021. Photo: D Mwamba / ZRST

Creative participatory methods for urban transport planning enable participants to visualize, share experiences, explore different possibilities, and challenge current thinking.

They encourage engagement from often hard-to-reach, vulnerable participants through on-street activities or novel co-designed approaches, enabling their voices to be heard in transport policy-making and planning processes.

However, implementing creative and participatory approaches requires a change in how transport consultation, planning, and decision‐making is undertaken.

While increasing inclusion and participation may appear time‐consuming compared to conventional consultation activities, it can enhance the quality of information used to make decisions. As a consequence this should result in more inclusive and equitable outcomes that may, in the medium‐term, turn out to be more robust, cost‐effective, and sustainable.

Examples of participatory methods:

Narratives – Combines storytelling or image creation (photos, art canvases, etc.) that communicate participants’ stories of the future. These approaches can identify specific local contexts and cultural factors that affect planning and infrastructure developments, including existing effects of climate change. They can be used on street, in meetings and can facilitate participation over a longer timeline.

Digital stories – These include photo‐voice (where participants take their own pictures to illustrate their personal situation); documentary photography (where professional photographers take images to communicate someone else’s experiences); and participant‐directed video tours that explore community knowledge.

Participatory mapping – These are methods that collect information from participants in a spatial framework (a paper or digital map). The information can include their knowledge of local mobility. Maps are used to identify locations where residents found particularly challenging and where solutions could be implemented.

Streetscape models – Participants interact with streetscape models (3D representations of the locality) to identify current mobility challenges or to suggest infrastructure improvements. They are engaging and interactive, encouraging widespread participation.

Placemaking activitiesThese are practical interventions for transforming public spaces to improve mobility choices, road safety and climate resilience. Within these activities, there are opportunities to undertake experiments with infrastructure. These can include the temporary closure of streets to motorised traffic to explore safety and active travel options; or utilising the streetscape for alternative community or economic purposes (for example, recreation spaces and/or cafés or on-street vendors).

Infrastructure experiments – These are temporary changes to infrastructure to encourage a behaviour change typically to improve safety, encourage modal shift, or identify unexpected impacts of a proposed scheme before full  permanent implementation. These sorts of interventions are useful as they can be removed or installed in new locations to maintain the ‘surprise’ element for vehicle drivers.

Deliberative approaches – Useful for deciding on future strategies among a range of options or to work towards a consensus on disputed topics. The Delphi method is an example of a deliberative approach.

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 is undertaking 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: Daniel Mwamba / Zambia Road Safety Trust.


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.

HVT-On-street Engagement with different road users. Photo: Daniel Mwamba / Zambia Road Safety Trust.

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: Daniel Mwamba / Zambia Road Safety Trust.


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.


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: Daniel Mwamba / Zambia Road Safety Trust.

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: Daniel Mwamba / Zambia Road Safety Trust.

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.


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 .

Case Study #2

Exploring the impact of a Boda Boda Free Zone on the mobility of disadvantaged groups and vehicle emissions in Kampala, Uganda.


The case study in Kampala assesses the impact of implementing a “Boda Boda Free Zone”  on disadvantaged groups, by using creative methods to engage riders and passengers. It also seeks to understand how climate change and air pollution affects the journeys people take.

The case study aims to strengthen the technical capacity to support the formulation and implementation of more inclusive climate resilient low carbon mobility in the city through close collaboration with the Kampala Capital City Authority .


Boda Bodas (motorcycle taxis) are a common means of public transport used in Uganda and especially in the capital city of Kampala. They are a source of livelihood for young people, convenient and cheap for users, and avoid traffic congestion. Unlike other public transport services, Boda Bodas provide accessibility to nearly all areas of the city. There are currently an estimated 120,000 Boda Bodas operating in Kampala City. Their name originates from the “border-to-border” rides between Uganda and Kenya in the 1960s and 70s.

The Boda Boda Free Zone, due to take effect in 2022, was proposed by the Ugandan government first and foremost as a safety and public space quality improvement measure. Other measures to regulate Boda Boda riders will include their registration at stages (pick-up points) and through the use of apps e.g. SafeBoda .

Boda Boda Motorcycle picture
Boda Boda motorcycle taxi in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: banzaye/pixabay

Boda Bodas may pose a threat to the health of non-motorized transport users, as they are a source of air pollution and exacerbate road safety problems in Kampala’s mixed traffic. While the ban on them may have benefits for road safety, public space, climate and air quality, conversely, it could also have negative impacts on the livelihoods of youths, as well as reducing mobility options of poorer citizens who rely on Boda Bodas. It may also result in concentrating the Boda Bodas elsewhere, at unofficial stages; therefore, simply shifting the issue.

Study Area

Based on a decision by the Cabinet of Uganda, on 25th July 2020, a proposal was made to restrict access by Boda Bodas to Central Business District of Kampala.

Kampala Boda Boda Free Zone map
Kampala Boda Boda Free Zone map. Image:: KCCA


Various data collection methods were used in the study to gain different perspectives of the mobility challenges faced by road users (service providers and disadvantaged groups) following the establishment of the Boda Boda Free Zone. These include: on-street interviews, field observations, participatory mapping, scenario and visioning (Delphi approach) and digital story telling.

Stakeholder interviews

Different stakeholders were consulted about their opinions on mobility issues in Kampala; the impact of the Boda Boda Free Zone; and how climate affects their Boda Boda usage. Stakeholders included: motorcyclists, passengers,  planners, decision makers, civil society organizations, and disadvantaged group representatives.

Street interviews being conducted on Namirembe Rd, Kampala, Uganda. Photo: H Cambridge/Alon Mwesigwa

Participatory mapping

Mapping was used to record the locations of Boda Boda motorcycle stages used by passengers and to identify the principal routes they take. This helped identify the busiest areas of the Central business District (CBD). The map is also used as a tool to capture how people visualize the CBD without the motorcycle taxis.

PGIS Map from Namirembe Road engagement. H Cambridge/i-CMiiST

Digital story telling

Using collaborative processes, participants and facilitators worked together to produce powerful stories about mobility challenges facing vulnerable road users. Digital media (photo, video, audio) was used to document, highlight and explain the lived experience of different road users, providing insights into issues that would have otherwise been inaccessible using traditional interview methods.

Using creative methods to capture user journeys using Boda Bodas from different perspectives. Photo: H Cambridge / i-CMiIST

Representatives from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups produced short digital stories highlighting the routes they usually took, describing the personal difficulties they experience on a daily basis. Presenting their stories enabled them to propose solutions as well.

In addition, cameras were used to observe the traffic situation in Kampala from the perspective of the Boda Boda riders themselves. Selected riders had cameras mounted on their motorcycle to record their journey over a set route.

Photo of on-street interviews with Boda Boda drivers
On-street interviews with Boda Boda drivers in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: H Cambridge / i-CMiiST


Deliberative approaches

This is an approach to decision-making that allows participants to consider relevant information from multiple points of view. The case study utilized the Delphi method approach, developed by Rand , where a pool of experts considered a number of statements about the extent to which transport infrastructure is affected by climate change. Over a series of iterations, a facilitator compiled the responses, refined the statements and returned them back to the experts until a final consensus was reached.

Additional sources of data

Finally, the case study compiled supplementary information pertaining to the Boda Boda Free Zone from regulatory agencies responsible for planning and implementing transport policies in the city including: Kampala Capital City Authority, National Road Safety Council, Ministry of works – (Transport Licensing Board), Uganda Police Force ( traffic directorate, vehicle inspection) and the National Planning Authority.

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.