Rapid urbanization in Africa has increased citizens’ need of mobility and access to public transportation, especially in unplanned cities where urban sprawl leaves longer distances between home, work and school. Yet increased mobility and growing demand for public transport in cities has not been met by the provision of adequate and sustainable transport infrastructure and services.

The urban public transport sector faces challenges of poor service delivery and gender inequality. Women are generally underrepresented in the sector in the operation (service delivery) and decision-making; and female users are often victims of harassment and assaults. Violence against women and girls in public transportation continues being a widespread problem, limiting women’s security and access to the city.

There is a need for transportation and urban policies and plans to respond to these growing demands of safe and accessible public transportation for all citizens. Similarly, this is highlighted in Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities: “by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all”.

The project’s overall goal is to develop a framework for gender mainstreaming in public transport and urban planning, focusing on providing evidence-based recommendations for the integration of gender into urban public transport. This framework is aimed at policy engagement, informing policy makers on ways gender can be included in transport and urban planning policies.

Gender mainstreaming in public transportation is a critical question that is under-researched in East Africa. This project on women and transportation in East Africa will narrow this knowledge gap by gathering evidence on current gender issues in urban public transport in East Africa, and will conduct a comparative study in Kampala, Uganda, Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to assess women’s inclusion in public transport systems.

The project is implemented in partnership with Flone Initiative and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

SEI also supports the Flone Initiative’s Women in Transportation Program including the 2018 Eastern Africa Women in Transportation Conference. This first annual conference in the region was held at University of Nairobi on 22 and 23 November 2018 and brought together stakeholders from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and other parts of the world to discuss women and public transportation. At the conference, SEI participated in high-level panel entitled ‘Strategies for Overcoming Gender Barriers in Transport’ and chaired one of the breakout sessions, focusing on gender inclusive policies in public transport and bringing together representatives from national government, civil society and international organizations.