Research on road transport has paid growing attention to social equity objectives. However, little work has examined the role of the government officials that are charged to implement – notably how they make sense of and respond to mismatches between expectations and reality in their regulatory mandates. Drawing on a theoretical framing focused on interface bureaucracy and primary data from semi-structured interviews, this paper examines the agency of government officials in Kampala, Uganda.
The analysis highlights how they take initiative to address social equity concerns, seeking to navigate implementation barriers through i) lobbying people in power, ii) seeking leverage in conditionalities of external funding, iii) alliance-building with civil society, and iv) proactive use of city level by-laws. This adds one of few empirical studies available on this subject within the transport studies literature and in the context of East Africa. It also offers a contribution towards conceptualizing what the agency of government officials might mean for the operationalization of key policy objectives in the transport sector.
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