Rapid urbanisation has left many cities struggling to keep up with the demand for transport services and infrastructure. Cities in the Africa region are experiencing increasing time lost in traffic, unacceptable numbers of deaths from traffic crashes, poor access to opportunities, and rising pollution. Along with the influx of motorised transport, once walkable places have been redesigned to prioritise personal motor vehicles. Yet walking and public transport remain the dominant modes of transport. It has become clear to many cities around the globe that prioritising cars in provision of urban infrastructure undermines quality of life and significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Efficient mobility and liveable streets are critical to the prosperity of cities and wellbeing of urban residents.
To address these issues, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), with support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI), are implementing a programme dubbed Growing Smarter: Sustainable Mobility in East Africa. The project seeks to achieve a measurable and significant shift away from private vehicles to less polluting modes of transport, such as public transport, cycling, and walking, by introducing higher quality sustainable and equitable transport systems in urban areas.
Each year, the programme brings together practitioners from the Africa region to discuss best practices in sustainable mobility. This year, ITDP and UN-Habitat are organising a virtual conference under the theme Rethinking Public Transport: Increasing Access through Resilient and Inclusive Operations. The sessions will take place over the Zoom platform and will include a soft launch of our upcoming publication Quick Guide to Bus Sector Modernisation.The conference will focus on the need for efficient bus operations and explore how governments can influence improved quality of service by offering incentives for public transport sector reforms. To ensure resilience in public transport, during the time of COVID-19, improved quality of service and efficient operations are becoming even more vital.
The conference offers a great opportunity to rethink and transform public transport operations, from regulatory and operational structures to business models and staff compensation. The format will include case studies from across the region and beyond.
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