Africa: Mobilize Summit - Mobility in Booming Cities

press release

All over the world, rapid urbanization is forcing cities to face the realities of insufficient planning. Demands on city space and services often outpace the ability of planners to respond, resulting in poor mobility services.

From 26-28 June 2018, 230 participants from 31 countries and 61 cities came together for the third annual MOBILIZE Summit to share their perspectives and learn from the mobility lessons offered by the host city of Dar es Salaam. They discussed ways to make space for mobility in booming cities - focusing on innovative solutions to respond and adapt.

This year's focus was that in cities across the world, while many people rely almost exclusively on walking and cycling for their mobility needs, investors and governments alike continue to increasing the road space for cars. The summit gave change makers from around the world the opportunity to showcase how they are improving their cities for cyclists and pedestrians.

Sharing their work were countries part of the Share the Road Programme, a UN Environment Programme supported by the FIA Foundation which works with governments worldwide to increase investment in non-motorized transport infrastructure.

Christopher Kang'ombe, Mayor of Kitwe in Zambia, presented the city's pedestrian infrastructure project which is being financed by private sector contributions. "My vision for Kitwe is a city where all our residents can move around safely and conveniently, including our many pedestrians.", says Mayor Kang'ombe. "I look forward to working with the national government and the Share the Road Programme to develop the national non-motorized transport (NMT) policy for Zambia". The Share the Road Programme is supporting Zambia in the development of the policy, to be launched in December 2018.

The Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority was also in attendance and shared their experience in developing an NMT policy for Lagos [with the support of the Share the Road Programme], which was approved in November 2017.

Dr. Jennifer S Musisi, Executive Director of the Kampala Capital City Authority, spoke during the summit's opening plenary discussion titled "Radical Solutions for Urban Growth". She spoke of Kampala's transformational journey of moving towards a sustainable mobility system, which included almost 5,000 streetlights and plans for a bus rapid transit. The Share the Road Programme also supported Uganda with the development of a national NMT policy in 2012.

The summit was a stark reminder that the needs of pedestrians and cyclists are often overlooked, and that motorized transport has hard hitting consequences for everyone. The transportation sector generates nearly a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions and is the fastest growing contributor of greenhouse gasses. It also feeds air pollution which is responsible for the deaths of seven million people a year and contributes to health problems such as bronchitis, asthma, heart disease, and brain damage.

On a positive note, the summit highlighted that there are often very simple solutions designed for those who walk and cycle every day, and that we can reverse current trends and make rapid progress in designing and building cities for all.

The MOBILIZE Summit is organized annually by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). Summit partners in 2018 included the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF), the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative, and UN Environment.

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