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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

 

Glenda Vergeer

The reality for sustainable cities across Africa by 2050: An assessment of urban mobility provision as a driver for development

Countries in south-central Africa are ranked in the lowest percentile of liveability indexes in the world. They lack basic transport infrastructure, resources and capacity to equitably provide services for their rapidly growing urban populations, whom are also amongst the most impoverished people on the planet. The focus of this research is an assessment of the connexions between urban mobility and liveability in African cities. The Sustainable Development Goals draw a lot of attention to health and education, energy and its infrastructure, ICT, agriculture and food security, however, there is a substantive gap in the prioritisation of transportation networks, despite the evidence that urban mobility systems are cardinal conduits for economic development, social equity and inclusion.

The research approach adopted a review of sustainable transport networks with regional applicability across the disciplines of liveability, transport systems and urban mobility. It appraises alternative strategies in urban transport design and policy, to determine sustainable urban mobility solutions for Lusaka, Zambia, located in the geographical hub of south-central Africa. The findings reveal that the most preferred liveability measures are economic factors, accessibility and the environment. When assessed against the predominant alternatives from the literature analysis, the sustainable urban mobility solutions to be prioritised are 1) a Heavy Infrastructure Bus Rapid Transit system, 2) the creation of Green Corridors with walk-cycle paths and 3) the use of Limited Traffic Zones promoting car-free areas in the city.

The main conclusions drawn from this study are the connexions between multi-modal transport network design, the influence of related policies and service accessibility are required to reconcile the segregation of socio-economic wellbeing prevalent amongst urban inhabitants as a means to accelerate meaningful liveability and development.  Therefore, by prioritising urban mobility provision, municipalities will be better positioned to resiliently administer the accelerating amenity demands in their built environments and consequently transpose well-being equitably across urban populations cities throughout south- central Africa by 2050.