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Informal and Shared Mobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (ISM) - Road Map Pdf, 1.2 MB. (Pdf, 1.2 MB)


In 2001 the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) launched the program Future Urban Transport – How to deal with the complexity of urban transport(FUT). Since then the program has functioned as an overarching framework for VREF initiatives such as Centers of Excellence (CoE), research programs and projects, events, publications, networking activities and other initiatives.The vision of VREF is Equitable access and sustainable transport in urban areas, with the general mission to:

  • • Support the development of new knowledge relating to ideas and solutions that can contribute to equitable access and sustainable urban transport;
    • Support the development of educational and outreach programs in the area of equitable access and sustainable urban transport;
    • Contribute to the dissemination and implementation of research findings among university
    researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders;
    • Support demonstrative examples and change processes.

During 2019, VREF initiated preparations for new research programs under the FUT Program. This process resulted in a selection of three themes for further investigation:

  • • Non-Motorized Transport (NMT): Scaling walking and cycling design/ planning/ financing
    • Future of paratransit and informal transport services (paratransit)
    • Leadership, politics, power and corruption in the transformation of urban mobility

The studies also showed substantial gaps in research themes such as impact, governance, and integration of informal and shared mobility, particularly in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). While there is an increase in research activities as indicated by published scientific papers, there seems to be no established international research network or any dedicated global event for focused exchange of knowledge and ideas in these areas.

This Road Map sets out the broader frame and approach of the Informal and shared mobility in low- and middle-income countries Program (ISM program). The Road Map has been written by Holger Dalkmann and Henrik Nolmark with support from Jane Summerton, Mats Jarnhammer, Karin Henriksson and David Lindelöw. Mattias Höjer, as representative of
the VREF Scientific Council, gave feedback on an early draft version, and the Scientific Council then provided comments on a draft version at its meeting in April 2022. The Road Map was formally adopted by the VREF Board in June 2022.


See presentation slides from the webinars launching the Call for EoI, and the Roadmap for Program Implementation.

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- Fourth Call for Research Proposals Pdf, 1.3 MB. (Pdf, 1.3 MB)

Deadline: 1 September 2022


- Catalysing Curriculum Change at Universities in SSA 2022 Pdf, 1.3 MB. (Pdf, 1.3 MB)

Deadline extended to 1 Nov. 2022


Deadline: 31 October 2022

MOBILITY GRANT 2022- MAC-MG 2022 Pdf, 447.1 kB. (Pdf, 447.1 kB)

Deadline: 31 October 2022

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas


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