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The University of Cape Town, South Africa

The capabilities approach as a needs assessment framework for vulnerable non-motorised transport users in African Cities

EP-2019-MAC-02, Professor Mark Zuidgeest



In Ethiopian, Rwandan and Zambian cities, the needs of vulnerable non-motorised transport (NMT) groups have not been prioritised in planning policies and practices, and are not systematically invested in. Multiple agencies within the United Nations, and external partners, are collaborating to support these three countries in redesigning their systems of investing, approving and building of road infrastructure to ensure that they are inclusive of the needs of vulnerable NMT users.

To complement this larger initiative, this proposed research aims to provide a theoretical framework for understanding NMT needs amongst vulnerable NMT groups in different African cities. Drawing on the capabilities approach, this research project aims to utilise interviews and workshops with vulnerable NMT groups in each of the three countries to form a contextualised needs assessment framework representing a qualitative understanding of their different motivations for travel and the factors that act as barriers and facilitators to their mobility.

Mark Zuidgeest is a civil engineering, originally trained in the University of Twente in The Netherlands. He obtained his PhD from the The Netherlands Research School for Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics (TRAIL) with a dissertation titled ‘Sustainable urban transport development: a dynamic optimisation approach’. He has worked in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America on topics related to transport in cities in addition to teaching courses there before joining UCT as an associate professor. He is also a visiting professor to Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea where he teaches a summer school, amongst others on climate change and cities.

His research interest is in climate change and cities in developing countries, particularly on the role of infrastructure and transport in mitigation and adaptation. Mark is a civil engineering by training and has a PhD in transport modelling.

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