Transport officials from Kampala, Addis Ababa and Accra exchange knowledge on what makes a mapping project successful. Source: WRI.
Transit data are essential. Data help us customize journey planning apps that improve transit’s usability, guide cities’ plans for smarter, integrated mobility and identify opportunities to improve access for all. However, moving from a one-time mapping project to an environment where cities actively maintain and use open, quality data to drive decisionmaking is easier said than done.
Transparency, accessible and honest knowledge-sharing and collaboration are necessary for going beyond a one-time mapping project. This starts with planning for and enabling cities’ participation and leadership in the mapping process, every step of the way.
That’s why on March 4th, WRI’s team in in Kampala, Uganda and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—In partnership with Transitec, Map Uganda and Transport for Cairo—held a workshop with members from the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Addis Ababa Transport Authority (AATA). AMA and AATA gave presentations on the success and challenges they experienced with their cities’ transit mapping projects. The workshop focused on Map Uganda and Transport for Cairo’s AFD-supported work to map Kampala’s minibus network, which will produce GTFS data that KCCA can use to improve transport in Kampala.
In Kampala, over 40% of residents commute by public transport, which is provided almost entirely by minibus taxis. Despite their widespread use, paratransit’s aging vehicles are a leading source of transport-related pollution, can be unpredictable in price and service, and are sometimes unsafe for riders and road users. Paratransit is also unaffordable for most lower-income residents. In Kampala, fares comprise up to 25% of median household expenditures. As a result, walking is the most affordable option for majority of low-income men and women.
The workshop discussed how Kampala’s government can be a leader in the mapping process and effectively use data to plan smarter, safer and more accessible public transportation. Below we reflect on this event and share our experiences to promote similar discussions in cities across the African continent. We hope this reflection encourages city participation and leadership in the transit mapping process!
Anna Oursler is WRI Africa’s Kampala Project Coordinator and a certified Urban Planner and Architect with ten years of international development experience. Email Anna at Anna.Ousler.firstname.lastname@example.org
Iman Abubaker is an Urban Mobility Projects Manager for WRI Africa. She currently manages projects to improve sustainable urban mobility in Addis Ababa, other Ethiopian cities and Kampala, Uganda, with experience across the region, such as coordination of DigitalTransport4Africa and convening Leaders in Urban Transport Planning with the World Bank. Email Iman at Iman.Abubaker@wri.org