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ACET’s research efforts target challenges to urban transport planning and provision in Africa. Our principal focus has been on the case cities of Cape Town, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, but through our research we aim to contribute to knowledge that is relevant to the broader regional, national and international contexts.

Our research programme is focused in two main areas. The first focus area is public transport and paratransit. African cities have experienced decline in scheduled public transport, and the emergence of unregulated, unscheduled and unsafe paratransit. A major challenge facing authorities is the transformation of these services into integrated, regulated, safe and efficient systems. Many previous attempts to do this have been developed without sufficiently grounded knowledge of ‘real world’ business, operating and regulatory conditions, and of governance capacities.

The second research area is non-motorised transport. African cities have inadequate infrastructures to support the non-motorised transport (NMT) modes of walking and cycling upon which large impoverished populations depend. Poor levels of NMT accessibility, and unsafe and uncomfortable travel conditions are the inevitable result. For many decades NMT has been ignored or underestimated, and treated as an add-on or afterthought.

Both these research areas are situated in a context of government agencies with low capacities, limited resources and poorly developed planning frameworks.