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Rethinking Sustainable Mobility: Understanding the use of boda-boda motorcycle taxis in Kampala, Uganda

Ch Ng, Sin Yi LU (2016) In IIIEE Masters Thesis IMEN56 20161
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract (Swedish)
Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by informal transportation services compensating for the lack of institutionalised transportation system. In Kampala, Uganda, the vast army of boda-boda (boda) motorcycle taxis have proliferated through the city, with passengers and/or cargo goods straddled behind the boda drivers as they navigate through the city’s congested and dilapidated roads. Despite the strong presence of informal transport in developing cities, local governments often regulate against them as they do not fit the desired modern image. Against this backdrop, the dynamics of the system, perception and needs of the users themselves are neglected and unknown. Therefore, this study aims to identify the role of informal... (More)
Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by informal transportation services compensating for the lack of institutionalised transportation system. In Kampala, Uganda, the vast army of boda-boda (boda) motorcycle taxis have proliferated through the city, with passengers and/or cargo goods straddled behind the boda drivers as they navigate through the city’s congested and dilapidated roads. Despite the strong presence of informal transport in developing cities, local governments often regulate against them as they do not fit the desired modern image. Against this backdrop, the dynamics of the system, perception and needs of the users themselves are neglected and unknown. Therefore, this study aims to identify the role of informal mobility in the sustainable urban landscape by investigating the boda sector in Kampala from the users’ (i.e. passengers and cargo) lens. Qualitative Geographical Information System (GIS) as a mixed-methods approach was adopted for the research, explicitly: GIS analysis, questionnaire surveys, interviews, and unstructured observations. The study develops understanding of the boda demand – travel patterns, trip purposes, profiles, perceptions, and aspirations of the boda users. Visual representations and findings are discussed vis-à-vis the sustainable mobility dimensions. The study finds that the boda physical attributes influence the types of market served including service areas and users. More importantly, the boda market morphs according to the city’s prevailing activities throughout the day, signifying how bodas are woven into the urbanites’ life and the city itself. This is more distinctive for lower income groups, working population, and areas with high formal and informal economic activities. Nonetheless, the high social costs resulting from unprofessional driving and high accident rates should justify intervention by formal and informal institutions. Overall, this study identifies the complementary role of the boda system and advocate for its integration into the public transport system through three transition pathways, namely improvement, complementary planning, and institutional reform. This analysis suggests that the informal mobility system and users should be engaged in changing the negative narratives of the sector and working towards sustainable urban mobility and development. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ch Ng, Sin Yi LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainable mobility, informal transport, boda-boda, Kampala, qualitative visualisation
publication/series
IIIEE Masters Thesis
report number
2016:16
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8895390
date added to LUP
2016-11-24 11:20:42
date last changed
2016-11-24 11:20:42
@misc{8895390,
  abstract     = {Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by informal transportation services compensating for the lack of institutionalised transportation system. In Kampala, Uganda, the vast army of boda-boda (boda) motorcycle taxis have proliferated through the city, with passengers and/or cargo goods straddled behind the boda drivers as they navigate through the city’s congested and dilapidated roads. Despite the strong presence of informal transport in developing cities, local governments often regulate against them as they do not fit the desired modern image. Against this backdrop, the dynamics of the system, perception and needs of the users themselves are neglected and unknown. Therefore, this study aims to identify the role of informal mobility in the sustainable urban landscape by investigating the boda sector in Kampala from the users’ (i.e. passengers and cargo) lens. Qualitative Geographical Information System (GIS) as a mixed-methods approach was adopted for the research, explicitly: GIS analysis, questionnaire surveys, interviews, and unstructured observations. The study develops understanding of the boda demand – travel patterns, trip purposes, profiles, perceptions, and aspirations of the boda users. Visual representations and findings are discussed vis-à-vis the sustainable mobility dimensions. The study finds that the boda physical attributes influence the types of market served including service areas and users. More importantly, the boda market morphs according to the city’s prevailing activities throughout the day, signifying how bodas are woven into the urbanites’ life and the city itself. This is more distinctive for lower income groups, working population, and areas with high formal and informal economic activities. Nonetheless, the high social costs resulting from unprofessional driving and high accident rates should justify intervention by formal and informal institutions. Overall, this study identifies the complementary role of the boda system and advocate for its integration into the public transport system through three transition pathways, namely improvement, complementary planning, and institutional reform. This analysis suggests that the informal mobility system and users should be engaged in changing the negative narratives of the sector and working towards sustainable urban mobility and development.},
  author       = {Ch Ng, Sin Yi},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {sustainable mobility,informal transport,boda-boda,Kampala,qualitative visualisation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Masters Thesis},
  title        = {Rethinking Sustainable Mobility: Understanding the use of boda-boda motorcycle taxis in Kampala, Uganda},
  year         = {2016},
}