Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

African innovation and research shine at Summit of transport ministers

A Ugandan emissions reduction programme and an electric-vehicle transition project from Kenya win the International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award

The International Transport Forum (ITF) announces the winners of its inaugural Decarbonising Transport Award. The ITF Decarbonising Transport Award winner in the innovation category is Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives for its efforts at reducing air pollution from vehicle emissions.

The Kampala-based start-up mobilises a network of over 400 local mechanics to improve the environmental performance of the Ugandan capital's most polluting vehicles. Born of an urgency to halt the detrimental effects of poor air quality in a city where pollution levels often reach six times the WHO's recommended safety limits, Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives spearheads research into solutions for transport-induced pollution. The initiative aims to increase public visibility and engagement and promotes a pragmatic, data-driven approach to tackling emissions.

The Ugandan project hopes to use the EUR 10 000 prize on equipment, including field-based data collection equipment that will bolster the evidence base for tackling vehicle emissions. Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives also hopes to launch an electric vehicle conversion programme.

Accepting the Award at the International Transport Forum's Summit on "Transport for Inclusive Societies" in Leipzig, Germany, on 20 May 2022, Michael R. Wanyama, Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives' Executive Director, said: "Our multi-faceted programme aims to address the devastating effects of air pollution in our largest city. Early results from this start-up venture clearly demonstrate that a community-based approach rooted in sound data analysis can result in better air quality and improved road safety. I hope the international recognition that comes with this prestigious Award will lead to a change in policies and a cleaner, sustainable mobility future in Uganda and beyond."

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The ITF Decarbonising Transport Award winner in the research category goes to the Transition To Electric Boda Boda in the Nairobi City County, Kenya project. Nairobi City County's ubiquitous motorcycle taxis form an integral part of the transport mix, but are often not considered in electric transition policies. The research addresses the policy, legal and institutional gaps that hinder the informal boda boda motorcycle network from inclusion in transport electrification policies.  

The EUR 5 000 prize will enforce the research projects' data collection capabilities, including on policy and regulatory frameworks in Kenya, and will allow researchers to measure the progress towards achieving Kenya's sustainable development goals. The study will identify the essential steps to change boda bodas' energy source from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric batteries. As Kenya produces around 70% of its energy from renewable sources, the switch to electric boda bodas would maximise the decarbonisation impact.

James Moronge, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, accepted the Award at the International Transport Forum's Summit on "Transport for Inclusive Societies" in Leipzig, Germany on 20 May 2022. He said: "Boda boda taxis have attained a significant place in catering to people's travel needs. They contribute significantly to load factor and vehicle kilometres travelled, as well as to emissions. It is important, therefore, that they be adapted to lower-emission energy sources, including battery-powered technology. I'm delighted that the relevance of this research is recognised at the International Transport Forum's Summit, and I hope that ITF's global reach will help us to share the insights of our work with other countries."

ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said: "We cannot achieve our climate goals without decarbonising transport. Emerging economies with growing demand for mobility face particular challenges. I am deeply impressed by the level of innovation and commitment to transport decarbonisation reflected in applications for ITF's new Decarbonising Transport Award. I am delighted that the ITF can support these carbon-neutral transport solutions through funding and support for research, outreach and dissemination. I hope that the Award winners will greatly benefit from the visibility of the Award and that we will continue to collaborate on our shared climate goals."

The ITF Decarbonising Transport Award, which recognises projects with great potential to help decarbonise transport in emerging economies, attracted 37 applications, primarily from African, Latin American and Asian countries. Applications were assessed by an internal and external jury representing a diverse set of countries and profiles. The two winning entries were selected from a total of seven finalists.

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Who we are
The International Transport Forum is an intergovernmental organisation with 64 member countries. It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes. The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD yet politically autonomous.

What we do
ITF works for transport policies that improve peoples' lives. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding of the role of transport in economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion and to raise the public profile of transport policy.

How we do it 
ITF organises global dialogue for better transport. We act as a platform for discussion and pre-negotiation of policy issues across all transport modes. We analyse trends, share knowledge and promote exchange among transport decision-makers and civil society. ITF's Annual Summit is the world's largest gathering of transport ministers and the leading global platform for dialogue on transport policy.

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