Accessible, safe and efficient transport is vital for people to access employment, and crucial services such as education and health, as well as other essential day-to-day experiences – which ultimately leads to strong communities and economic growth. Yet transport is unfortunately too often a barrier rather than an enabler for social and economic mobility – particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Meeting these challenges head on needs new ways of thinking. The HVT Transport-Technology Research and Innovation for International Development (T-TRIID) funding is supporting nine projects, four of which explore ideas that could help to unlock inclusive transport.
The four T-TRIID projects (highlighted below) are exploring inequalities in transport, pinpointing gaps in current systems and aiming to fill them with innovative new research.
Safety and mobility challenges of persons with disability in Mekelle City: towards inclusive urban transport
The team from Ethiopia’s Mekelle University identified a need to make the city’s transport system accessible to people with disabilities (PWDs)by making the planning, design and operation of infrastructures and services inclusive. Their project aims to explore the challenges of the existing transport system for persons with disabilities in the city, and proposes possible countermeasures. It intends to develop inclusive transport policies and strategies for PWDs that could be copied in cities across low-income countries.
Road design guideline considering three-wheeler slow-moving vehicles (Tri-SMV) for urban and rural roads of Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, Dr Nazmus Sakib and researchers from the Islamic University of Technology (IUT) are also working towards better inclusion in road design. Their project tackles the issues raised by roads designed only for motorized four-wheeled vehicles. Tri-SMVs, which make up as much as 80% of the traffic in Bangladesh, struggle with infrastructure such as speed bumps, leading to discomfort and safety concerns for passengers, particularly those who are mobility-impaired or vulnerable. The team plans to carry out quantification surveys, identifying potential problems and solutions to inform their design guide.
Safe and secure public transport
Sonal Shah and her team at The Urban Catalysts in Delhi are working to improve the safety of women on public transport by generating gender-sensitive transport data. The absence of regular and consistent gender-disaggregated data means that the needs of women and other genders in public transport planning, operations and decision-making are often ignored, obstructing efforts to provide safe and secure travel for them. “What gets measured gets improved,” says Sonal. By implementing gender-tagging in electronic ticketing systems on bus-based public transport in the city, they aim to improve women’s security, and close the gender gap in mobility data.
Gendered approach of addressing adaptation capacity to hot weather conditions
Another Dehli-based project seeks to address the adverse health effects of hot weather conditions on women commuters. Heat waves, when temperatures exceed 44 degrees Celcius, cause more than 3 deaths per million population annually in India. Professor Deepty Jain and her team at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, aim to improve women’s adaptation capacity to these conditions by collecting and analysing data on their travel patterns through focus group discussions, community engagement exercises and stakeholder workshops. They plan to develop methods to measure and assess the adaptability and vulnerability of commuters to hot weather and put in place strategies to enable women to travel more safely and comfortably.
Work on all the above projects commenced in July 2023 and will be completed in December.
Read here for more information on all nine projects.