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African innovation and research win at Summit of transport ministers

102 days ago

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Source: International Transport Forum

A Ugandan programme to reduce emissions and a Kenya-based electric vehicle-transition project are the recent winners of the prestigious International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award.

With 64 member countries, The International Transport Forum (ITF) is an intergovernmental think tank for transport policies and is the only global body that covers all transport types. The ITF campaign aims to improve the lives of people by trend analysis and sharing knowledge to deeper understand the role of transport for economic and environmental gains. The ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and is a platform for discussion and reform.

The innovation category of the International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award went to Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives for its campaigning to reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions. The startup initiative is made up of 400 local mechanics who navigate Ugandan’s capital city, Kampala, to improve the environmental inconsistencies from the capital’s most polluting cars. Kampala regularly exceeded the WHO safety guidelines on air pollution by a staggering six-fold, so there was an urgency with the need to improve the air quality. The Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives searched for solutions to the emissions problems and produced data-driven reports that flagged the problem to the public to gain their support. The EUR 10,000 prize will be used on quantifying equipment to further educate the city’s residents and reduce emissions, and may also be utilised in a possible electric vehicle conversion programme.

The Wanyama Autosafety Initiative Executive Director accepted the award at the ITF Summit on “Transport for Inclusive Societies” in Leipzig, Germany on 20th May 2022, commenting that, “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.”

More information on Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives can be found here.

The research category of the ITF Decarbonising Transport Award went to the Transition To Electric Boda Boda in the Nairobi City County, Kenya project. Nairobi City County has a notable motorcycle taxi network but is often not considered for electric vehicle transitions. The research category winners will now be able to explore any policy, legal and institutional hindrances that prevent the Boda Boda motorcycle network from inclusion in transport electrification policies.

The EUR 5,000 prize will allow the campaigners to collect data and research legality and policies in order to progress towards achieving Kenya’s sustainability goals. The study will further identify any essential steps needed to convert Boda Boda’s power from internal combustion engines into electric batteries. This will maximise Kenya’s environmental decarbonisation and adhere to the county’s wonderful renewable energy source production.

Accepting the award, James Moronge, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, commented: “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 recognises projects with great potential to aid in decarbonising transport in emerging economies. 37 applications, primarily from African, Latin American and Asian countries, 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.
More information can be found here.

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