Managing accessibility for sustainable development

Due to accelerated population growth, weak institutional capacity, inherent deficiencies in existing infrastructure services and limited fiscal space, most cities of the developing world are struggling to manage and guide harmonious development of their cities. The result is soaring deficiency of affordable housing, long commutes, congestion, pollution and steady deterioration of access by many to economic opportunities and community services. This is affecting the city’s agglomeration economy, and the quality of living and business environment.

Traditionally, transportation policy makers and practitioners favoured roadway investment (mobility) which has largely failed to deliver on the broader urban goals relating to economic growth, social integration and sustainable development. The new approach to urban transport and urban land management thus focuses on sustaining adequate accessibility that favors the ability for people to access economic and social opportunities (jobs, health care, education, child care) with less emphasis on traditional measures of increasing vehicular throughput of roads.

This project looks at how to operationalize the new approach within the city management of Kigali, using context-responsive simple investment and policy decision-making process, and deviate from the traditional approach of time consuming, less frequent and expensive long-term planning process. Thus, the project aims to develop a simple framework for measuring and monitoring accessibility within Kigali, and test its applicability in the city’s management process.

For the purpose a four-step process is proposed: 1) Data collection: All necessary data on road network, public transport services and spatial variables (employment locations, population, social activity centers etc.) will be collected from the COK, MININFRA, local census data and private and public transport service providers. World Pop will be another source to get geo-referenced population data. In addition the World Bank will be contacted for additional Kigali specific information and GIS shape files. 2) Urban accessibility model development: An interactive web based tool, Transport Analyst (OTPA, an open source, web-based tool), will utilize road network and transit attributes data of Kigali to calculate the travel times between various locations of the city. The tool will combine the estimated times for each mode of travel (road or public transport) and the location of opportunities (employment, schools, clinics etc.) to calculate accessibility from each location of the city. 3) Investment and Policy Scenarios: In consultation with the COK and MININFRA a few high priority scenarios of planned public investment and policies will be developed for evaluation and alternative generation. 4) Evaluation and Decision Making Framework: Based on a review of the current decision making process the applicability of accessibility framework will be examined, and necessary recommendations will be made for mainstreaming its use.

The increasing popularity of spatial analysis tools and growing use of computers have now opened new opportunities for operationalising accessibility based policy and investment decisionmaking. Therefore, the experience of Kigali will be of great value to many other developing world cities, particularly in Africa, that may consider adopting the new paradigm of spatial management.

Outputs