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Introducing Cyclist and Pedestrian Pathways to the Urban Streets of Gaborone - Botswana

By

Peter P. Zhou


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This paper presents non-motorized transport (NMT) in form of pedestrian and cyclists’ facilities as a transport measure in the City of Gaborone, Botswana, to mitigate against problems like traffic congestion, accidents, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.  The option is considered in the context of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) funding, which would involve reduction of GHG as a precondition. The option is coined as a GEF funded pilot project to popularise NMT and attract investments and maintenance of the NMT infrastructure. 

Currently, there is a need to collect data on travel demand using NMT mode and estimate the energy savings if that demand is met by commuters currently using motorized transport.  Known data indicate that walking is already an important mode of transport particularly during the morning peak times. However, the pedestrians and the few cyclists that are there are at risk because they do not have dedicated paths protected from motorists. The proposed NMT option would then address the issues of safety and convenience of pathways. 

This paper, after examining the existing institutional framework for transport and energy sectors in Botswana, presents the need for an integrated approach to addressing transport and the related energy problems.  Presented below are the conclusions derived from this analysis.

  Conclusions 

  1. Traffic congestion is a concern to the City Authorities of Gaborone.

  1. There is need to provide adequate and safe pedestrian facilities in the city but emphasis has been placed on road development to drive the economy.

  1. Low usage of bicycles is realised in the city but this could be as a result of unsafe cycle tracks which currently are on the same road as motorists.

  1. The present level of public transport is not adequate at peak hours and that results in long waiting hours at bus stops and delays in getting to work.

  1. NMT could be a transport measure to contribute to meeting transport needs particularly of the low income, while also limiting transport energy demand, and air pollution and GHG emissions. NMT will also reduce accidents and can be implemented at a reasonable cost.

  1. The major category of people involved in road accidents in the city are pedestrians of age 15 - 39 years of age.

  1. Some routes where NMT could have been tried have been identified although further data is required to know the travel demand involving NMT.

  1. To influence transition to NMT there should be some policies, regulatory measures and institutional support encouraging motorist shift to cleaner modes of transport.

Recommendations 

  1. The initial recommendation is to get adequate data on travel demand on the selected route to assess potential shift to NMT and the related reductions of energy demand and GHG emissions. The final selection of the routes could be done with key stakeholders like the GCC at the initiation workshop. 

  1. Awareness and lobbying with key stakeholders is necessary to popularise NMT in Botswana.

  1. The pilot project should be able to demonstrate the convenience of NMT as a means of transport, without fear of accidents, crime and anxiety.

  1. Strong legislation protecting pedestrians and cyclists should be enforced for NMT to be popular.


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