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Introducing Cycle Paths To The Urban Streets of Harare

By

Bothwell Batidzirai


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The rapid population growth rate and urbanisation in Zimbabwe has resulted in inadequate matching capacity to the growing demand for transport. The enormous demand has resulted in unreliable transport services. Problems bedeviling the transport sector include: inefficient vehicles, inadequate infrastructure, poor traffic management and misuse or lack of resources. The transport sector is a major consumer of energy amounting to 14% of total energy consumption, which is 76% of all liquid fuels. The country does not have oil resources and relies on imported oil; which puts an enormous burden on foreign exchange requirements. Sustainable transport can yield significant savings on the foreign exchange used to import fuels, in addition to reducing environmental emissions and related pollution. 

Previous studies show that Zimbabwe relies on air, rail and road transport, with limited inland water transport. Some of the policy recommendations emanating from these studies include improving the infrastructure; encouraging alternative, economic modes of transport, especially mass transportation and non –motorized options; encouraging vehicle efficiency; reducing the need to travel, especially by providing good telecommunication and decentralization of amenities; encouraging research and development in alternative fuels, focusing on local fuels and lastly, providing incentives for fuel efficiency and other measures. 

Working Paper 306 covers a study, which looks at the option of switching to non-motorized transport in Zimbabwe. The option discusses promotion of cycle paths along selected routes. Three routes are considered; Chadcombe - Msasa Park – Cranborne – Hatfield – Braeside – Hillside – Eastlea - City corridor; Kuwadzana – Warren Park – Belvedere – City route and lastly, that preferred for a pilot project, the Highfield – Southerton – City corridor. If this project is successful, it is hoped to be replicated in other areas to increase the number of people switching to non-motorized transport. Any reduction in fuel consumption will yield significant benefits. Fuel savings will reduce Zimbabwe’s fuel import bill and save on the foreign currency needed by other sectors of the economy. Zimbabwe imports between 18 to 24% of its energy requirements, which are financed through debt. The energy sector debt increased considerably to between 16-22% in the 1980s. 

Investments in transport infrastructure have tended to reduce the diversity of modal options, forcing people and goods to use the few high-cost modes, rather than the most appropriate and affordable means. The goal should be to seek robustness in every transport system produced by great diversity of modes and differentiation. A more diverse transport system is likely to be less susceptible to inefficiency, disruption, and system failure [Figueroa, et. al, 1997].


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