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April 26, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

Walking is Big in African Cities

The Think Africa Press recently published a piece on the status of transportation modes in African cities, pointing out the fact in many of the cities, residents primarily travel by walking. For example, 73% of trips are by walking in Dakar, Senegal.

The piece points out that the planning for transportation in those cities are very different than in European (and USA) cities:

The reduction in motorized transport and the growth in non-motorized modes of tranport such as walking and cycling is a trend already advocated by European planning principles. In many European Union (EU) cities, the street is now claimed for pedestrian use, the supremacy of cars is questioned and a balance, whith different modes of transport equally sharing the street, is seen as the ideal approach.

African cities instead have to plan to increase infrastructure, safety and amenities for people who already walk.  Pedestrians are choosing that as their primary trip mode because of they are low-income and cannot afford private automobiles, and the cities’ public transportation systems are inadequate. Therefore, it is important to design spaces where pedestrians are accommodated.

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