Towards Smart Urban Transportation System in Harare, Zimbabwe

Towards Smart Urban Transportation System in Harare, Zimbabwe

Elmond Bandauko (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Tinashe Bobo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe) and Gladys Mandisvika (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5210-9.ch042
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The concept of smart transportation systems is increasingly becoming critical in addressing the challenges posed by an increasing number of mega cities in both developed and developing regions in maintaining safety, smooth traffic flow, and an environmentally friendly and sustainable urban environment. The Government of Zimbabwe deregulated its transport sector in the early 1990s. This development ushered in the informal public transport operators, locally referred to as ‘kombis'. Major cities such as Harare are characterised by a disjointed and chaotic urban public transport system. The major problems are the impacts this has on the quality of the environment. Currently, the urban public transport system is contributing greatly to both air and noise pollution within the confines of the city, especially in the Central Business Districts. The problem is further exacerbated by the massive importation of used vehicles from outside the country. These developments have resulted in high emission rates of major air pollutants resulting in a deterioration of the ambient air quality especially in the major cities such as Harare. Transportation is a major source of air pollutants. Vehicles are probably the largest single source of pollutants such as hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Other harmful emissions include as lead, benzene, arsenic, aldehydes, sulphates, particulate matter and the secondary creation of ozone. In Harare the number of registered vehicles increased from 192 901 in 1994 to 292 862 and by August 1999 showing that the increase in the number of vehicles is mostly in the cities. This chapter seeks to explore how smart transportation system can be adopted in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. Harare was purposefully selected as it is experiencing rapid urbanization and motorization in the country. Using documentary analysis, discourse analysis and textual analysis, the chapter also describes and examines the challenges, constraints and opportunities of adopting smart urban transportation system in Harare. From this chapter the major conclusions are that the main problem associated with this rapid growth in vehicle population in the major cities is increase concentration of line and area emission sources due to traffic congestion at peak times. The stock of vehicles is quite old and they lack emission control equipment. Major constraints and limitations are observed in the current pieces of legislation. For example, the current Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (1971) does not require vehicles to be fitted with emission control equipment. Most of the vehicles use leaded fuel resulting in emission of the dangerous lead particulate matter in the urban areas. There is therefore an urgent need to design and implement air pollution control measures in the urban areas of the country. It is also critical to develop smart and eco-friendly transportation infrastructures so as to achieve sustainable urban communities. The integration of transportation, land use and decision making is also critical in the achievement of smart transport.
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Research Statement

Developing countries have over the years experienced a rapid growth of cities and improvements in car ownership ratios. This phenomena has enhanced a challenge in transport systems of major cities such as Harare in Zimbabwe. The development of the increase in the number of mega cities in the developing part of the world has caused a steaming challenge in the quest to manage safety, smooth traffic flow and an environmentally friendly and sustainable urban environment in terms of transportation. Transportation challenges in some countries such as Harare have been caused largely by policy interventions in the transport sector such as the Zimbabwe Deregulation of the transport sector in the early 1990s mainly after the failure of the Economic Structural Adjustment Policy (ESAP). The deregulation and other factors in the developing world facilitates the informal public transport system which is mainly associated with urban evils such as congestion and chaotic urban public transport system which impacts on the quality of the urban environment. The public transport system also causes a great deal of air and noise pollution within the confines of cities especially in the densely populated and developed city centres. Due to these adverse impacts that results from the use of the kombis and taxes as forms of the informal transport systems which are mostly outmoded planners and city strategists concerned with the transport ecosystem have devised a smarter transportation system as a means to mitigate the impacts of informal transport system. This paper tries to discuss the scope and plight of adopting and improving the concept of the smarter urban transport system in Harare, Zimbabwe looking at the opportunities, challenges, cases, issues and some relevant information that is necessary.

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