“Walking is our asset”: How to retain walking as a valued mode of transport in African cities

Jack Benton, Gail Jennings, Jim Walker, James Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Walking is the primary mode of transport in African cities. Despite a growing number of policies recognizing the need to retain and protect people walking, walking infrastructure is still lacking on the continent. There is a dearth of research about the key barriers and enablers that influence the way in which transport and urban planning policies are implemented in Africa, and international best practices lack relevance for African contexts. This study explores the political and decision-making processes in transport authorities in Africa to understand why walking receives marginal resource allocation and operationalisation. Thirteen semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with national-and city-level stakeholders working in transport policy and practice in Africa. Stakeholders perceived that walking is undervalued by stakeholders and by those who do not have to walk. Barriers to change include ineffective policies, and limited capacity and knowledge to affect change. Importantly, a major constraint for African city authorities to support walking is the bias of funding towards large infrastructure schemes rather than just the availability of funding. A redefinition of a successful mobility system was perceived as necessary to transform the way that walking is valued. This study has important implications to better support walking in African cities.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number104297
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2023


  • walking
  • active mobility
  • NMT
  • Africa
  • Pedestrian travel
  • Transport policy


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