Who could benefit from a bus rapid transit system in cities from developing countries? A case study from Kampala, Uganda

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - africa, place - urban, mode - bus rapid transit, policy - social exclusion, policy - congestion, land use - planning


Mobility, Urban planning, Bus rapid transit, Social exclusion, Accessibility


The present rapid urban growth of cities from developing countries causes negative externalities such as lagging infrastructure development. In combination with rapidly rising motorized vehicle use this leads to severe traffic congestion affecting the mobility of the urban residents. Therefore many urban governments are planning to improve their transport and mobility situations with mass rapid transit systems of which a bus rapid transit (BRT) is a rather easy system to implement at reasonable costs. However, due to high urban inequalities the effects of urban traffic and potential improvements of the urban transport system for the diverse group of urban residents can differ significantly. In our case study Kampala (Uganda) four main groups were identified through cluster analysis of socio-economic and residential data gathered through interviews: extreme poor, poor, middle income and rich. Each group experiences a different mobility with the extreme poor being the most vulnerable group. The planned BRT system aims to decrease the average travel time but risks to exclude the lowest income class since not enough attention is paid to the affordability of the system to all residents. Therefore we argue for a policy that works from bottom up and pays attention to the internal diversity of the population.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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