In Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest city with around 325,000 residents, the population is growing at a rate of more than 4 percent a year. Most...
In Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest city with around 325,000 residents, the population is growing at a rate of more than 4 percent a year. Most of this growth is concentrated in the informal settlements on the periphery. Windhoek is struggling with high levels of pollution and a range of social and economic problems, partly related to its ailing urban transport infrastructure. Until recently, local public transport consisted of a few bus routes with an unreliable service. Road safety was poor, with high fatality rates among pedestrians and cyclists, and many people resorted to expensive private taxis to get to work on time.
But since early 2016, 26 modern city buses have been operating on a new route network across Windhoek. And for the first time, the city has a roadmap to guide its initial steps towards sustainable urban mobility. The Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan (‘Move Windhoek’), launched in November 2015, is the outcome of a partnership between the Namibian Ministry of Works and Transport, the City of Windhoek and the German Development Agency (GIZ) GmbH, working on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Master Plan supports the development of a new and improved infrastructure, including provision for pedestrians and cyclists: local residents are already benefiting from around 18 km of new walkways and eight km of new cycle routes.
“Car-centred transport planning that does not adequately consider the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and local mobility is a major challenge to sustainable development in Windhoek and other cities in Namibia,” says Heinrich Semar, GIZ Team Leader for the Move Windhoek project. The Master Plan therefore provides equal access for all transport users. It’s an innovative approach that has now won a major accolade – the Africa Grow with Public Transport Award for Integrated Mobility from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). The project has also been showcased at the United Nations as a best practice roadmap for sustainable mobility in Africa.
Move Windhoek has raised the general public’s awareness of integrated mobility and has inspired a rethinking of transport policy in Namibia. The country’s latest Transport White Paper defines a new framework for sustainable urban mobility throughout the country – and this is one of the project’s most significant achievements.
Further information: Habitat III
Sustainable mobility is a key item on the agenda at the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), due to take place in Quito in Ecuador from October 17-20. GIZ will also showcase various projects on sustainable urban development at the conference.