Category: PODcast

243 | Slowly brewing Bus Rapid Transit praxis with Fatoumata Diallo

Policy transfer, is sometimes like a heart transplant, other times it lands like a spaceship foreign and clouded in disbelief.

This conversation with Fatoumata Diallo, takes a life of its own as we branch between history, project teams and politics as a film strip rolls her dissertation out in full view.

In some instances, we find our way back into her previous research, especially the interviews with stakeholders in a Bus Rapid Transit project, here in South Africa– Cape Town, to be exact.

In others, we drift into a lanes dedicated to transport professionals who must now open up to a more diverse project team, or seal the project as an engineering success, a policy demonstration or an accessible transport mode.

She takes a balanced tone toward what a successful BRT entails, but as this bubbles up to the surface, the templates are diffused by context: Lagos, Cape Town and Paris.

I sincerely hope you take note of this conversation, as it probably holds true in many policy imports which require a more comparative politick: rather than a one sided analysis.

For interested listeners, Astrid Wood is the recommended scholar here. From me, I’d say take a glimpse at the equity impacts of BRT from Christoffel Venter and colleagues in this paper.

Either way, everyone has tried: Erick Motshwane  from the South African National Taxi Council was optimistic about integration; Enrique Penalosa got it “right” in one view in Bogotá; and Lagos is far from perfect, but they are making means to expand on what Cape Town struggles with.

However, Paris is doing it differently, and electrification is the next best layer for effective BRT sales pitches. For Africa, Mohamed Hegazy puts it quite squarely: electrify, urgently.

He calls for much more than this though. He asks us to rethink transport in Africa, leveraging on both the technological opportunities from network companies, and public and private partners facilitating a transition toward a cleaner and more sustainable future.

It is this transition that concerns us, at least in this episode, as an underlying theme: who are the people involved and how will their ideas shape the end result? You’ve heard this in the episode with Nico, it’s quite similar.

Perhaps this will drive the podcast, or set the tone. Perhaps we need a different perspective, a new insight, a nuanced approach to these issues. It is hard to tell, but if we listen closely there is certainly more to come.


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