Researchers at the University of York are leading an international effort to tackle problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution and road safety in Africa.
They are coordinating an international drive to strengthen scientific and technological support to enable the implementation of sustainable transport policies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Transport and Environment - Science Technology (TEST) Network is led by the University of York's Stockholm Environment Institute and the European branch of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, based in Germany.
The network involves universities from six Africa countries, UN-Habitat, and the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD). It is funded by the EC African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Science and Technology Programme.
The three-year capacity building project will strengthen networking, share knowledge, and enhance research capacity on transport and environment science and technological issues.
African partners include the Centre for Transport Studies, University of Cape Town (South Africa), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), Ardhi University (Tanzania), Makerere University (Uganda), University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) and University of Zambia (Zambia).
The Network's inaugural meeting at the University of Cape Town agreed a programme of activities including an assessment of research capacity and benchmarking good transport practice. The Network will also develop a knowledge data base on transport and environment issues, as well as holding national stakeholder meetings, seminars and training programmes.
A key component of the Network will be communicating science and disseminating knowledge to key stakeholders. The Network will hold a workshop on science communication for African researchers. The programme of activities will culminate in a UN Regional Policy Dialogue on Transport and Environment Science and Technology at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi in 2012.
Dr Gary Haq, TEST Network coordinator, said: "Millions of African citizens live out their daily lives in conditions that contribute to ill health, poverty and lack of opportunity. Road safety, traffic congestion, urban air pollution, road maintenance, accessibility and mobility problems are key challenges in Africa. Transport policies that deliver sustainable cities, healthy citizens, development and poverty eradication are urgently needed.
"The Network is a major new initiative bringing together African researchers, international organisations and University of York academics. We aim to mount a determined effort to improve air quality, reduce death and injury on the roads, reduce greenhouse gases and widen opportunity and accessibility for all, but especially those on very low incomes. We are excited at the prospect of taking part in such an important project."
Notes to Editors:
- The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an international, independent environment and development research institute. It is a part of an international network of centres with the York centre based in the Department of Biology at the University of York.
- The University of York's Department of Biology is one of the leading centres for biological teaching and research in the UK. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, it was ranked equal first among broad spectrum bioscience departments in the UK for quality that was judged to be world-leading. The Department both teaches degree courses and undertakes research across the whole spectrum of modern Biology, from molecular genetics and biochemistry to ecology. Its biomedical research includes an Immunology and Infection Unit (jointly with the Hull York Medical School), work on infertility and three research professors funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and York Against Cancer.