Transportation Equity in South Africa

By Jessie Feller Hahn, Executive Director, Meeting of the Minds

Jessie Feller Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds where she is responsible for identifying global urban sustainability, innovation, technology best practices and thought leadership, developing platforms for city leaders to share lessons learned, and building alliances and partnerships across and within sectors.

I spoke last week with Njogu Morgan, a post-doctoral researcher specializing in transportation equity in Africa, specifically South Africa, where he is based. As a historian, his research centers around how we can use historical context to better understand current transportation system inequities and access. He’s starting a new research network of emerging and developing scholars who are interested in mobility issues from a historical perspective.

The quality of the user experience in South African transportation aligns, almost exactly, to the demographic profile of the user. In essence, those who can afford it will drive. There is, however, the new train system in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that is clean, efficient, and affordable – so there are examples from the African continent on both sides of the equity discussion. We also discussed the lingering effects of colonialism and Apartheid on South African transportation, and more about the research network he’s developing.

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