Shifting the Mobility Paradigm of Intermediate Cities in Tanzania : Urban Transport for People

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    June 2021
Tanzania’s intermediate cities have the potential to play a critical role in the country’s economic development. To reap the benefits of urbanization, however, cities need to lay the groundwork for productive and inclusive growth, and that requires establishing mobility systems for people rather than private cars. The high rates of urban population growth in the country are an opportunity to reap the benefits of agglomeration economies and contribute to economic growth and shared prosperity, but they also represent a challenge: to deliver urban services to a rapidly growing population in a timely and sustainable manner. One of these services, mobility, is key to bringing people and businesses closer to each other and spurring growth. Relying uniquely on private, motorized modes of transport (i.e., cars and motorcycles) comes with large economic, social, and environmental costs. It fuels a cycle of automobile dependence where high motorization rates lead to congestion, which leads policymakers to invest in more roads at high expense, which in turn induces higher motorization and urban sprawl. As many cities in the world have witnessed, including Dar es Salaam, as a city grows, it is increasingly costly to retrofit and break this cycle of automobile dependence; as such, enhancing sustainable urban mobility at an early stage is key to taking advantage of the benefits of urbanization in intermediate cities in Tanzania. This report assesses the state of mobility in intermediate cities and proposes four areas, strategic vision, governance, finance, and management, where intervention would allow Tanzania to prepare these cities’ mobility systems for a more sustainable future. Sustainable urban mobility, in practice, is achieved with dense, livable cities, non-motorized transport (NMT) infrastructure, and high-quality public transport systems. Aligning the strategic vision towards these goals, establishing institutional arrangements that meet urban mobility needs, tapping into new finance sources for the sector, and improving management and operations for a more efficient use of available resources can ensure Tanzania’s intermediate cities and their mobility systems are ready for future growth and development.