Reducing the carbon footprint from transportation in growing cities: Application of city planning approaches in Kampala City, Uganda
Mukwaya, Paul Isolo
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This study addresses the carbon footprint of transportation in Kampala City and how city planning approaches can be used to reduce it. Kampala City`s development is attracting more vehicles onto its already congested streets every day and subsequently concerns have been raised over the level of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions generated. Using data from a travel survey conducted in 2009 integrated with key stakeholder interviews and literature searches, this study addressed three objectives: 1) the extent to which city planning approaches have influenced transport development paths in Kampala City, 2) CO2 emissions associated with alternate patterns/configurations of transport and city growth in Kampala City, and 3) the level of intervention and effectiveness of city planning institutions to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation in Kampala City. Results indicate that the planning framework under which transportation in Kampala City is governed and planned has evolved over time. The growth in the number and use of` motor vehicles, together with the ramifications of that growth, has been among the most conspicuous features of the modern Kampala economy, as well as one of the most influential forces on its natural and built environment. The road network has evolved from, and overlays, earlier patterns of` urban development representing different stages in Uganda and Kampala's history. The network reflects tribal influences from pre-colonial times and the colonial period - both belonging to the pre-motorization era - which initiated the growth of Kampala as a national focal point. The transport landscape in Kampala is not a product of a grand master plan or design framework but a product of thousands of decisions made by individuals, organizations and several government agencies. The major planning of the city was done in 1951 and put in place by 1956 and during this time, the city was planned for 100,000 people. Since then major planning efforts have been tried but they have never been implemented. This is blamed on KCC’s failure to implement/enforce planning recommendations, continued political interference, conflicting land use policies, uncoordinated instructions between KCC and the Ministry of Local Government. Failure to implement the plans has also been attributed to the instability that the city and country was plunged into in the l970s and the early 1980, and the lack of funds to implement the 1994 Structure Plan. The end result is that development in Kampala has continued to be haphazard, unplanned and located outside planning areas with serious CO2 emissions implications. Significant planning variables that explained the variance in CO2 emissions were Job-housing balance, access score, household density, road distance and employment density. The combination of these factors explain 65% of the variance in energy use (Adj. R2 = 0.53) meaning that 47% of the variation in CO2 is attributable to factors other than those presented in the model. Four scenarios using the Long Range Alternatives Planning (LEAP) model were explored to determine their potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the city. These scenarios included: Business as Usual Scenario, Road infrastructure development scenario, public transport development scenario and employment creation scenario. Results from city scale analyses of the scenarios showed that the employment creation scenario generated the highest potential to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation in the city. The 40-year time frame (2000-2040) showed that the employment creation scenario is associated with a 103% increase in C02 emissions (978 to 1986 thousand tons of CO2 emissions) compared to 202% for the road infrastructure scenario (978 to 2953 thousand tons of CO2 emissions), 2153% for the public transport scenario (978 to 22044 thousand tons of C02 emissions), and 9825% for the Business as usual scenario (978 to 97103 thousand tons of CO2 emissions). What can be said with confidence is that with increases in fuel consumption and vehicle population, CO2 emissions are high in the city. However, the era of C02 emissions and vehicle regulation and management is short in Kampala but provides rich experiences. This study makes it clear that the CO2 emissions are not, at present time, a relatively compelling transportation problem. Available planning institutions indicate that their influence on CO2 emissions is unintended and not deliberate. Many existing institutions only have indirect influences on CO2 because of the vehicle attributes around which the policies are designed. Their existence is built on fiscal reasons of raising government revenue with little consideration for environmental problems. The most promising approach targeting environmental effects of motor vehicle use is the environmental levy. Whether KCCA will succeed in instituting appropriate CO2 emissions reduction measures and plans and take even more determined action in the future remains unclear and this ultimately makes the evaluation of institutional effectiveness in Kampala City a challenging task. This study recommends that for Kampala City to adopt low carbon path from transport, there is a need to increase the number of jobs generated in several sub-centres and Traffic Analysis Zones so that travelling distances are reduced. This should be reinforced by measures that improve road infrastructure and public transportation in the city. Market based institutions that influence vehicle purchase and vehicle use decisions should be redesigned to directly enhance and reinforce command and control/regulatory approaches to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions.