The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have unprecedented impacts on urban mobility worldwide. Many cities curbed all but essential travel and restricted public transport capacity as a way of reducing virus transmission. COVID-19 therefore created a new urgency to identify the vital corridors, priority neighbourhoods and service destination catchments where streets and public space needed quick, responsive and practical change to enable people to walk and cycle safely in their communities.
At the end of 2020, most information on COVID-19 transport priorities and responses had come from high-income countries, predominantly in Europe and the Americas. Less was known about what was happening in low- and middle-income countries, especially those in Africa, where walking was already the most common mode of transport, with far higher mode shares than anywhere else in the world (SLoCaT, 2018).
The COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity to investigate how African cities responded to the rapid increases in people walking and cycling due to restrictions on public transport, and how to lock in any responses to ensure more of the needs are met of those who walk and cycle as their primary form of travel.