Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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Case Study 11

Mitigating Transport Sector GHG Emissions: Options for Uganda
Stephen A.K. Magezi
AFREPREN Climate theme group
P.O. Box 7025, KAMPALA, Uganda

Keywords: NMT, mass transit, fuel efficiency

This study outlines some options to achieve fuel savings in the mass transit sector in Uganda. It also looks at the likely impacts of introducing non-motorised transport (NMT) to complement motorised transport (MT), especially within Kampala City. Four cluster options were analysed: mass transit (MS), road management and maintenance, NMT, and enhanced telecommunications. Out of the four, mass transit and NMT were further analysed for mitigation options to reduce GHG emissions.

The study addresses land transportation including the motor vehicle, rail transport and NMT. Historical emissions were estimated using both the top-down and bottom-up approaches of IPCC recommended methodologies. The energy demanded by mass transit was estimated using the Long-Range Energy Alternative Planning model (LEAP) and focused on mini-buses, large buses and trains.

The following assumptions were made:

  • The vehicle fleet is ageing and poorly maintained.
  • There is low NOx control in diesel vehicles.
  • Petrol motor vehicles conform to unspecified European standards.
  • The energy utilisation industry is liable to change for various mitigation scenarios.

The following observations influenced the analysis:

  • The growth rate of mini-buses was very high, increasing GHG emissions as well as the gap between the national diesel budget and the petrol budget.
  • Mass transit in the form of buses was non-existent in urban areas, while in up country both the coach and train were easily outcompeted by mini-buses.
  • Fuel prices in Uganda were the highest within the Great Lakes region and have led to increased fuel smuggling into the country.
  • Fiscal considerations rather than energy efficiency or environmental considerations influenced the national energy policy for transport.
  • Within urban centres (Kampala) the designed-for average daily traffic (ADT) had been exceeded, leading to severe urban traffic congestion with increased fuel consumption and GHG emissions.
  • The study on comparing energy intensity and transportation capacity found that most of the petrol consuming vehicles had a lower capacity (passengers per kilogram of fuel per vehicle - kilometre), and that the bus was the best choice for mass transit in Uganda.
  • Pedal bicycle counts showed that between 1988 and 1996, bicycle transport had become a major transport option (growing by 212%) on Kampala roads, leading to some increased traffic congestion.
  • Telephone density was the lowest in the region, at 0.17/100 inhabitants.

In view of those findings, policies should aim at replacing mini-buses with buses and should estimate different emissions scenarios.

NMT lanes should be provided for 42 selected kilometres of urban roads, with a further option of making the Central Business District (CBD) a traffic free zone.

It was also found that there is a considerable saving in energy demand depending on the scenario:

Energy Demand in Giga Joules by 2010
  Mass Transit NMT  
Base Case 1.4 x 108 1.4 x 108
Alternative Scenario 1.2 x 108 8.0 x 107
Aggressive Scenario 8.2 x 107 7.8 x 107


MT 640 1.7 2.65
NMT + MT 725 2.0+1.7 5.10

The analysis had considerable impact on policy consultation. Key players in the transportation sector were consulted during the survey, and an exchange between the researchers and the policymakers recorded. Also, at a workshop on incremental costs of implementing the UNFCCC in the transport sector, key players were invited and gave their recommendations. At this workshop, all climate theme researchers participated.

Current Status

Several roads within the city have been turned into one way streets to reduce on traffic congestion.
A company to organise parking space within Kampala has been contracted, and had the effect of reducing traffic congestion considerably (yet to be assessed).
Kampala City Council is in agreement with the creation of NMT lanes but has yet to mobilise resources.

Mini-buses continue to dominate mass transit, but Government has plans to privatise motor vehicle inspection to improve both fuel utilisation efficiency and general fitness of the motor vehicle fleet.
Government has recently put in place a Road Agency Formulation Unit (RAFU) with the objective to prepare modalities for a Uganda Roads Authority. The Authority will be autonomous and will advise on transport policy as well as management of roads. To date the Chief Executive of RAFU has been appointed.

Lessons Learned
There is no direct forum through which research could be fed into government policies. Nevertheless, use of senior government and research personnel in their respective fields has led to considerable interaction between policymakers and scientists. In the future, it may be advisable to arrange workshops or seminars for policymakers so research will be more influential and remove some of the barriers against the transfer of technology.


This case study has been made possible through the kind support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPREN).

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