MAC Research Forum

Welcome and join us November 9, for knowledge exchange and discussions on: ”Current issues in informal public transport: Users’ information needs, new ICT platforms, and problems of police harassment”

DATE: Wednesday 9 November 2022
TIME: 12:00 – 02:00 PM GMT



Informal forms of transport (paratransit) are used, by necessity or choice, by many people who live and work in SSA cities. This Research Forum will explore future-oriented possibilities as well as limitations and problems in current practices within the informal transport sector in selected areas. While new possibilities for providing ICT-based information to users are rapidly being developed, little is known about actual information behavior/use among users or the implications of ICT-based platforms for how specific modes of transport (such as motorcycles for micro-logistics) develop among operators and users. This Forum will also address an important but underresearched problem in the informal/paratransit sector, namely the issue of police harassment of informal public transport operators.

Questions will include:

  • What types and formats of information do users of informal transport actually need, how do various forms of new ICT-based information affect their mobility behavior, and how can planners/providers make more effective use of such information to contribute to more empowered, well-informed public transport users? 
  • In what ways are new ICT apps/platforms currently being developed and used within the informal motorcycle sector, and what might be the long-term implications of such “motorcycle/platform logistics”?
  • What do we know about various forms of police harassment of informal transport operators, what are the implications, and what polices and strategies should be adopted to ensure safe working environments for  informal operators?


Welcome and introduction, Henrik Nolmark, Director VREF

Moderator: Winnie Mitullah, University of Nairobi, Kenya,


“Towards the empowered commuter: exploring information behavior in informal public transport users in Uganda and South Africa” 
Presenter: Christo Venter, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Discussant: Alicia Fortuin, University of Cape Town. South Africa.

“Platform Politics and Silicon Savannahs 2.0: mobility apps and fintech”
Presenter: Rike Sitas, University of the Western Cape and University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Discussant: Olawale AkogunUniversity of Ibadan, Nigeria.

“A Comparative Study of Police Harassment of Informal Public Transport Operator in Two African Cities”

Presenter: Ayobami Abayomi Popoola, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Discussant: Genevivie Ankunda, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

General group discussion


In 2021, the “Mobility and Access in African Cities” (MAC) programme launched a series of virtual seminars or “webinars” (which are called Research Forum) on issues related to sustainable urban mobility and equitable access in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) cities. This series is being continued in 2022. 

The purpose of the Research Forum is: 

  • to stimulate scientific discussion of specific issues/themes related to sustainable urban mobility and equitable access in SSA; 
  • to provide an opportunity for scholars to present and discuss their on-going work with research colleagues within the MAC community; 
  • to provide a meeting place for dialogue and exchange among researchers and other stakeholders within the MAC communi

Do you have questions, thoughts or ideas related to the MAC programme? Do not hesitate to contact us: