Informal and Shared Mobility in Low and Middle Income Countries (ISM)

With its Informal and Shared Mobility program, VREF seeks to contribute to strengthening equity and sustainability in urban transport by supporting research that creates new knowledge among both scholars and various stakeholders who govern, de­sign and/or develop informal and shared mobility.

In summary, the program is characterized by:

  • a geographical focus on LMICs
  • comparative studies between different urban contexts
  • collaboration and exchange among researchers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) as well as in High- Income countries (HICs)
  • interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge building, education and learning

Scientific profile

The scientific profile of the program is built around three thematic areas: Impact – Governance – Integration.

To facilitate sharing of knowledge and foster communities of learning, VREF organizes various activities for researchers and others interested in Informal and Shared Mobility, such as online Research Forums and in-person research workshops. Additionally, VREF has produced a number of special studies and think pieces to contribute to the international scientific discourse on Informal and Shared Mobility in Low- and Middle Income Countries.

International Research Program on Informal and Shared Mobility (IRP ISM) – a new platform for research

In 2023 the ISM program initiated an International Research Program which is being carried out by a global consortium led by Columbia University’s Climate School’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development and including four research centers in the US, South Africa, Colombia, and Thailand, along with leading researchers in Ghana and the UK, as well as four non-governmental organizations based in the US, China, India, and Costa Rica. 

The consortium’s program, “An Equity, Ecosystems and En­gaged Approach to Informal Transport and Shared Mobility,” offers a collaborative, grassroots approach to knowledge creation by establishing seven “living labs” in eight cities: Accra, Bangkok, Beijing, Bogotá, Cape Town, Kumasi, Mumbai, and Metro San José. Read more about the IRP ISM here.

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