Transport planning based on the principles of justice in Africa: piloting a proof of concept in Kigali and Blantyre

College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda

EP-2020-MAC-04, Dr. Alphonse Nkurunziza, Director Centre of Excellency in Transport Planning, Engineering & Logistics, College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda


  • Dr Aivinhenyo Imuentinyan, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Mr Bishop George Ucizi Mughogho, University of Malawi, Malawi
  • Dr Obiora Nnene, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Mark Zuidgeest, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Karel Martens, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel


Current methods of transport planning focus on the functioning of transport systems, rather than on services received by the people using it. Hence, road congestion has been seen as the main transport problem, and investments to ease congestion as the proper solution. This approach has de facto fostered transport-related social exclusion, as it has ignored the mobility and accessibility difficulties experienced by different groups within a population. This exclusion is especially prevalent among many African countries which face high levels of spatial and social inequality.

This research proposal will adopt a novel approach to planning transport systems that is based on the concept of justice. This approach calls on transport professionals to no longer focus on the transport system, but instead systematically analyse the ease of movement and level of accessibility experienced by different population groups. The purpose of the project is to determine to what extent and how the approach and underlying analytical method can be applied in Sub-Saharan Africa. For this purpose, the potential for a justice approach to transport planning will be explored in Kigali, Rwanda and Blantyre, Malawi. The former city has a relatively well-structured and formalized transport planning process with good data sources, whereas the latter city represents a low-data environment, having only a few formalized transport planning structures in place. Engagement with stakeholders in these cities is expected to reveal their existing transport planning practices, which will then inform how the justice approach of transport planning can be applied in these contexts. The specific outputs and contributions of this research include an adaptation of the existing state-of-the-art transport planning based on principles of justice method to the African context, an open-source analytical toolbox for transport planning based on principles of justice, and an illustrated guidebook and a worked example for transport practitioners in Africa.

Dr. Alphonse Nkurunziza is a Transport Planning Engineer and an Urban Planner with 15 years of experience in research and practice. Alphonse is currently working with the Centre of Excellence in Transport Planning, Engineering and Logistics, College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda.

He is a Senior Lecturer of Urban Structure, Transport Planning and Engineering. Previously, he served as the Director General for Urban Planning and Infrastructure Development [City Engineer] in the City of Kigali from 2014 to 2018.

He also worked as a Transport Planning Consultant for the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) from 2018 to 2020. He holds a Ph.D. in Transport Planning & Engineering obtained in 2013 and a Master of Science Degree in Urban Planning and Management, both from the University of Twente, The Netherlands.

Alphonse has a strong practice and research background in sustainable urban mobility, urban planning, transport infrastructure planning and development.