Walking and Freight Delivery Operations. Contrasting Space-Sharing Conflicts in Two Cities Within the Global South and North

Project Leader: Catherine Waithera Gateri
Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.


  • Ivan Sanchez-Diaz, Associate Professor, Researcher, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
  • Michael Browne, Professor, Researcher, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Streets are contested public spaces due to the multiple users vying for access. Tensions between different transport modes in the use of street space are referred to as space-sharing conflicts. These conflicts arise from decisions, or the lack thereof, on by whom, how, and when street space should be used. The consequences of these conflicts hamper the attainment of urban liveability conditions.

Local authorities define users’ hierarchies to guide discussions and formulate methods to determine right-of-way (ROW) decisions. Several planning frameworks advocate for designing streets to accommodate all users, e.g., Complete Streets, prioritizing pedestrians, and cyclists. However, they tend to overlook accommodations for urban freight operations, exacerbating conflicts, and thus threatening the safety of active mobility users, environmental conditions, and economic activation of streets.

This research centres on examining conflicts between pedestrians and freight kerbside operations to identify conditions that shape or restrict walking as a mode of transport. In essence, it compares existing results from the implementation of a framework for freightrelated conflicts in London with freight-pedestrian interactions and the built environment at selected streets in Nairobi. The comparative assessment will lead to re-formulations of the existing framework and new insights for ROW allocation policies that potentially solve street conflicts.While previous studies have partially addressed this issue in European and US cities (Global North), little attention has been paid to urban conditions in the Global South.

This research seeks to broaden the assessment of street conflicts by incorporating insights from commercial streets in Nairobi, employing a comparative case research design, encompassing secondary analysis, interviews, direct observation, shadowing of freight operators, and a workshop. Outcomes from this research would expand the understanding of how urban conditions influence freight-pedestrian interactions and the viability of walking as a mode of transport. Comprehending these dynamics becomes imperative for creating liveable cities.