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Insights and opportunities for equitable and resilient low-carbon transport: Urban lockdown lessons

The coronavirus pandemic has been a warning bell for urban resilience in South Africa. South African municipalities are facing unprecedented challenges in the face of Covid-19. On the one hand, municipalities have been at the forefront of dealing with the immediate effects of the pandemic. On the other, they are facing additional and unexpected expenditure on public health responses, declining revenues due to the economic slowdown induced by lockdowns and restrictions to manage the spread of the virus, and reduced transfers from the national government.

The pandemic has also brought urban food systems into sharp focus as well as pandemic-related challenges to managing public transport in our spatially unequal cities. More positively, it has afforded us an opportunity to think differently about our cities and towns and planning for their future resilience, spotlighting solutions that can support an equitable and green recovery.
This publication, the first of three in WWFs series of Lockdown Lessons, captures some of the impacts of Covid-19 on transport within our municipalities and focuses on walking, cycling, and paratransit (minibus-taxi) services, and travel demand management.

The report makes the point that, if anything, South Africa’s lockdown response to Covid-19 exposed the entrenched and intractable nature of many of the country’s transportation challenges, and the inordinate difficulty in effecting long-term transport behaviour change at any point let alone on the fly. Reflecting on what could still be, rather than what could have been, the report concludes with recommendations or research gaps for those working as researchers or in advocacy, policy support and decision-making.

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Urban lockdown lessons for South Africa: Insights and opportunities for equitable and resilient low-carbon transport

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