Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gatnet/African Streets update

This blog was originally set up in January 2005 in the hope of proving useful as a tool to extend the work and reach of the GATNET: Gender and Transport Community of Practice project whose listserv is located at

Our reasons for launching this support project were set out at the time here -

Over the course of the five years that have since passed this site has been little used. In all it has received only a bit more than 1600 visitors, a pace of about one a day. The following map shows the origins of the last visitors as of this date.

We are looking at this site again in the context of a new project that is receiving attention here at New Mobility Partnerships as a result of a commitment on our part of give much greater attention to providing information on and supporting as best we can sustainable transport projects in Africa, with particular attention to matters relating to fair transport for women and children. You can see our working notes on that program here at

If you wish to follow progress on the African Streets projects, here are two handy points of reference. (a) The working forum which you can find at (b) The Gatnet discussions about this at ; and (c) the ongoing articles and discussions on World Streets that involve African Streets issues which you can pick up at

Have any ideas for us, or wish to join these discussions. Please do not hesitate to get in touch. A good starting point is to contact or Skype to newmobility.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Review Of World Bank Transport Strategy - Will Gatnet Have A Say?

The following reproduces the opening section of a World Bank transport report in progress that Gatnet has been invited to comment. For a PDF version (321 kb) of the full report, all you have to do is click the above title. For further information on the comment process, you are referred to Jeff Turner’s email to the group which is reproduced in the Dgroups email signed Eric Britton of 2006-03-24. You can also make comments directly here by clicking the Comments link at the top of this page.


In May 2005, the World Bank’s Transport Sector Board decided that there was a need to consider whether some realignment of its work in the transport sector is necessary to reflect trends in development, and in development thinking, over the last few years.

As a result, the Bank is planning to publish a document that will update our Transport Strategy. It is to be finalized in 2006 and to cover the period 2007-2015. The purpose of the update will be to articulate how the Bank’s approach to transport and development is evolving; to identify planned adjustments to priorities and approach; and to explain these to our development partners and other stakeholders in the Bank’s work.

We are pleased to share this consultative draft of the emerging document (PDF 321 KB). Please note that this a working draft and contains some gaps. Not only will we take account of external consultations but we will be analyzing inputs from other groups within the Bank and, in due course, establishing the benchmarks and targets for agreed priorities.

The Transport Sector Board would very much welcome external contributions from those with an interest in transport and development either through comment directed specifically at Document, or views about the Bank’s role in the transport sector more broadly. We would be grateful to receive any contribution that you may wish to make by April 30th, 2006.


safe, clean and affordable….Transport for development

The Transport Sector Board (TSB) leads the World Bank’s work in transport in response to demand by its countries of operation (‘partner countries’). In recent years TSB’s views on specific transport topics have been set out in a number of specialist documents. They are listed for completeness in Annex A. However, the last policy report that addressed transport as a whole was in May 1996. That report, ‘Sustainable Transport: Priorities for Policy Reform’ broke much new ground. ‘Sustainable Transport’ (as it will be referred to in this report) continues to be a key reference document for the Bank’s views on transport matters. It emphasizes the importance of sustainability in transport: economic, financial, environmental and social. These concepts remain central and critical.

Inevitably, the world and the World Bank have advanced in their thinking about wider development issues since 1996. The Millennium Development Goals (discussed in more detail in Section 2) were agreed by the international community four years after the publication of Sustainable Transport. Moreover, other emerging issues and trends are also influencing the Bank’s approach to transport and development:

Ø The Bank has affirmed that to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will require renewed emphasis on the achievement of economic growth as well as social measures aimed at delivering benefits directly to the poor; it has therefore adopted a new Infrastructure Action Plan (World Bank 2004) to revitalize the Bank’s role in infrastructure to support economic growth. Transport constitutes around half of the Bank’s infrastructure business and is therefore central to the Plan.

Ø There is ever more evidence of the role in successful development of good public governance: the need for competent state institutions to make and implement policy; the complementary roles of public and private sectors; the roles of markets and of regulations; and the importance of fighting corruption. Governance is especially important to the transport industry because of its size and complexity, the strong public interest in its performance, and the heavy involvement of both public and private sectors in its operations.

Ø The principle of ‘ownership’ by countries of their development policies and processes has been increasingly accepted by the international development community. Ownership arises from choice. For the transport sector this implies Bank support for partner countries in establishing institutions and capacity for public policy choice and implementation while sharing knowledge about international experience of the alternatives available; but perhaps being less prescriptive about the policy choices themselves.

Ø The Bank’s lending programs to many middle income countries have declined since 1996, partly because the Bank’s methods of engagement have not evolved in a way which the countries find to be most efficient and relevant to their needs and growing economic stature. While declining participation in middle income countries has been less pronounced in the Bank’s transport sector than in the Bank as a whole, there is no room for complacency. Approaches in these countries need to be particularly responsive to changing needs and circumstances.

Ø The world is looking for concrete results from development aid and investments, not just money transfers. The transport sector is one of the Bank’s biggest areas of development finance, representing some 15 percent of its lending commitments since Sustainable Transport was written (Annex B). It is important that the TSB measures the impact of interventions in this sector and builds this experience into future projects. It is also important for both the Bank and its partner countries that better transport statistics and performance indicators are kept for making decisions and monitoring the results.

It was for all these reasons that in May 2005, ten years after the publication of Sustainable Transport, the TSB decided on this update. Its purposes are first, to articulate how these matters have affected its thinking about transport and development; second, to identify planned adjustments to its priorities and approach; and third, to explain these to development partners and other stakeholders in the Bank’s work.

The title of this Report gives a clue to at least some of this thinking. The emphasis on safe and clean reflects the importance of health and environmental outcomes within the Millennium Development Goals. The emphasis on affordable recognizes that high transport costs discourage trade and economic growth, and contribute to economic and social exclusion. Finally, transport for development asserts that while transport can have many purposes, the Bank’s focus must be on its potential to contribute to economic development.

The importance of economic efficiency to transport development is undiminished. Transport efficiency, passed on to users through well functioning markets, is critical to making it affordable. Transport will be more efficient if it avoids unnecessarily high costs in human health or environmental degradation.

The TSB has shaped this report to be strategic and succinct. It therefore deals with transport as a whole (a sector in the Bank’s parlance) that, if managed well, can contribute to economic and social development. The Report does not burrow down into the many individual types of transport technologies, markets and institutions that make up this most diverse sector. That is the role of the publications cited in Annex A. The emphasis is not on what the Bank’s specific transport projects (or interventions) should be, but on what they should try to do. Finally, while it cites empirical evidence to illustrate particular statements, it is a management review and not a research report.

The Report is divided into four further sections.

  • Section 2 explains why the World Bank is so heavily involved in the transport sector and proposes adjustments to the balance of its activities to align with the Bank’s evolving mandate.
  • Section 3 explains how TSB views the governance issues that underpin improved performance of transport infrastructure and services as a whole, irrespective of specific lending interventions.
  • Section 4 illustrates the diversity of transport challenges in different regions where specific local responses and regional partnerships are called for, while indicating those transport issues for which global relationships are also required.
  • In Section 5 it concludes by drawing on the previous sections to summarize what are the main areas for re-aligning both activity and approach going forward. These priorities will generate specific Action Plans in the coming months.


Acknowledgements. v

1 Origins of the Report 1

2 Transport for Development 2

2.1 Transport and the Millennium Development Goals. 2

2.2 Serving International Trade. 3

2.3 Making Cities Work Better 4

2.4 Increasing Economic Opportunity in Rural Areas. 5

2.5 Accessing Health and Education. 6

2.6 Making Transport Safer and Cleaner 8

2.7 Measuring Results and Sharing Knowledge. 11

3 Transport Governance And Delivery. 12

3.1 Governance: The Foundation for Good Transport 12

3.2 Public and Private Sectors in Transport Delivery. 13

3.3 Improving the Performance of State-Owned Transport Enterprises. 14

3.4 Preserving Asset Value. 16

3.5 Increasing Participation of the Private Sector 17

3.6 Competition and Economic Regulation. 17

3.7 Fighting Corruption. 18

4 Regional And Global Perspectives. 19

4.1 Regions, Diversity and Partnership. 19

4.2 Africa. 19

4.3 East Asia and Pacific. 21

4.4 Europe and Central Asia. 22

4.5 Latin America and Caribbean. 23

4.6 Middle East and North Africa. 24

4.7 South Asia. 25

4.8 Global Partnerships and Other Affiliations. 26

5 Strategy Updates. 26

5.1 Re-aligning our Development Support 26

5.2 Re-aligning our Approach. 27

5.3 Transport Sector Targets 2007-2015. 28

5.4 Next Steps. 29

Annex A: Ten Years On: Key World Bank Transport Policy Papers Since Sustainable Transport 31

Annex B: Transport Lending Trends 1996-2005. 35

References Cited. 37

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Background and use hints for submittal

Background and use hints for first time visitors:

The role of the Gatnet Forum is to provide a shared place in which we can post, keep track of, and share comments and ideas on important contributions to the gender/transport debate and policy shaping efforts of all involved. The Forum is essentially a convenient place to post and access outstanding contributions, which otherwise often seem to get lost in the shuffle. The basic structure is described below.

An Open Collaborative Forum: The Forum is intended to add a much needed new dimension to our group work toolset under the Gatnet open collaborative project, by providing a broader medium for posting ideas, articles, essays and proposals which stretches beyond our usual email messages. The Forum is indexed and regularly scrutinized by the Google search engine and others, thus ensuring a broader reach of all that appears there.

Want to post a piece or commentary to the Forum? Terrific. That's what this is all about? But kindly consult these Guidelines before your first posting. And until you are conversant with the posting routines here (see below) we suggest you send it to any of our Contributors/Editors via email and we can post as per your instructions. If we have any questions, we will get in touch first to iron it out.

Article length: This argues in our view for an approach which keeps the actual Forum posting relatively compact – say enough for a good read in 5/10 minute max. -- say 3000 words absolute max, while 500 or even less may well do the trick. Reader wants more, to go on to the full article or report? All s/he has to do is click to that link to get the full piece.

Link Option: Note that at the top of the entry form is place for both the item title and a link. This is a potentially powerful sharing tool for us. The idea behind the latter is that the reader can be taken, for example, either to the original source of the posted piece, or if it is a summary to something that is much longer, this will take them to the full document. (PDF is no problem).

Internal organization: Opening page displays upper right (a) ten most recent entries. Then (b) as you go to any given entry, the column reforms to display the next ten. You can also call up all entries for any given month by clicking the indicated month link, and for the Archives as a whole.

The Forum reports back to the Gatnet Dgroups Listserv. As entries are made here, the full Dgroups list is immediately informed of the new addition.

How to receive: All you have to do is pop your mail address into the indicated box at the top right of the blog, and you will start to receive items as they come in. (You can also easily get off the list later if you chose to do so.)

Common knowledge base: It is our hope that entries here will be made by people who have had a chance to develop a more or less common, or at least a well researched base of information and insight on gender issues in transportation. (Please note; this is not the same thing as wishing to discourage debate and difference of views, which we not only expect but welcome. The hallmark here is variety, open expression, and creative dissonance.)

Have a comment? These can be easily made on each item and are enthusiastically invited. All you have to do is click the Comment link at the top of the item, and file your comment. If you do not have a blog, it is easiest to send as "other"; but in that case we would ask you to identify yourself, including your email for eventual later exchanges.

Some entry hints:

1. Model: Use this entry as your model so that we have a common format (Font=Arial 10, single spaced, left justified. (Look and feel is important)

2. Off line edit: The on-line Blogger toolset is a little fussy for editing. You may find it handier to work out your text and formatting problems off line first.

3. Each time you make an entry, please make sure that you identify yourself by full name as a Member/Contributor and as follows as a courtesy to the reader: A good signature block would show:

· Your full name

· Organization (if any)

· City, Country

· Email, Tel #, Skype address if any (optional and if you chose to invite private communications)

7. Having Trouble? If you run into trouble with your early entries, get in touch with a Contributor/Editor and we can take care of it together. The learning curve is not bad.

  • Group meetings via Skype: Need to be carefully prepared if they are to work properly.
  • Questions? If any, we invite you to get in touch by any of the means indicated here.

That should about do it to get us going. If you need more, you know how to get in touch. (And if there is anything there that you don’t like or feel is wrong, please let us know and we can talk about and certainly then change)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Questions/comments in support of WT/GT Special Edition

Friday, March 17, 2006

For us to be able to do a useful job for you on the wonderful new WT/GT joint edition, we need a bit of help – in the form of your quick answers to the following small question set: (To facilitate your response, all you need to do is pop in the item number and there place your answer, comments, in your email response – to

  1. Do you believe that the leading accomplishments and insight of your colleagues working on the challenges of the gender/transport agenda in other parts of the world should be better known and more accessible to all?

  2. Is it your opinion that the WT/GT Special Edition might be useful for you . . . and others?

  3. Would you like to receive a paper copy?

  4. And/or a copy via CD/DVD for your local access, printing and sharing?

  5. What is the largest file size that you can conveniently download with your email connection?

  6. Do you have access to internet?

  7. If you have to pay, what are some of the charges (hourly connection, subscription, other)?

  8. If so, can you reach the Gatnet Forum via

  9. Would you like to be able to read and comment on draft papers before they are actually published?

  10. Please share with us here your comments and suggestions, whether long or short. They will help us in doing a better job.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Summary proposal for "putting the abstracts in a common space"

  • Margaret Grieco wrote on Friday, March 10, 2006 9:33 PM: “We could do with putting the abstracts up in a common space and organizing them by theme and region. We are well on our way to a special issue.”

Wonderful idea Margaret. Here is how I propose this might be done: looking at it in the following first from the perspective of each of us as individual members of the group, and then from the overall author and management function – and all this with a sharp eye out for the best way both to assemble the special World Transport “Gender, Equity, Transport” number – specifically as a group undertaking – and more generally to provide an efficient archive for articles and pieces that otherwise risk to get lost.

To meet this challenge – both for the special we set out to create this ‘common space’, which we call the Gatnet Forum. (You can see it in its present working draft form is you click to and click the Forum link on the little top menu.) In doing this, I have tried to be super-attentive to the day to day connection, internet, etc. problems of the group and especially those of course who are closest to the problems in the field. Here is how they will see it work:

(Note: As an example this note is being simultaneously posted to both Dgroups and the Forum, meaning that each of you will receive it twice today. That clearly is not something we will want to do on a regular basis but it is my hope that this may help better to demonstrate how this process might easily and efficiently be put to work.)

User Perspective:

In a first instance, let’s walk through how this might work from our point of view of each of us as members of the Dgroups family.

1. When an item is posted by one of the contributing editors, each of us will then receive a copy of the text, with at the top of our message the URL which will, if we so chose, take us to the full original.

2. This gives each of us a chance to have a look at the synopsis within Dgroups and to decide if we wish to have a close look at the full item.

a. Note: This suggests that entries should not be too awfully long – both to save connection time/money for those of us who do not have full time broadband. And for reasons of our time economy and avoiding information overload. We need enough information there in order to help (a) follow the evolution of, say, our new World Transport joint edition; and (b) to incite our interest in the topic itself.

b. (Since this is a flexible process, we can always fine tune and improve based on what we actually experience as we start to do all this.)

3. There is also as mentioned the user option of going direct to and from there clicking the Gatnet Forum link on the top menu. (This has the advantage of opening up the entire contents of the Forum directly, with listing of past articles, postings etc. just to your right. And with the whole thing quickly searchable when you are looking for some specific topic, phrase of author.)

4. From our perspective as users and members of the Gatnet group, that’s all there is to it. Thus on any give day in which we want to see what we have in our common space, all it takes is a click and a bit of keyword searching and off we go.

Author/editor perspective/process:

1. A good first step to understand the broad lines along which this might be organized is to have a look at the opening page of the Forum -- Background and use hints for first time visitors: -- which is intended as useful first introduction.

2. The idea, if you all agree, is to use the Forum/Common Space both as an archiving medium for both the proposed/in-process Journal articles and for other important documents that we wish to preserve, share and make handily available.

3. The proposed routine is thus that each submitted piece should be (a) relatively short (i.e., graspable in that quick 5 minute read max), (b) provide a good synopsis for the full piece, along with if possible (c) perhaps an ‘executive summary’ that in a page or two sets out the highlights of the piece, including eventual recommendations and next step.

4. The interested reader then, if she wishes to access the full article, can do this by clicking the title of the article in the top line of the entry in the Forum.

5. Then there is the Comment mechanism, which I think is going to be an important. Earlier today for example you all received a sample comment which was intended to give you a first feel for how this can work. (Comment: This is a sample comment for our proposed new Common Space forum. Notice that in order to make it I had not only to click the little Comment link associated with the article/piece in question, but that also once I had competed it, I have to identify myself and “word verify” so that our Commons Space is free of spam. Each comment is then annexed to the article in question, providing the great advantage of having them all handily consultable in the same space with the original. Very nice for the author and good for us to in order to get a better idea of the groups’ thoughts and reactions to the piece. (To see the full item and all the comments on the same “page” it is necessary to click the article title listing on the right menu.)

That’s really all there is to it. As a next step I suggest that we work with it a bit and as Margaret has suggested we start with a couple of sample proposed articles and log them in for information an comment. We can then observe, work with these a bit and fine tune as we go along. No big deal, but as that poet said: god is in the details.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mobile phones in Africa

Editor’s note: This page reproduces a table from the latest Economist showing the distribution of “Mobile Phones in Africa”. It is posted here since the cooperative blog provides a handy place to stock images, and this is we think an important one in our context here. The future of communicating in support of Gatnet objectives is not limited to expensive and environmentally destructive air travel, nor to “old technology” (mails, phone, fax and by now maybe even email). Nor even to “new technology” if by that we insist on thinking in terms of “computers” hooked up over “phone lines” of some type, etc. There can be no doubt that mobile phones are going to open up not just what is usually associated with them (mainly of course voice but also increasingly SMS) but also other forms of information transfer and sharing. Which is why we need to be keeping an eye as well on this part of our for-sure future.

The Economist introduces this little table as follows:

The use of mobile phones is booming in Africa, where subscriber-growth rates exceeded 100% in some countries last year, according to Informa, a research group. Markets in the extreme north and south of the continent are the most mature, and growth rates are healthy in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Trailing the field are Eritrea and Ethiopia, where state telecoms monopolies prevail. (Source: Source:

Monday, January 30, 2006

Gender, Equality and Transport - An invitation

This is a preliminary posting, a place-holder the objective of which is simply to mark this terrain as a first step, and then invite the members of the GATNET group and others interested in these issues to come in and help us define and put these means to work.

I see this as a step-wise process which I put before you today for your reactions, suggestions and eventual collaboration. Here are the steps as I see them this afternoon in the waning sun of Paris:

  1. I invite you to have a look and then let me know what you think for next steps. In all this I am acting as your temporary secretary and web assistant, and see this as but the first step in the process of turning this into a collaborative instrument which will be defined and run in time by those of you who wish to pick up this challenge.

  2. Let me start by saying though, that while this is no big deal, it could turn out to be useful for us. Unlike the content of newsgroups, the content here tends to be picked up quite nicely by Google, meaning that articles that appear here are going to have a quite wider ‘reach’ than what we can expect to achieve through our internal communications.

  3. And so, if you think this is an idea worth pursuing, the first thing that you might consider doing is joining us as a “Contributor “ to our collaborative effort. This is again no big deal, but it does serve as a first step to mark this as something which belongs to us all (and in the process serves to erase the awful reference to me and photo that currently mars the bottom right column of our fine new page.

  4. Another thing that would be good to hear from you about, would be the selection of links to which we are trying to provide here easy one-click access. Also if there are any good blogs on our topics. (I have started the listing for both but this is mainly just to get the juices flowing.)

  5. For the record, my personal preference for browsing and moving beyond this is to go to the proposed GATNET home page (at Http:// ) which has the advantage of providing handy links to various bits of the Dgroups site, the IFRTD home page on this, and a few other useful things. But that’s just a personal preference.

So if you think this might be something we could build on, please get in touch and I will do my best to take this the next steps. I look forward with real interest to hearing from you.

Eric Britton

The Commons at

Paris France

E: Tel. +3331 4326 1323. Skype: ericbritton