Disability and Road Transport in Uganda

Title Disability and Road Transport in Uganda
Researcher Dr. Ronald Luwangula
Abstract Disability is a highly neglected subject (at least in practice) in respect to road transport in Uganda. The study explores the interactions of persons with mobility disabilities and the visually impaired with road transport in and and around Kampala. It teases out the citizenship of PWDs in the context of road transport, how road transport facilitates or frustrates their competences, how they appropriate their mobility devices or behaviours to suit the transport system. The experiences of these PWDs are unravelled in relation to: the modes of public transport available, road design, road safety, road space, and ability to reach their destinations. The study delves into the nature of roads, pavements, traffic lights and zebra crossings and their demonstrate of terrains on which PWDs are entangled as they struggle for opportunities but also to participate in their day-to-day civil, political, social, cultural and economic lives of their communities in Uganda. Evidence gathered reveals that of persons with mobility disabilities and the visually impaired are far from enjoying the different modes of public transport due to: the faults with the interior design of motor vehicles; unfriendly pavements hosting electric poles, sign posts, gullies, terraces, flower pots, and parking lots for vehicles and boda-bodas; dysfunctional or dishonoured traffick lights. Zebra crossings are too dull/faint to be seen by the partially blind, traffic lights for pedestrtians are non-audio, and the taxis and buses lack audio technology to pronounce the next stage/stop. Some blind persons are cheated by some uncouth public transport operators, or dropped at wrong board off points. On the other hand, wheel chairs and tricycles lack reflectors and headlights which expose them to risk. Again the public transport operators are not sensitized about the transport needs of PWDs. Many cannot distinguish between convertible and non-convertible wheel chairs, wheel chairs and tricycles. All are assumed to consume a lot of space which taxis and buses feel they lack. Thus, PWDs with mobility devices are left on the road.
Funding source(s) SNF-r4d grant