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Network management and Urban Vehicle Access Regulations

Route licensing has been introduced as a key form of network management in all of the TRANSITIONS cities to some extent or another, although the level of enforcement IPT has been a significant factor in the performance of this type or regulation. Ongoing application of route licensing is seen as a fundamental tool for working with IPT operators, ensuring that those that comply with this form of network management benefit from the intended improvements (i.e. reduced competition and congestion around terminals). In terms of additional forms transport network management, cities across the world are increasingly introducing different forms of Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVARs), which are enforced based on location, time of day, type of vehicle/service or size of vehicle wanting to enter a certain area. Also, in Sub-Saharan Africa we have seen introduction of restrictions that seek to create a shift to larger vehicles, or create exclusive areas or corridors of operation for formal Public Transport.

Overview of types of actions

Access restrictions for informal public transport vehicles typically come in the form of: 

Specific informal transport route assignment - The issuing of route and/or operating licences can be used as a way to plan and control the informal public transport network. In practice, however, we see that route licensing is often not used as a network planning tool. Rather city authorities use them to control demand and supply on established routes. 

PT and informal transport integration (e.g. informal transport as ‘feeder’ service) - The route (or area) licensing can be extended to manage trunk-feeder arrangements in which informal transport services feed to, and distribute from, interchanges with formal trunk services. This requires some level of physical integration at a station or rank facility. This has been tried in several cities with various levels of success.


IPT vehicle size restrictions (i.e. larger vehicles with more passengers) - Access restrictions that dictate vehicle sizes allowed in certain parts of the city may help to improve the efficiency of IPT operations and reduce bottle-necks in key locations.  This has been tried in several cities, most specifically in Dar es Salaam, where only 25- to 34-seater daladala are permitted within parts of the city at the expense of the smaller 15 passenger daladala vehicles that used to dominate the roads of the city.  

City centre access bans - A very specific type of access restriction involves cordoning off a particular part of the city, such as the central business district, for certain types of vehicles. This may, for example, involve restricting access to the city centre for freights vehicles over a certain size, and/or preventing access for private cars, helping to reduce congestion and provide safer environments for walking and cycling. Corridors for public transport may nevertheless be retained within these areas, helping to ensure good accessibility to the city centre using collective transport.   Such restrictions can be extended to include vehicle emission requirements, such as in many European cities, or time of day requirements, such as for freight vehicles at night.  

In contrast to the approach outlined above that prioritizes public transport, including IPT, there are instances of public authorities setting in place outright bans on IPT in central city areas. In Zimbabwe, for example, during 2020 the government issued a decree that made kombis and all other forms of public transportation illegal, except for the state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses. IPT operators were invited to join ZUPCO, enabling them to continue their operations, but according to conditions specified by the public authority. As the TRANSITIONS Routemap seeks to promote and enhance the value of IPT services in providing collective transport, appropriate regulation of IPT services is recommended and IPT access bans are discouraged.



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