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Safer Cities for Pedestrians

15 January 2023

Transport insights from Ethiopia | World Bank blog.

Walking is by far the most common way of getting around, especially in developing countries. Yet sidewalks and other types of walking infrastructure are arguably the one component of urban transport systems that receives the least amount of attention.  As a result, for those of us who rely on our own two feet to get around, walking to work, to school, or to the nearest market can often be uncomfortable, if not outright dangerous.

This is certainly the case in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s bustling capital city, where more than half of daily trips are made on foot. Despite the popularity of walking, sidewalks across the city are often lacking accessibility and safety. The consequences can be devastating of the 500 people who lose their lives on the city’s roads each year, 76% are pedestrians.

To help address the issue, our team took a closer look at walking conditions in the Ethiopian capital and recently completed a pilot study with the support of the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) and UK Aid. The objective was to assess the walkability and the state of sidewalks in selected areas, propose strategies and formulate near-term actions to redress sidewalk deficiencies, and to understand how sidewalk condition and urban design impact the experience and safety of pedestrians.