Bicycling: and Tanzania

Recently I came across a paper by Anthony Kiet with the title “Arab culture and urban form” (link). Anthony makes some comments which I found interesting. For example,

“…. many issues that arise from the growth of these Arab communities can be attributed to planners and designers tasked with the design of these cities without proper knowledge of the region, its constraints, and its culture”

Having worked for some years in the Middle East on development studies, this gave me a bit of a guilty conscience. Perhaps in some cases an opinion would be “buyer beware”; but I agree that there should be more awareness for local culture in land use and transport projects.

An example might be the 2011 edition of the Tanzania Road Geometric Design Manual. The Manual has some notes on designing for cyclists. Page 9.16 has a figure which shows the basic dimensions of a cyclist, taken from an NPRA source. The NPRA (Norwegian Public Roads Administration) were involved in the preparation of the document.

 bike tanzania 01

This figure does not necessarily show the typical dimensions for bikes in Tanzania (nor for bikes in Europe if it comes to that). For example in Tanzania there are guta work bikes in use:

bike tanzania 02

People use vehicles in different countries in different ways. Highway engineers as well as urban planners need to allow for these cultural differences.

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About roadnotes

Robert Bartlett is an international consultant with over 30 years of professional experience as a highway and traffic engineer with leading companies and organisations in several countries, including Germany, China (Hong Kong), Qatar and the UK. Specialised in urban studies, transport and the use of GIS, research has included new ideas on subjects such as the study of social justice using GIS, the dimensions of vehicles, and comparative geometrics (highways and transport).
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