23 November 2021

Feedback on CODATU XVIII Conference

After several postponements due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the XVIII CODATU Conference was held on November 22 and 23, not in Dakar but online, and brought together nearly 200 speakers and participants. This event allowed the presentation of more than 40 scientific papers evaluated by the International Scientific Committee of the Conference. These presentations addressed the issues of transport and mobility in developing cities, mainly in Africa (about 30 papers), but also in Latin America and Asia.

During these two days, 10 parallel sessions were held and allowed rich exchanges around themes such as the articulation between mobility and urban spaces, the introduction of new technologies in the mobility sector, road safety issues, the consideration of paratransit and non-motorized modes of transport, or the use and elaboration of decision and urban planning tools. These parallel sessions were completed by a special session animated by the World Conference Transport Research Society network and the Special Interest Group – H5 (developing countries), during which young researchers presented their work on Asian cities, as well as a special session dedicated to the European project Solutions Plus, proposing e-mobility solutions adapted to the needs of developing cities. Finally, the prize for the best English-speaking thesis was awarded to Thiago Guimaraes for his research work entitled: “Bridging the accessibility gap to healthcare: the role of urban transport for low-income communities in São Paulo, Brazil” which was presented during the closing session.

The two co-chairs of the conference, Professor Jérome Chenal (EPFL) and Professor Ndiaye (ULB), also shed light on some major issues on mobility in cities and countries of the South. Jérome Chenal reminded us of the need to consider transport and mobility through a pragmatic approach, using common sense, in order to build and plan cities adapted to the diverse needs of contemporary societies. Alassane Ndiaye closed the Conference by returning to several major issues raised during the sessions, and that the scientific community – and more generally the human communities – must take up, namely

– the complexity of technological transitions in relation to the dynamics of social exclusion, and the need for commitment on the part of public policies

– the importance of the issue of safety in the mobility sector, understood in the broadest sense, and through this the need to better involve a wider range of actors in planning;

– the questioning of our modes of travel in the post-Covid era;

– the issue of decentralization, and the capacity of local authorities to invest in transport and mobility issues;

– electromobility, the prospects it offers and the capacity building that must accompany the development of new technologies;

Finally, the more general need to consider all these issues in relation to climate change.

The scientific advisor of the Conference, Professor Ali Huzayyin, and the scientific coordinator of the Conference, Dr. Solène Baffi, would like to warmly thank all the authors who presented their research work and showed great patience over the past 2 years, the members of the International Scientific Committee of the Conference who selected and evaluated all the contributions received, the Session Chairs who animated the sessions and the exchanges during the two days of the Conference, as well as the two co-chairs for their investment and their expertise!

The papers and presentations prepared for the Conference, as well as the recordings, will soon be available on Codatu’s website.