Skip to main content

Lunch & Learn Seminar: 'Researching the mobility and accessibility needs of low income and vulnerable populations in African cities’ - Professor Karen Lucas

Wednesday 4 December 2019, 12:00pm
1.14 Baines Wing SR

The next Lunch and Learn Seminar from the Leeds University Centre for African Studies will be delivered by Dr Karen Lucas from the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Please feel free to bring along your lunch to this informal lunchtime seminar. Registration is not required and all are welcome.


This presentation is designed to highlight the transport, mobility and accessibility needs of urban poor and socially vulnerable populations in African cities, and to identify more effective solutions for addressing these issues.  Overwhelmingly, the urban poor rely on walking as their main mode of transport, often travelling long distances to get from the peripheral urban slums where they live to their employment and other activities in the city centre. Badly designed transport infrastructures combined with high-levels of largely unregulated traffic expose them to numerous safety and health risks.  Their restricted accessibility to job, markets, education, healthcare and other welfare activities severely reduces their livelihoods and life chances. Women, children, older people and people with disabilities are the most severely affected by these accessibility constraints and travel risks. These wider social consequences of inequitable and unsustainable transport systems are currently largely ignored by transport planners and social policy professional alike in Global South cities.


Karen Lucas is Professor of Transport and Social Analysis, University of Leeds. She has 20 years of experience in social research in transport in the Global North and South. She is a world-leading expert in the area of transport-related social exclusion and she has published many journal articles books and keynote papers on this topic. In 2016, she won the UK Institute of Civil Engineering Prize for best non-technical paper for her co-authored paper Transport poverty and its social consequences. In 2015, the Transport Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers awarded her the Edward L. Ullman Award for her significant contribution to transportation geography. She also won a Women of Achievement Award from the University of Leeds for her work with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Developing socially inclusive transport systems training programme, which also won a ‘best in-house’ training award.

Karen is a regular advisor to national and local government in the UK. She is currently the social research advisor for Highway England’s Lower Thames Crossing Project. In 2017/18, she was a member of the London Assembly’s Scrutiny Panel of the Mayor of London’s Future Transport Strategy and of the Social and Environmental Advisory Group for Northern Rail. She has also advised governments in Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand. For further information, see