Baker, Lucy

Lucy Baker
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
What are the social and individual economic impacts of importing used bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa?
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Dimitris Potoglou, Dr Justin Spinney
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My study will explore the social and individual economic impacts of importing used bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Used bicycles donated by developed countries have a role in SSA of increasing mobility and accessibility to services. Development organisations aim to empower women and children by providing bicycles that will reduce their journey times, enable heavy load carrying and increase access to education. Bicycles are provided for rural health care workers and are also used as ambulance services. Development organisations aim to improve attitudes towards cycling, increase maintenance and safety skills, and encourage governments to invest in safe cycling infrastructure. The impacts, equity and sustainability of used bicycle distributions are unknown.

The research of bicycles, in the context of transport development, accessibility and mobility, has predominantly been focused in Asia due to its popularity as a transport mode and relatively cheap cost. Characteristics of bicycle ownership in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the activities of the export of used bicycles to developing countries, have not been previously researched. There is also a need for practical applications of methods used in measuring the social impacts of transport developments. Methods will include semi-strucutred interviews, focus groups and a survey of bicycle owners that aims to assess the social and economic impacts to individuals. The study will explore attitudes towards cycling and perception of safety using disaggregated data to identify factors that influence the use of bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa, such as age, gender, income and culture.

Research interests: sustainable transport, transport in the context of development and social equity, active travel, workplace travel plans and cycling.