New master plan to shape a more sustainable transport sector in Uganda


COWI has won the contract to assist the Ugandan Ministry of Works and Transport in the development of a new national transport master plan. Purpose is to promote better strategic transportation planning and provide recommendations on investment priorities and measures needed to support economic growth and the living conditions of citizens.

The Ugandan economy and population are growing, and the government has already invested heavily in new infrastructure, mainly roads, to accelerate the socio-economic development of the country. However, a lot more is needed to enable continuous and sustainable progress of all transport modes.

To meet the need a new national transport master plan is now taking shape.

"The plan will provide guidance to where and how the country's transport infrastructure and services covering roads, railways, inland waterways and air transport should develop from 2021 – 2040. Purpose is to facilitate further economic growth and improve living conditions of citizens," says Karsten Sten Pedersen, Project Director at COWI assisting the Ministry of Works and Transport in the development of a new national transport master plan.

Sustainability measures are high on the agenda

Among the objectives in the new master plan is to analyse the need for public transport and promote the best way forward to increase mobility and a more sustainable transport sector. This is particularly relevant to the Greater Kampala area characterized by congestion and inefficient transit service provision, poor regulation and dominance of low capacity systems such as Minibus taxis and motor-cycles.

"Promoting more sustainable solutions to the traffic challenges facing the country will be in focus in line with Vision 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals, also signed by the Ugandan government. This is highly needed, not least to avoid the deterioration of transport assets," says Karsten Sten Pedersen.

To increase the likeliness of a successful implementation rate, there will be a strong focus on follow-up mechanisms in the plan.

"Obviously, funding is an important aspect of transport investments, but in developing countries the biggest challenge is often inadequate institutional capacity. Planning without clear processes, effective systems and implementation capacity will inevitably lead to underachievement. To support our client and the Ugandan society as much as possible, we will seek to integrate relevant measures in the plan, which can help mitigate those risks," says Karsten Sten Pedersen.

The project is funded by EU and COWI provides overall project management on behalf of the COWI-WYG-Gauff Joint Venture.


  • Since 2008, the GDP has grown from USD 14 Billion to USD 25 Billion in 2017 while the population has increased from 31 million to 38 million. The population growth is foreseen to continue. 
  • Road transport is the dominant mode of transport in Uganda as road transport carries about 95% of the country’s goods traffic and about 99% of passenger traffic.
  • Uganda records the highest number of accidents in the East African region with up to 10 people dying daily (UNECE, The Road Safety Performance Review). Latest recorded road crash fatalities stand at 3,503, up from an average of 3,000 a few years ago. This is an 8.7 per cent increase.
  • Twenty-four people are killed in every 100 road crashes, the report said. It is estimated that accidents cost $1.2 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses annually, representing five per cent of Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product.

The development of a new national transport master plan includes a number of activities, e.g.:

  • Review the current legal and regulatory framework for the transport sector, in comparison with both regional and international best practices, identify any gaps and make appropriate recommendations;
  • Undertake a robust assessment of current road accident situation in Uganda and propose a “high-level” road safety strategy aimed at promoting a more functional and safer road network in the country; 
  • Develop appropriate transport models for forecasting transport demand, evaluating major transport projects, estimation of national vehicle fleet, and cost of road accident on the economy;
  • Undertake a robust assessment of current and future demand in the transport sector, covering roads, railways, inland water and air transport;
  • Assess the adequacy and sustainability of current transport sector financing arrangements, and make appropriate recommendations for future financing of the sector in line with best practices;
  • Prepare an integrated intermodal/multimodal National Transport Master Plan for the period 2021-2040;
  • Undertake Strategic Environmental Assessment of the NTMP, 2021-2040;
  • Build capacity of staff within the sector in Transport Planning

Get in contact

Karsten Sten Pedersen
Associate Project Director
Economics and Management, Denmark

Tel: +45 56402301