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Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of Electric Motorcycles in Kampala, Uganda

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
April 2021

In Kampala, Uganda, motorcycle taxis - boda bodas - play a critical role in moving people and goods across the city. This informal industry is a significant source of income for an estimated 150,000 people within Kampala and a million across the country. Yet, boda boda is considered a low-profit business, the drivers are marginalized, and they are at risk of extortion, accidents, and hostility. The motorcycles running on internal combustion engines (ICE) also contribute to both local air pollution and global greenhouse gas emissions. Zembo is a Kampala-based company that produces electric motorcycles targeting the boda boda market. While electric vehicles are generally thought to have positive social and environmental impact compared to ICE vehicles, the literature is scarce regarding the impact on electric motorcycles in urban environments with high degrees of poverty and informality such as Kampala City. We engaged in this research to better understand the degree of impact that electric motorcycles have in both social and environmental dimensions. We hypothesized that electric motorcycles would benefit the boda boda drivers by improving their net income and social well-being; and emit significantly less local air pollutants and greenhouse gases compared to the conventional motorcycles currently in use.

Junghoon Park
Thomas Courtright
Research Areas
Mobility Systems
Energy Systems

renewable energy, transportation, Uganda

Publication Type
Master's Thesis
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Calzavara, Jacob, Thomas Courtright, Junghoon Park (2021) “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of Electric Motorcycles in Kampala, Uganda.” Master’s Project, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor: 1-46.