The National Government and County of Nairobi will be working closely to implementation of short, medium and long-term measures to tackle the problem.
You may recall that on 21st October, 2014, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure signed an MOU with the counties of Nairobi Metropolitan Area to pave way for co-operation with regard to matters of transport and transit systems in the metropolitan area. This initiative to deal with traffic congestion in the city of Nairobi is being implemented within this framework.
We are alive to the fact that congestion situation in Nairobi requires immediate action but we are also aware that a one-off quick fix will not deliver the results Kenyans deserve and therefore the approach will be focused, consistent and systematic devoid of the fear to experiment, make mistakes and correct them.
Congestion in Nairobi City is due to a transport system, that has experienced exponential growth in vehicle population without commensurate expansion of road infrastructure. The situation has been worsened by inadequate public transport system with the capacity to ferrying the growing number of commuters within the metropolitan area efficiently.
In order to provide leadership in addressing this challenge, we have constituted and gazetted an inter-disciplinary Task Force chaired by Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi, the County Executive Committee Member for Roads and Transport, Nairobi City County to continuously identify causes of traffic bottlenecks and come up with effective solutions to address them.
The team has already come up with a plan that will be rolled out as follows:
SHORT-TERM/QUICK WINS (0-12 weeks)
Review of PSV termini, bus stops and routes
It has been noted that PSV’s have converted some streets in the CBD as termini causing congestion. In order to address the problem and also streamline PSV operations in the city the following measures will be implemented:
1. Review all PSV termini and bus stops in the city and redesign routes to avoid termination of PSV’s in the CBD.
2. Enforce the Nairobi County by-Law that allows PSV to wait for passengers at termini for a maximum of 40 minutes and 5 minutes at bus stops.
3. Review all PSV routes to improve traffic flow and gazette the same.
4. Suspension of licensing of PSV’s on Nairobi City routes until a demand analysis of all routes is undertaken to justify issuance of additional licenses.
5. A multi-agency team comprising NTSA, Nairobi County and traffic police will enforce and ensure all PSVs comply with NTSA act, City by-laws and the Traffic Act.
Improvement of Junctions
Twenty one (21)road junctions have been identified for improvement along the arterial roads to improve traffic flow. These include, Ngong Road, Argwings Kodhek Road, Haile- Selassie Avenue, Jogoo Road, Mombasa Road, Langata Road and Kiambu Road. Contracts have already been awarded to improve junctions by constructing side lanes to divert some of the traffic from using roundabouts. Already, implementation is taking place along Ngong road at Muchai Drive.
Removal of Roundabouts
We are addressing traffic movement along the arterial road, A104 (Waiyaki Way-Uhuru Highway-Mombasa Road). There are 6 roundabouts where 70 percent of traffic builds up during rush hours thereby hindering smooth flow along the busy stretch.
In order to improve the flow by about 30-40 per cent, five (5) roundabouts will be removed and substituted with signalized intersections. The affected roundabouts include the intersection between University Way and Uhuru Highway, Kenyatta Avenue and Uhuru Highway, Haile-Selassie Avenue with Uhuru Highway, Bunyala and Lusaka roundabouts. The roundabout at Westlands will be configured to avoid right turning movements and traffic redirected accordingly.
MEDIUM-TERM (6months +)
In the Medium- term, improvements will be made to expand the road network various corridors in and out of the city. Indeed works in some cases are ongoing and will be completed soon these include:
• Outer ring road
• Mombasa Road-Uhuru Highway
• Waiyaki Way
• Njiru-Juja Road
• Ngong Road-Show Ground
• Langata Road
• Thika Road
• Jogoo Road
• Mbagathi Road
Construction of the Southern bypass is ongoing and it should be completed very soon. This bypass will provide an important alternative to west bound traffic that does not need to cross the CBD.
Similarly, road missing links, namely: KunguKarumba-NgongRoad, Langata Road-Bomas, 1st Avenue Eastleigh, Upper Hill, and along Outering Road are all planned for pavement in order to provide alternative routes to improve traffic flow.
In addition, an Intelligent Transport System with centrally controlled Traffic Management Centre for the City will be implemented to manage traffic movement.
LONG- TERM (3 Years +)
The sustainable solution to traffic congestion will be to develop and implement an efficient and effective mass rapid public transport system that will include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) commuter rail and Light Rail Transit (LRT). The development of these systems is at various stages of implementation. Indeed the Government is proceeding to create the institutional framework through the Nairobi Metropolitan Transit Authority to provide a coherent coordinated approach to Nairobi Metropolitan transit issues.
In conclusion it is noteworthy that some of the traffic jams are caused by lack of courtesy and bad driving habits. We urge all drivers to act with courtesy and avoid bad driving habits like overlapping.
We also recognize that we require the support of all our stakeholders who include PSV operators, commercial and private vehicle owners. We also look forward to the support of the media in communicating some of the changes we will be making and giving us feedback on what is working and what is not working so that we can keep the city of Nairobi moving.