Technology, buses seen easing traffic problems in Nairobi


Traffic jam in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Nairobi must attract investments in high capacity buses and consult traffic management software developers to successfully move its 5.2 million residents.

A report by UK-based firm Deloitte City Mobility Index (DCMI ), which reviewed traffic and public transport services across major cities in the world, said Nairobi must invest in construction of cycling infrastructure and bus rapid transit lanes.

“The lack of an integrated public transport system has led to high congestion, a lot of road accidents, and low air quality in Nairobi. The transport problem needs Nairobi to implement knowledge gathered through the smart matatu pilot by deploying sensor technology across the matatu bus fleet,” it says.

DCMI hailed the formation of an inter-county government transport management team that is currently looking into integrated transport management solutions.

The study recommends heavy investment in a light rail mass transport system saying this will increase commuters’ transport choices, helping to mitigate prices charged by matatus and taxis due to high demand.

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The master plan for Nairobi county includes A Sh100 billion investment that will see a modern hub established at a section of Nairobi Railway Station’s 273 acre land as well as a light rail system with the first phase set for rollout within the next decade.

“In the absence of integrated public transportation and payment methods, Nairobi has proven to be a green-field market for all the major ride-hailing and car-pooling firms that are piloting quick-trip options.

“Collaboration with international universities has also led to innovative programmes such as the Digital Matatu, which addresses the challenge of making complex bus routes available on map-based applications,” it notes.

Uber, Taxify, Little, Mondoride among other taxi-hailing apps have fast replaced traditional taxis where Kenyans now use their mobile phones to order for rides and pay.

The report says formation of large termini outside Nairobi as well as establishment of tech-based vehicular movement could help ease congestion, making Nairobi a livable city.