Implementation of the Nairobi City County Non-Motorized Transport Policy - The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA)

For decades, roads and infrastructure plans for Nairobi have been made without adequately taking into consideration the development of facilities for Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) users. This exposes NMT users to road accidents and health hazards as they are forced to share road space with the motorized users. In Nairobi County, NMT serves a critical role and is an integral part of the County both as a means of transport as well as a contributor to commerce and trade. NMT in Nairobi accounts for over 40 per cent of total trips every day. According to the Integrated National Transport (INT) Policy, 2012, 44% of Nairobi residents walk or cycle to their places of work, yet, the associated infrastructure is neglected in current transportation planning and resource allocation. The INT Policy further recognizes that lack of infrastructure for NMT has led to congestion from pedestrians, motor transport and other users such as mkokotenis.

To address this challenge, KARA in collaboration with The Nairobi City County Government and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) developed a Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) Policy for Nairobi County in 2015. The objective of the Policy is to provide a framework for harmonization, prioritization and coordination of NMT infrastructure and facility development and maintenance in Nairobi. KARA received BAF support of KShs.4.4 million to facilitate the adoption of the Policy by the County Assembly of Nairobi. KARA successfully advocated the policy’s adoption approved as the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2017 on Non-Motorized Transport.

KARA now wants to work with the County Government and other key stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation and create the expected impact on NMT development and investment.

Despite the broad support for a strong NMT agenda for Nairobi, experience shows that transport policies (as well as public investments) have largely supported motorised transport at the expense of NMT thus denying the NMT users space and facilities to enable their safe movement. The motorized-transport-centred culture, that accounts for only 15% of transport use in Nairobi, has meant that the policy regime and development agenda has failed to address critical issues affecting the City including:

  • Traffic Congestion - Because of failure to cater for transportation needs of the majority.
  • Inefficient Public Transport - that is plagued by poor network coverage and poor management. Stiff competition among public transport operators creates unsafe and aggressive driving behaviour that is dangerous to NMT users.
  • Land use planning and development is weak and is not linked to developing cities-of-the-future that cater to NMT.
  • Inefficient Transport Management- Resulting in encroachment of NMT spaces and lack of both compliance and enforcement.

Lack of prioritization of NMT has led to the loss of Kenyan lives. Pedestrian safety is a major concern. According to an NTSA report for January 2017, 42% of fatalities on Nairobi’s roads are pedestrians, the highest number nationwide. This further demonstrates the need for proper NMT policy implementation to meet the needs of users in Nairobi, in terms of safety, reliability, accessibility and comfort. Currently, there is political will from the County Government to support the NMT agenda and KARA would like to use this opportunity to engage the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the implementation of the Policy is realised, and other enabling legislation and strategies are put in place to support the same.

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