Nairobi unveils radical measures to ease traffic jam

Smart signals in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Smart signals in Copenhagen, Denmark. PHOTO/GUNNAR BOTHNER VIA FLICKR
Nairobi governor Evans Kidero has announced a raft of new revolutionary measures aimed to ease traffic congestion in the Kenyan capital city.

The radical measures, which cover immediate, short, medium and long term deliverables, include re-designing Nairobi’s mass transport system and hastening road expansion projects within the city and its environs.

“Marriages have suffered in the past because long commuting hours have put people in a foul mood by the time they get home after struggling in traffic for lengthy period,” Dr Kidero said on Monday during the launch of a new plan to de-congest the city.

The governor has prioritized the conversion of roundabouts into signalised junctions, with Nairobi’s main arterial roads that feed into Mombasa Road and Uhuru Highway being targeted.

The signalised system is expected to see traffic flow in multiple directions and will rely totally on traffic lights as opposed to the present-day set-up where traffic police officers direct motorists.

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The roundabouts targeted for changeover – by mid April – are on University Way, Kenyatta and Haile Selassie avenues, and Bunyala and Lusaka road intersections with Uhuru Highway.

“These are the sections of our road network where 70 per cent of traffic builds up during rush hours thereby hindering smooth flow along the busy stretch,” Dr Kidero said, adding that signalised junctions would improve traffic flow by 30-40 per cent.

Nairobi traffic jam has intensified in recent months on the back of falling fuel prices and a growing vehicular traffic that is largely composed of private cars.

It is estimated that there are over 700,000 cars in Nairobi, a figure that has more than doubled from the 330,000 recorded in 2012.

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