Roads-Information Database and Maintenance-System Kiambu District, Kenya
Wekesa, Geoffrey C.
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Thepurpose of this project was to develop a Roads Information Database and Maintenance System forKiambu District, Kenya that allows users to have several views of the entire road network in the district and provide management information for decision support in the road maintenance sector. A nascent technology that has been employed to achieve this isthe Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Since roads have a strong geographical component GIS easily lends itself as one of the most appropriate tools for developing the maintenance system. Kenya as a country has seen a lot of scarce resources being committed to building and maintaining roads andbridges. In the 1998/99 fiscal year, only 1.2% of the total national revenue (approximately 2.16 Billion Kenya shillings) was set aside for maintenance and building of roads and bridges. In the 2000/2001 national budget, the allocation for roads was 5% of total revenue which translated to about 6 Billion Kenya shillings (Economic Intelligence Unit, Country Profile 1996-2001, GOK, Printed Estimates 200112002). Even though much has been achieved to date, the road sector is faced by many problems including a seemingly irreversible degradation of roads. It is envisaged that even more resources need to be allocated for maintenance and expansion of the existing road infrastructure inthe coming years. However, the question in the mind of many road users, taxpayers and road sector managers is not how much allocation the sector gets but how effectively and efficiently the money will beused to ensure good road maintenance. Somecauses of the current poor state of roads in Kenya and indeed in Kiambu district can be traced to weakpolicy frameworks, lack of strategic planning, corruption, bad politics, overloading, destructive weather and last but not least archaic road management practices. Because of these, roads have borne thefull brand of an ever increasing motoring society, overloaded vehicles and the unfriendly elements of theweather. However, in recent times, the Ministry of Roads and Public Works (MRPW) and local authorities are facing a lot of pressure from road users and the public at large to demonstrate good road maintenance practices. Focus is shifting from the traditional methods of road management which are reactionary to the need forproactive management paradigms that will not only help to optimally manage the maintenance works of the existing roads network, but also address the need for proper strategic planning and provide adequate up-to-date information for decision makers in the road sector. i