Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Urban Mobility (Non-Motorized Transport): A Case Study of ‘Nyamakima Area’, Nairobi County, Kenya
The urban transport systems in Africa’s cities and urban centres suffer from poor allocation of financial resources, lack of regulatory frameworks, institutional weaknesses, inefficient public transport systems, poor allocation of road space and inadequate traffic management systems. The today’s urban mobility challenge in Kenya cities is to arrive at balanced provision of traffic infrastructure for both Motorized Transport (MT) traffic and Non- Motorized Transport (NMT) traffic. The road infrastructures within CBD of Nairobi City were majorly designed for MT giving little attention to NMT. The high proportion of all motor vehicles in the Nairobi city are personal private cars, where more than 70% only carry one passenger and the use of bicycles is very limited within the city. Drastic increases in the number of vehicles have strained urban road networks, resulting in congestion for most of the day. Most of these factors disproportionately affect the urban poor in terms of limited access to affordable transport services, ill-health from pollution, and road safety concerns. NMT passengers generate no air pollution, no greenhouse gases, and little noise and air pollution; they are efficient and environmentally sustainable means of making short trips within urban and city centres. This study seeked to investigate the current opportunities and challenges being experienced that affects the promotion of the NMT in providing a sustainable urban mobility within CBD in “Nyamakima Area” of Nairobi City. This study further seeks to examine the potential and sustainability for effective transportation planning for NMT and its effects in the reduction Motorized traffic congestion in the area. The research methodology involved the review of literature, primary and secondary data collection, data analysis, interpretation and synthesis and subsequent recommendations to address urban mobility challenges and policy recommendations to promote NMT for urban areas. The study targeted a population of 120 road users and other Key informants within the transport and planning sectors. The primary data was sourced by administering questionnaire, interviewing key informants, focus group discussions, participatory transect walk, photography and GPS observations. Secondary data were collected from the review of published and unpublished materials, government reports, print media and the internet. The Microsoft Excel, AutoCAD Land Development and GIS software’s (ArcGIS and ArcView) were the main computer packages used for data analysis. The study found that there exist the high NMT and NMT traffic congestion, lack of NMT promotion programs and lack of NMT infrastructures which has led to unsustainable urban mobility and development within study area. The study recommended that NMT should be encouraged and promoted within the frame work of sustainable transport development due to its health, transportation, economic, quality of life and environmental benefits. From the study it can be concluded that logical integration of NMV and MT will enhance the modernization of sustainable urban transport. The policy makers, transport planners and engineers will require changes in transport investment patterns, infrastructure design standards, street space allocation, credit and financing systems, regulatory policy, public education, and marketing, depending to promote the NMT.