The development of road transport system in Kenya
The main purpose of this study is to examine the development of the road transport system of Kenya and its relationships with socio-economic components of development. Five major lines of investigation are pursued; and to these are tied more closely the hypothesised relationships for testing and validation. First, the study examines the origin, growth and development of the road network system. This identifies the major stages of its evolution and compares them with the ideal-typical sequence model of network growth and development. These form the basis for the assessment and evaluation of the relationships between the network's patterns and selected indices of socio-economic development according to the administrative district units. The fourth line of investigation involves the analysis of the patterns of passenger and commodity flows. Lastly, composite indices of socio-economic development are calculated, ranked, compared and the districts classified according to their levels of development. These are then related to the level of road transport development. The main thrust of the study involves designing a simple conceptual model specifying the interrelationships between transport and development, within the framework of which, four hypothesised relationships are formulated. The validity of these relationships are examined and tested by correlation and regression methods of analysis with respect to quantitative cross-sectional data. The technique of dominant flow analysis is applied to traffic movement data to identify dominance-dependence associations among the districts and provinces, while transaction flow analysis is used to generate the "more than" and"less than" expected levels of interaction. One of the methodological features of the study is the use of the taxonomy methodology as a means of amalgamating data relating to variable; values measured in different units, A number of interesting findings are highlighted and pertinent conclusions drawn from them. The study finds that the Kenya road network system has evolved through three main stages: penetration lines,development of feeders and lateral interconnections, and the emergence of high priority linkages. The first stage in Taaffe model, "scattered ports',' is irrelevant to the development of road network. With respect to the pattern of road network densities, three concentric zones with their bases in western and central Kenya, and at the coast can be delineated. The stepwise multiple regression analysis applied to the network data confirms the results of simple correlation analyses that population and land area are the major determinants of the spatial variation in the pattern of road network. The addition of the index of agricultural development in the equation increased the level of explanation by only about 1 per cent. The dominant flow analysis shows that Kenya can be divided into three macro-functional regions based on Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa towns, with nested hierarchies defined around Eldoret, Nakuru and Embu towns. The application of the gravity model formulations to the movement data demonstrates that distance and population are the major determinants of the volume of movement. The effects of other socio-economic factors seem to be obscured by the effect of population. The major conclusion drawn with respect to commodity flows by road is that, in a system of trade transaction, it can be misleading to evaluate the strength of connections between places if the only yardstick is the magnitude of the sizes of shipment. Better evaluative criteria are the quantitative indices of complementarity. The study finds that the development of road transport is closely interrelated with socio-economic components of development. This has been demonstrated graphically by the linear pattern of the array of points. It has been found that the districts with higher scores on the index of road transport tend to score highly on other indices of development. The resulting patterns show that more developed districts are concentrated in Western, Nyanza and Central Provinces, the major differentiating elements in the levels of development being differences in the population sizes and densities of the districts, the predominant type of agricultural practices and access to closer networks of transportation routes. The results of the stepwise multiple regression analysis show that the indices of transport, education, agricultural, communication and health explain 99 per cent of the variation in the overall pattern of development in Kenya, the key factor being the index of transport. A similar analysis using the index of transport as dependent variable reveals that indices of population, agriculture and industrial and commercial together, explain 75 per cent of the total variance, with population index being the most important element It is, therefore, concluded that transport/development relationship is a two -way interaction process* On the basis of these findings, major conclusions can be drawn and recommendations suggested* The negative correlations between areal sizes of the districts and indices of development indicate that larger district areal sizes are a retardation to development This is crucial in Kenya with regard to the allocation of development funds under the new policy of " District Focus for Rural Development The large, but less developed districts will have to get larger shares of development funds if the existing gap between them and the smaller, but more developed districts has to be closed* Functional regions could be a better approach to development planning in Kenya as opposed to the current district and provincial boundaries which are, if anything, ethnic group boundaries.The findings of this study further, suggest that larger districts and provinces could be sub-divided into smaller units for effective administration and and implementation of development plans* The isolation of the coast and northern Kenya from the rest of the country could be reduced by developing an alternative all-weather road through Machakos and Kitui towns to the districts in the Lower Tana River Valley and all-weather road links between the districts in the north and the more developed districts in the south In this way, the isolated districts with their livestock products, potential irrigable lands and tourist attractions could be integrated with the core areas of national development. Finally, this study recommends an integrated study of road and rail networks of Kenya to find out their relative impact on development and shares in the movement of goods and people.