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Gov’t to invest in green transport, BRT to be complete by 2024

The Government has committed to having a high-capacity operational BRT on Thika Road by the end of 2024.

Transport CS Kipchuma Murkomen during the ministerial session on investing in green transport in Africa at the Africa Climate Summit said the move was in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration’s commitment to pursuing a people-centered approach to mobility investments.

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According to the CS, a high-quality mass rapid transit network is the backbone of an efficient urban mobility system.

“Kenya pledges to progressively grow urban transport capital financing to mass rapid transit, walking, and cycling progressively to 40 per cent of all spending on urban transport by FY 2027,” he said.

In addition, the CS noted that the Government will, moving forward, focus on improving public transport, walking, and cycling to enhance mobility and dignity for common Kenyans.

“These people-centred investments respond to the core needs of our citizens and also help us cut greenhouse gas emissions. Before the end of the year, Kenya will enter a financing agreement with EIB, AFD, and EU for BRT Line 3 in Nairobi,” he added.

According to the CS, the State is also in the process of upgrading Nairobi’s commuter rail network to offer faster and more frequent service, further, all of Nairobi’s public transport modes will be integrated through IT systems to provide electronic fare collection and seamless customer information.

To facilitate the use of zero-carbon active modes, the CS said that all urban streets need properly shaded walkways that are accessible to all, including persons with disabilities.

“In place of car-friendly footbridges, we need safe, at-grade crossings that are accessible to all. The government is working with county governments and road agencies to ensure we have adequate tree cover along major corridors,” he said.

Cyclists during the upgrade will not be left out as the State will also complete user-friendly cycle networks, with physically separated cycle tracks on major corridors that allow all of our people to ride with dignity, regardless of age, gender, or ability.

“We are in the process of updating our road design manuals to incorporate urban street design standards. We will seek support to make our roads greener and ensure that all corridors respond to the needs of NMT users.”

To enhance the cycling culture in our cities, the CS urged county governments, especially in the Nairobi metropolitan area and other cities, to implement bike share systems to provide a convenient, affordable option for short trips and improve last-mile access to public transport.

Meanwhile, the transport CS noted that Kenya already has 20 electric buses and over 1,500 electric motorcycles on the road in Kenya in a move to enhance the e-mobility sector.

On air pollution, the CS noted that it causes over 5,400 premature deaths in the country, in addition, transport is responsible for 20 per cent of CO2 emissions in Kenya.

Public transport in Kenya is dominated by small-occupancy privately owned matatus. “Service quality is poor, characterised by inefficient routes, old vehicles, inadequate fleet to meet demand, long waiting times, and slow journeys due to traffic jams,” he said.

In addition, pedestrians and cyclists face daily risks on streets that lack proper walkways, crossings, and cycle tracks. As a result, we lost 1,743 pedestrians and cyclists to traffic crashes in 2022.

Consequently, more and more people are opting to switch to private cars, leading to a rise in emissions and worsening congestion.

The population in Nairobi is estimated to be approximately 4.4 million as per the 2019 census, while the five counties that make up the Nairobi Metropolitan Area have a combined population of 10.4 million, a fifth of the Kenyan population.

Urbanization in Kenya is a key opportunity for economic growth but also poses an urgent need to address gaps in our urban transport infrastructure.

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