15 April, 2015

Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit-What Nairobi Needs Like Yesterday !

For the past two weeks Nairobians have been bogged down by heavy traffic  Jams especially on the main feeder road; Mombasa Road and Uhuru Highway. I have been a strong proponent on the need for an efficient and reliable public transport system that can by necessity replace the usage of personal cars within the CBD. Rather than heavily invest on Roads the priority should have been rail and trams that operate on predetermined schedules as is the case in many developed Countries that use subways and Metro's complemented by trams.

The economic, environmental and social benefits of non motorized  systems cannot be underscored. With less cars on the road there will be less pollution,less time wastage, certainty in movement of goods and people.At the same time if the Rapid transport Rail system is implemented on a national scale it will be easier for the large scale movement of unemployed labor force to arrears where seasonal economic opportunities may arise such as tea picking.When it comes to security movement of persons and can be easily monitored on the track system as compared to the Matatu and public vehicle system.I always wonder why our economists and leadership have not given enough focus on such systems instead of investing in capital intensive road systems that have heavy recurrent maintenance cost and punitive carbon foot print levels .

Well Kenya can take a cue from the Addis Ababa Electrified  Light Rail Transit (LRT)system that was initiated in 2011 and is now on trial test runs only 4 years later.

Many Kenyans would prefer such a system rather than be engrossed in traffic always for 3-4 hours.

This is certainly do able in Kenya and has been long in coming. Unfortunately projects of this magnitude are always mired with corruption , however the Government that will accomplish this will certainly score points and leave an unmatched legacy. It is therefore a priority for the Government of the day to ensure that their plans to introduce such a system achieves 100 % fulfillment at least cost to the taxpayer.

With such rapid transportation system who will bog themselves down driving in traffic? We certainly can do this and it should have been done like yesterday.Putting drums on round-a bout's Nairobi Governor Mr Kidero certainly was not a wise idea .It was like using Elastoplast to patch together a broken metallic piece. Nairobi's perennial traffic jam issues need long term solutions and strategic plans not little thought out knee-jerk reactions. If its not broken dont fix it- let it be until you can upgrade..Mr Governor and your team...visit our next door Ethiopia and learn from them.

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