AN INVESTIGATION ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUS-STOPS AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION ALONG JUJA ROAD, NAIROBI

ABSTRACT
Efficient mobility is a pre-requisite to effective socio-economic performance of a nation. Given that cities are increasingly seen as the engines of economic growth, and that this can only be realized with a well-performing urban transport system, any drawback to this must be adequately dealt with. Good transport plays an important role in confronting the multiple urban development challenges of poverty reduction, productivity enhancement, employment provision, infrastructure provision and protection of the environment.
Like all the other cities in the developing countries, Nairobi is also experiencing an alarming rate in population as people migrate from the rural areas, to come to the city in search of greener pastures be it jobs, education and better living conditions. It’s this that has led to wasteful congestion, creation of slums, worsening air quality, floods and inadequate sanitation, and joblessness arising from the migration from the poor rural communities to Nairobi, which is ill-equipped to receive them. The results has led to creation of public problems ranging from illegal land acquisition, urban sprawl, health hazards, crime/violence and last but not least, unmanageable traffic problems.
Juja road is one of the major corridors in Nairobi being used by one of the biggest slum in Africa. This road is a two-lane road that serves approximately more than half a million people in Mathare and Eastleigh. The road is also used by residents of Dandora so the road is a major primary distributor connecting the CBD and the exterior parts of the city. It’s due to this and many other reason that the road is always experiencing major traffic congestion whatever time of day and the situation only worsens during rush hours. Many studies have been done along the corridor to try and combat the situation but none of them seems to be working as the congestion is only getting worse. Past studies done have concluded that the road narrow carriageway is a major factor contributing to the congestion.
This study however, is seeking to know the relationship between the bus stops along the road (both designated and undesignated) and the constant traffic congestion experienced with a view of proposing suitable measures to counter any negative relationship discovered. The objectives of the study were to discover points along the route used as stops, the behaviour of the matatus at the various stops, some of the effects of the random stopping and going of the matatus and lastly to propose suitable measures to the problem of matatus stopping at undesignated stops.
The major findings of the study is that there are very many PSVs along the route. The free market structure currently in place is allowing too many matatus into the industry than are needed. This causes there to be too much supply of the matatus than the demand, hence leading to heightened competition among the drivers. The fact that the road is two-laned only goes to aggravate the problem.
Some of the recommendations in response to this issue include government intervention to regulate the number of PSVs on the road. Juja road is also supposed to be widened and bus stops redesigned to accommodate the bigger PSVs, so as to better serve the people of Mathare, Eastleigh and Dandora. This will reduce the competition among the drivers leading to them abandoning the bad driving skills they have adopted like making stops in the middle of the carriageway to either drop or pick passengers.