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published and unpublished materials, government reports, print media and the internet.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.