Assessing the impact of rural road re-alignment and expansion on non-motorized transport. A case study of Marimba-Imenti junction road

This study seeks to find out the impact of the rural road re-alignment and expansion on nonmotorized transport. A case study of Marimba-Nkubu road, the section between Marimba and Kabanda. Construction and upgrading of roads in rural areas is widely accepted initiative in
Kenya to open up rural areas and regions. Local and international experiences and handled down information reveals that introduction of a new phenomenon in an area/region at some extent ought to stir some impact, either positive or negative in that area. These impacts need to be assessed so that to enhance the positive ones and provide solutions on the negative ones.
Siting from experiences in developing countries, though road are basically designed and developed for motorized transport, motorized transport has not satisfied the need for travel due
to high cost of motorized transport and the ranging physiological characteristics and socioeconomic patterns over space among others. Some modes of transport are just viable and suitable for some regions or certain land uses.
This research recognizes the great role played by Non-Motorized transport especially pedestrians in functioning of various rural activities and rural land use systems. The study recognizes that NMT is the most widely used transport in rural areas, whereby field study in Marimba indicates that 85% of the residents don’t own either motor vehicles or motorcycles. More than 70% of trips are made for agro-related purposes like Tea, milk and horticultural production and trade.
This research set out four objectives: To establish the impact of the road design and re-alignment on NMT along Marimba-Imenti junction, To identify points of conflict of NMT and other road users along Marimba-Imenti junction, To establish opportunities for NMT arising with the
construction of Marimba-Imenti junction road facility and To establish spatial planning intervention which will facilitate the optimal provision of NMT on Marimba-Imenti junction road facility. Therefore its purpose is to assess the effectiveness and suitability of facilities and
conditions brought about by the realignment and construction of Marimba-Kabanda road facility
and provide indicative NMT system that is properly integrated with land use, other transport
modes and socio-economic context.
The research methodology involved literature review, primary and secondary data collection,
data analysis, synthesis and subsequent recommendations. Primary data collection consisted of
household survey, Origin-destination survey, traffic facilities survey, cordon point counts,
observation, key informants and photographs. Secondary data involved review of published and
unpublished material, government reports, print media and internet. Microsoft Excel was used
for data analysis.
The study findings show that there are positive impacts of re-alignment and expansion of
Marimba-Nkubu road on NMT such as reduced time of travel because of increased vehicles to
enhance change of mode, more effectively managed storm water drainage and emergence of new business and shops along the road increasing variety and freedom of choice as well as shorter travel distance. In addition, the study revealed that there are adverse impact of the re-alignment and expansion on the NMT such as; increased slope,(hence tiredness)increased accidents, increased concern of safety &convenience(especially on vehicle wind),increased environmental pollution& hit animal carcases, lacking traffic calming facilities such as zebra crossing, road marking &signage, bumps etc.
To provide solutions for the above impacts this research recommend both social and spatial
planning proposals like segregation of motor and pedestrian traffic using guard rails or footpaths
beyond the storm water drainage channel, provision of traffic calming facilities at appropriate
sites, community participation on road regulation and maintenance, functional development
control, community capacity building, legal enforcement and strategic provision of open air
market and Matatu terminal.
The research further recommends areas of further research which includes; Viability of regional
specialization in production and outsourcing with increased rural mobility, Criteria of
rejuvenating dying border market centres like Kigarine which are just 1km from the main road
but behind another market centre of different location among others.