Influence of Road Transport System on Growth and Development of Human Settlements: A Case of Mlolongo in Machakos District, Kenya.

Transport system as an essential land use activity has brought many changes on the other land uses and values. One of this has been the growth and development of human settlements. Initial scattered human settlements in most cases grow up to become urban centres often in unplanned ribbon manner which pose challenges for rational land use planning and smooth traffic flow. This unplanned haphazard developments form a major obstacle because they are usually not controlled. As a result of this lack of control, they end up resulting in the mismanagement of the scarce resources available in these areas.

The study went further and examined the rationale for development of human settlements along road networks in Kenya. It also examined what leads to haphazard development of the settlements and their effect on road network. Lastly, this research examined the challenge of haphazard development of human settlements, and market centres along road transport networks in Kenya.

The study hypothesized that road transport system influences growth and development of human settlements along major roads. The study's objectives were thus: to identify factors which have favoured the growth and development of Mlolongo settlement along the Nairobi - Mombasa road: to examine the socio - cultural and environmental effects created by the relationship between settlement patterns and road transport network: and finally to come up with intervening policy framework which can be advanced to control and guide growth and development in human settlements in relation to transportation system in Kenya.

Sources of primary data included a field survey in which guided interviews, household questionnaires, personal observations, photography, mapping, land use survey and key informant interviews were used to collect relevant data.

The study found out that the weighbridge and the Nairobi - Mombasa road were the main factors which influenced the growth and development of Mlolongo. Other factors of significance were the influence of Nairobi, close proximity to industrial area, cheap and flat land.

Recommendations are mainly based on the general policy guidelines to control and guide development of human settlements along all the major transport systems in Kenya. The study recommends that a good management plan be prepared to control and guide the growth and development of Mlolongo center. It also recommends that human settlements should be integrated into the transport system and lastly, it recommends that a long term physical development plan be prepared.