Towards a Smart Moving Kampala

Smart Moving KampalaIn May 2013, Eng. Byabagambi the Minister of State for works, MoWT launched the national non-motorised transport (NMT) policy whose key elements were to increase the recognition of walking and cycling; planning, design and infrastructure provision; provide safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists; and, enforcement to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Prior to the NMT policy launch, KCCA was already miles ahead after identifying a route for a pilot project notably Namirembe Road and Luwum Street initially which has now grown to include Speke Road and Shimoni Road connecting to city Square. Currently the design of this pilot is almost complete.

It is important to note that NMT infrastructure provision especially in the city is deliberately being developed and repaired to cater for approximately 60% of the population that uses NMT along the existing road network.

The NMT Pilot Project must become part of a larger NMT network for it to serve its purpose. In design, it became very clear that there must be a deliberate effort to have a plan for the wider central business district.

Kampala has approximately 1.5million inhabitants and more than 1.5million commuters travel into the city every day. 40% use motorized transport, with boda bodas in the city accounting for more than 42% of the modal share, 21% for taxis and 37% for private vehicles.

A quick look at the people travelling to the central business district, the taxis that use the least road space carry most passengers while the boda bodas that have the highest motorised modal share carry the least passengers even with the current trend of some carrying in excess of one passenger.

The KCCA transport focus is to plan for people and places. The challenge is that most planning has been for cars and vehicular infrastructure with little or no consideration of people. Around the world now it is very clear that provide infrastructure does not relieve congestion. With a growing urban population, the city infrastructure must be optimized to allow everyone to continue enjoying it and that calls for smart solutions. In the first place, this means strategic network planning for cars, public transport, walking and cycling. Furthermore, we are now making a deliberate effort to carefully shift our public transport vehicles from low volume commuter carriers (taxis and boda bodas) to high volume commuter carriers (buses, trains and other mass transit) using the same road space. Using the cable cars for urban transport has also been proven to be reliable, safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable and an attractive investment.

The current network for all modes in Kampala, allows motorists to access all areas of the central business district using any road link. All types of vehicles all day can access any area of the city which must change as we give the central business district back to the people.The proposed main car network that is made up of routes that should be maintained for car accessibility. The links in between the main car network should be improved to cater for mainly pedestrians and cyclists. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Network that shall be allowed direct access into the city centre as the main public transport mode for the next 15-20 years. The combined network with the car network, BRT and the NMT pilot are all fitting in together. The public transport network shall be allowed to penetrate where the demand is available and junctions will have bus priority.

Smart Moving Kampala IIA focus on the car circulation plan in the CBD will allow cars to have accessibility as close as possible to where commuters are going but with most car journeys ending in designated car parks. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places. Commuters will have to use the improved NMT facilities as they move to their destination. The shaded part surrounded by car parks is where we want people to enjoy their city. Through car traffic will be discouraged deliberated through design of vehicle routing so that the main circulation loop road around the CBD always remains the best option. This plan shall be implemented in small steps with little impact on the day to day economic activities and once complete will have a big impact on the lives of the people that shop, study, live and work in the city. This is a first network design and still has to be approved by stakeholders and after we have done transport modeling (more calculations) to demonstrate that it will be the best developed network solution in the long term. I am open to ideas and I am confident this urban transport network together with the ongoing detailed physical planning work on neighbourhoods and land use adjustment will transform the city.

By Jacob Byamukama, Manager Transport Planning and Traffic Management, Kampala Capital City Authority / December 2014

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