Non-motorization of transport in Kampala should not be a one-off project

Earlier this week, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) , a corporate body that governs and runs Kampala city in Uganda announced plans to introduce non-motorized transport (NMT) as an alternative means of movement within the city.  Shs 3 billion ($1.2m) is to be sunk into the project that aims to reduce the use of motor vehicles while increase and encouraging the use of walking and cycling. This comes about because of the congestion of vehicles that has led to high numbers of road traffic crashes and injuries as well as traffic jams as pedestrians compete for space with roadside vendors, trucks, taxis and boda-boda motorcycles. A 2010 research study at Mulago hospital, Kampala reported that road traffic injuries were by far the largest cause of both morbidity and mortality in Kampala, with pedestrians accounting for 30% of the injuries.

Uganda is one of the countries with the deadliest roads in the world and together with Nigeria, South Africa, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania account for 64% of all road traffic deaths in the Africa region. The risk if being injured or killed on the road varies according to road user groups, with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and two-wheeler users being at a greater risk and bearing the greatest burden of injury.

NMT is therefore a great development because putting more focus non-motorized transport has been identified as an important to reducing road carnage. As the city attempts to achieve NMT by closing of some streets to vehicles, the authorities should also ensure that roads under construction and future road designs have a plan for accommodating the different aspects of NMT. Without, dry, good-quality and secure road networks, people will not risk walking and bicycle travel The benefits of using non-motorized transport are that by separating the mix of road users, it reduces the intensity of vehicles in the city and separates vehicular traffic from pedestrians and cyclist and thus minimizing the risk of getting injured. Therefore in order to make substantial gains in reducing the road carnage in the city, the focus on non-motorized transport should be sustained and expanded to cover other towns and districts.

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