Until recently, Nairobi, Kenya lacked a strong government strategy for addressing the city’s public transportation needs, including the integration of non-motorized transport. However, in the past several years, the city has made significant progress in establishing clear transportation policies and developing forward-thinking projects related to Nairobi’s problems with air and noise pollution, traffic delays, and limited space for pedestrians.
In 2012, with a loan from the World Bank, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) pledged to incorporate BRT into a project to upgrade a major road from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, past the city center, and northwards. In 2013, as part of the GEF Sustran East Africa project, ITDP began working with KeNHA to provide direct technical assistance to the development of the BRT on this corridor.
Using its in-house expertise, ITDP has developed a service plan to define the routes, stations, and frequencies of the BRT services to run on the corridor. ITDP has also brought in world-class BRT engineers to provide guidance on the design of BRT infrastructure. Finally, noting a critical gap in the Nairobi BRT plans, ITDP convinced the government to route the BRT infrastructure directly into Nairobi city center. Gold-standard BRT infrastructure in the city center will bring huge benefits to BRT passengers and has the likelihood of catalyzing revitalization of Downtown Nairobi.
In Nairobi, ITDP is also recommending changes to the Nairobi Master Plan towards a more transit- and pedestrian-friendly city. ITDP is putting parking reform and transit-oriented development, today absent from the discourse in Nairobi, onto the agenda. Paired with a gold-standard BRT through downtown Nairobi, work towards developing a gold-standard TOD along the BRT corridor, with requisite parking reform, may finally begin to change the urban form in Nairobi, putting eyes on the street and breathing new life into a highly congested city.