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KCCA introduces BRT system to reduce city traffic jams

By Zurah Nakabugo.

Kampala Capital City Authority, Roads Supervisor and Maintenance Eng. Andrew Serunjogi, has said, they are working closely with the cabinet to make sure that Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) starts and is able to reduce losses incurred due to traffic jams in the city. 

“Through BRT project, we are also introducing special lanes for buses coming and leaving the city to reduce traffic congestion. We shall also introduce Non-Motorized Traffic pot Corridor (NMT) to help cyclists and pedestrians access the city safely, ” he said.

Serunjogi added, “In order to de-congest the city traffic flow, government through  Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project is going to build 41 junctions in the city this year. It will also upgrade street and traffic lights on most roads in Kampala and its suburbs using African Development Bank funds.” 

He said, government has also engaged Kiira Motor services to manufacture electric buses in Uganda which will transport people in big numbers within and outside the city to reduce costs wasted in traffic jam.

Serunjogi  said this on August 5 at hotel Africana in Kampala during a two day National Road Safety and Mobility Symposium 2022, focusing on a theme “Safe and Inclusive Public Transport in Uganda.”

The objective of the symposium aimed at sharing information and experiences with various road safety stake holders such as Ministry of works, Ministry of Health, Police, KCCA, World Bank, National Planning Authority and others with plans to save lives, reduce traffic jam and road crashes in the city.

Awards

During the symposium, Makerere University School of Public Health awarded three top journalists with certificates and cash prizes for exceling on reporting Road Safety issues within the Country. The Winner in these competition was Ronald Musoke of the Independent Magazine, first runner up was Ms  Zurah Nakabugo of The Observer Media and Esther Makula of MPL as second runner up.

Dr Olive Kobusingye, the Director Trauma, Injuries and Disability programe at the Makerere University School of Public Health says, police statistics have proved that majority of people are dying on Ugandan roads are pedestrians, motorcyclists (boda-bodas) and passengers travelling on boda-bodas and taxis.

She says, poor planning of transport sector is the major cause of crashes.

“In Kampala, we need to plan for all motorists not only cars. Right now, its only cars have designated space on most roads. Boda-bodas invade pavements because there is no space for them, it is too risky for them on to move on the main roads,” Kobusingye said.

Police Report 2021

According to annual crime police report 2021, motorcyclists have the biggest number of deaths on road crashes within the country which stands at 34 percent (1,390), followed by pedestrian at 33 percent  (1,384) and passengers at 24 percent (1,005).

Police report says, many pedestrians involve in road crashes while trying to cross the road. It further says, there was 14 percent increase in the total number of people killed in road crashes from 3,663 in 2020 to 4,159 in 2021.

The Traffic Police Spokesperson Faridah Nampiima says, the increase in road crashes has been attributed to speeding, drink driving, not wearing belts and phone use while driving.

Ivan Mwondha, a senior Transport Specialist from World Bank says, Uganda loses about US$ 800 million annually in Kampala city due to fuel costs wasted in traffic jam, diseases caused by air pollution from old cars and road crashes caused by unregulated boda-bodas.

“Since 2012, we have been in talks with the government to implement the Rapid Bus Transport (BRT) but the process is delayed due to lack of Public Transport Authority,” Mwondha says.

World Bank, is expected to provide funding for the implementation of  BRT in Kampala city but wants government to have an agency in charge of mass public transport.

Mwondha says, agencies like Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA cannot be reconsidered as the agency to run public transport because it lacks authority  outside Kampala where the BRT system can be rolled out.

World Bank has introduced BRT systems in different cities of Africa such as Lagos in Nigeria which has a specific authority managing that BRT. BRT is a mass transit considered as a key element to reduce traffic congestion in Kampala and road crashes. It carries a big number of passengers at once, reaches destinations on time and reduces on the number of vehicles entering the city.

Transport

Winstone Katushabe, the Chief Licensing Officer of Motor vehicles, Ministry of Works and Transport says, “inclusive and safe transport creates jobs, markets, education, health care and other services that improve lives. It empowers women, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.”

He says, good transport infrastructure and services are important in helping countries meet the Millennium Development Goals by reducing poverty, increasing access to education and health services and improving the environment.

Trauma

Kobusingye says, trauma has been a leading cause of death and deficits throughout the world in almost all age groups. WHO has declared 2011-2020, the decade of Action for Road Safety and reduce the number of deaths caused by road accidents. Road accidents can lead to permanent injuries, disability or psychological trauma to the patient. That is why, it is important that the victim to get all the psychological, physical, financial and legal assistance they need ■

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