February 05, 2014

ITDP Advocates Bringing BRT into Nairobi’s Central Business District

As plans for Nairobi’s upcoming BRT develop, ITDP Africa is advocating the extension of the corridor through Nairobi’s central business district. Where previous models considered diverting the BRT’s path around the city’s busiest central blocks, ITDP analysis shows that bringing the system into the city’s downtown would benefit users and improve traffic conditions. The recommendation is part of ITDP Africa’s larger proposal, providing key details on the system’s design and routing, including specifying station locations, intersection design, and a spur corridor linking outlying low-income neighborhoods to the BRT network.

After months of collecting data on transit patterns and key intersections, ITDP Africa is preparing detailed recommendations to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) for the city’s BRT corridor. Among its suggestions, the proposal will advocate bringing the corridor through the city’s central business district (CBD). While previous proposals sent the BRT around the edges of the CBD (Fig. 1), ITDP’s proposal offers several options for routes through downtown (Fig. 2). Current conditions prevent adequate transportation in the CBD, forcing those working in the area to walk unnecessary distances or go through time consuming transfers. ITDP’s proposed routes would ease traffic tensions in the congested downtown and provide better access for many of the region’s workers.

Previous proposals for the BRT corridor sent the route along the outside of the central business district.

Another important component of ITDP’s proposal will be the addition of a spur corridor off the main highway. While the corridor will primarily run north to south, along the A104 highway, a significant population of primarily low income residents travel in from the west, demonstrating the need and benefit of an extra leg of the BRT stretching toward the Langata neighborhood. ITDP is preliminarily proposing adding 1.5km of corridor to serve this population, meeting up with the main corridor just south of the CBD.

ITDP Africa’s Annie Weinstock and Elkin Bello, along with technical advisor Pedro Szasz, recently delivered their preliminary findings, recommendations, and larger guidelines for BRT infrastructure to  KeNHA and the three consulting firms involved in the detailed design of the corridor. The recommendations are the result of an extended study of the city’s transit patterns, undertaken with local university students. ITDP is advising on BRT operations, station locations, and intersection design. The recommendations were well received by the planners, who will now focus on incorporating the suggestions and technical guidelines into their designs.

Each color above demonstrates a potential access corridor through the CBD, including connecting the main corridor along Highway A104, in white.

Cover Story: A traffic jam leading into downtown Nairobi demonstrates the need for more efficient mass transit. Credit: Elkin Bello, ITDP Africa.


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