Traffic Jams In Kenya’s Capital Bleed $1B From Economy

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
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Traffic jams in the Kenyan capital cost the city an estimated $1 billion in lost productivity each year. Drivers sit in queues of traffic on a highway in downtown Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Photo – AP – Sayyid Azim

Traffic jams in Kenya’s capital Nairobi cost the economy an estimated $1 billion each year in lost productivity, according to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.

The agency says that Nairobi’s notorious traffic jams are responsible for more than $1 billion a year in wasted time and fuel, Bloomberg reports. This is a problem that is likely to worsen as its population grows.

In Kenya’s capital – home to more than four million people – the average commute takes around 57 minutes, longer than many global cities. Four in 10 people walk to work because they cannot afford public transport, according to the United Nations.

“Lack of a scheduled public transport system and an elaborate non-motorized transport network forces people to use personal vehicles over short distances, whereas they would have otherwise walked, cycled or used public transport,” according to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.

A proposed Bus Rapid Transport System that could reduce the gridlock has remained unimplemented despite several promises by the state.

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Nairobi accounts for the majority of the country’s motor vehicles, which are only set to increase due to urbanization.

“The traffic conditions have continued to worsen due to increased motorization brought about by increased economic activities,” said the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority in a public statement.