BY ZURAH NAKABUGO
Kampala Capital City Authority, Roads Supervisor and Maintenance Eng. Andrew Serunjogi, has said they are working closely with cabinet to speed the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in and around Kampala to reduce traffic jams that have become a nightmare for many travelers .
“Through BRT project, we are also introducing special lanes for buses to reduce traffic congestion in the city. We shall also introduce Non-Motorized Traffic 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 the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project is going to build 41 junctions. 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 Corporation (KMC) to manufacture electric buses in Uganda which will transport people in big numbers within and outside the city to reduce on the man hours and huge transport costs wasted in traffic jam.
Serunjogi was speaking at hotel Africana in Kampala during a two day National Road Safety and Mobility Symposium 2022 whose theme was “Safe and Inclusive Public Transport in Uganda.”
The objective of the symposium was to share information and experiences with various road safety stake holders who included among others ministry of works and transport , ministry of health, police, KCCA, World Bank, National Planning Authority (NPA).
Uganda’s premium products the Kayoola Electric Buses produced by Uganda’s automakers Kiira Motors Corporation
During the symposium, Makerere University School of Public Health awarded three top journalists with certificates and Cash prizes for excelling on reporting road safety issues within the Country. The Winner in these competition was Ronald Musoke of the Independent Magazine, first runner up was 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 said police statistics have proved that majority of people who are dying on Ugandan roads are pedestrians, motorcyclists (boda-bodas) and passengers travelling on boda-bodas and taxis. She said that poor planning and enforcement of laws in the transport sector was a major cause of accidents in the country.
“In Kampala, we need to plan for all travelers not only cars. Right now, its only cars that 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 noted.
Police Report 2021
According to annual crime police report 2021, motorcyclists registered the biggest number of deaths in road accidents 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).
The Traffic Police Spokesperson Faridah Nampiima said the increase in road accidents was mainly due to speeding, drink driving, not wearing seatbelts and phone use while driving.
Ivan Mwondha, a senior Transport Specialist from World Bank said, Uganda loses about US$ 800 million annually in Kampala city due to fuel costs wasted in traffic jam, diseases caused by air pollution from end -of life -old cars and road accidents 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 said.
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 said agencies like Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA cannot effectively run public transport because it lacks authority outside Kampala where the BRT system will 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 the BRT. BRT is a mass transit considered as a key element to reduce traffic congestion in Kampala and road accidents. It carries a big number of passengers at once, reaches destinations on time and reduces on the number of vehicles entering the city.
Winstone Katushabe, the Chief Licensing Officer of Motor vehicles, Ministry of Works and Transport said “inclusive and safe transport creates jobs, markets, education, health care and other services that improve people’s lives. It empowers women, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.”
He said 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.
Kobusingye said trauma has been a leading cause of death and deficits throughout the world in all age groups. WHO 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 victims get all the psychological, physical, financial and legal assistance they need.
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