City of Kigali (CoK) is carrying out a study to assess the possibility of introducing high capacity buses that will transport large volumes of passengers to reduce air pollution by limiting use of cars in the city.
Engineer Dr Alphonse Nkurunziza, an official of CoK told Sunday Times that the assessment which has already began will combine improving the city’s transport system with urban settlement plans.
“From studies we are carrying out, we are planning to introduce high capacity buses with their own dedicated routes in order to transport large numbers of passengers. Our plan is to have people who use private cars out of the city,” he said.
The transition from current transport system to rapid transit system will be targeting where many people reside to be able to carry as many passengers as possible. This will reduce use of these private cars that overcrowd the roads so as reduce air pollution from them. We are collaborating with other government institutions, Rwanda Environment Management Authority so that we sustainably manage our land and environment, he explained.
The city engineer said that they have to design routes in different parts of the city while showing where people have to reside in a manner that guides them adding that the focus for urban settlement is to introduce housing models that could accommodate masses instead of continuing to exploit land in the outskirts.
“We need a city with transport that is not expensive, facilitating interconnection, movement and inter-trading in the city,” he said.
City officials cautioned city residents to avoid construction of houses without construction permits to avoid unpleasant consequences once the implementation starts.
Green transport will reduce emissions
According to officials, the rapid bus transit initiative is part of green transport initiatives that also include controlling and testing air emissions by vehicles and others.
Dr Nkurunziza said Kigali city is expected to have a smooth transport system for pedestrians, cyclists as well as high capacity buses while private cars can be used out of the city, which fits in the green transport policy.
Studies show that the annual increase in population vehicles will reach 16.5% from the current 12% while light duty vehicles will increase 20% by 2030.
According to Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) prepared by Rwanda Environment Management Authority to reduce greenhouse emissions, Rwanda has pledged to reduce gas emissions from the transport sector by 2030 by construction of Central Bus Terminals and Customer Service Centers in Kigali, Standardized Route Optimization planning and implementation.
The city will also construct 17 km bus rapid transit main corridor and six modern interchanges which will result in greenhouse emissions reductions.
The plan includes construction of dedicated “rush hour” high speed bus lanes, improvement of traffic and pedestrian controls and street lighting using solar panels , use of higher fuel efficiencies and low carbon technologies for new vehicles, as well as integration with international Airport and business centers.
Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA, said controlling and testing air emissions by cars is gaining momentum.
She noted that some cars emit gas because of technical faults while others are too old to be on the road. “Solving such issues in the transport sector is an ongoing process of educating the car owners, it is not an issue that we can address in two months,” she said.