Factors influencing choice of urban transport alternatives by residents of Buru Buru Estate in Nairobi County
Transport in urban areas is an important and necessary component of a nation’s development. The various forms of transportation are broadly categorised globally as either Non- Motorised Transport (NMT) or Motorised Transport (MT). At the core of this study is the examination of the factors that influence the choice of urban transport alternatives by residents of Buru Buru Estate in Nairobi County, Kenya. In doing so, three broad categories of variables have been identified, which are the income and demographic attributes of the users, and the transportation attributes; either accessibility, time factor, financial cost and safety. In this examination, the preferences and attributes of the transport users and the relationship between these variables and the choices they make will be explored through the application of the Utility Theory (UT). This theory, explains the behaviour of choice selection among users of transport modes in Buru Buru Estate. The research was conducted through quantitative means. Buru Buru as a sample was ideal, as it has access to all the available transport alternatives including; e- hailing services, matatus, train service, motorcycles, regular taxis as well as being within 8 kms walking distance of the Central Business District. The findings reveal that demographic characteristics of the transport user have a significant impact on the transport choices that they make. These include, gender, age, education level and income which seem to have the most significant impact. The marginal effects for the income band of the resident were significant for choice of private and e-hailing transport alternatives, whereas income was non-significant in influencing the choice of the public transport. Additionally, commuter times and financial costs were found to be important factors amongst respondents across the various demographics. The main recommendations drawn from the data includes policies on: increasing public transport alternatives such as BRT; improved existing train infrastructure, light rail; improved NMT infrastructure; reduction of personal car use; nationalisation of transport; price controls and payment digitisation of public transport. Moreover, there was also a need to carry out larger scale studies with various demographics, taking into account the transport attributes and the demographic characteristics of various populations across Kenya. It also found that there is an increasing need to enforce existing policies as public transport was the most used and most preferred mode of transport.