Provision and utilization of pedestrian footbridges in cities: a case study of Mombasa road corridor, Nairobi
Footbridges and underpasses in urban areas are provided as part of pedestrian infrastructure and they are normally raised above ground or subdued in the sub-terrain. They are optimally designed to provide unhindered travel for pedestrians across potential barriers such as high-volume-high-speed motorways, railways, water channels and valleys thereby facilitating the much-needed accessibility and linkages between land uses. Footbridges and underpasses play other varied roles such as resolving complex interconnections between transport modes and as useful urban design elements. Whereas footbridges and underpasses consume scarce resources and play the varied roles, there has been limited study on the significant link between their provision and their utilization on urban highways. This study sets out to explore the significant link between the provision and utilization of footbridges on Urban Highways in a developing country context. The research setting of Mombasa Road Corridor, Nairobi, which was purposively selected for empirical survey examined three footbridges, while non-random sampling was employed to collect quantitative and qualitative data from pedestrians who formed the basic unit of analysis. The sample size comprised of 180 respondents, business operators and key informants from significant stakeholder institutions. Secondary data was collected by reviewing pertinent background literature on pedestrian infrastructure, footbridges and underpasses. The research findings show that the footbridges which have been provided on the busy Mombasa Road Corridor have led to a significant reduction in accidents due to their substantial utilization. The research findings however show that there are informal at-grade crossings between Nyayo and Imara Daima footbridges along the busy highway which render the footbridges potentially ineffective. Other barriers that lead to their ineffective utilization include the presence of bollards and their conversion into premises for informal economic activities. The study concludes by making recommendations for an integrated footbridge model that is all-encompassing and inclusive by incorporating interconnectivity for all users, which is geared towards enhancing maximum utilization.