Transport in Addis Ababa
The city of Addis Ababa is experiencing rapid expansion and development. While the current population is estimated at 4.5 million people, some forecasts expect it to grow to 10 million by 2040. Car ownership is increasing, reflecting the increasing economic development and wealth, but this is also leading to severe traffic congestion, pollution and resulting problems related to safety, health and productivity.
In Addis, there is a strong political will for mass-transit systems. The city already has a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, which is not common on the African continent. In addition, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line will soon be constructed from Jemu to Winget together with some intermodal hubs in Mexico, Kofa and German. However, a much larger offer of public transport needs to become available over the coming decade to cover the public transport demand. This way, the city is to avoid an existential crisis in the form of congestion and air pollution.
Public Realm in Addis Ababa Streets.
Source: Addis Ababa City Administration Road and Transport Bureau | Non-Motorised Transport Strategy 2019 – 2028
Reliable and affordable daily transport is currently just a dream for the majority of the population who walk or use over-crowded mini-buses to and from work and school and to reach friends and family. Many more inter-connected modes of affordable, safe, women and children friendly as well as all-inclusive transport must be implemented to allow all residents in Addis access to the opportunities and services that are necessary for a better quality of life.
Some of the city’s most significant transport challenges include:
- Poor access to workplace, education, health and other services due to lack of public transport service.
- Continuous increases in transport fares especially for low-income groups.
- Roads capacity and traffic flow do not work in a coordinated manner and roads are increasingly congested.
- Lack of sufficient traffic signals, road signs and markings, coupled with non-functioning and ineffective features of the existing ones.
- Lack of dedicated bus lanes or infrastructure for Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) such as walking and cycling infrastructure.
- High rate of traffic accidents.
- Very limited options for people with disabilities, the elderly, women and other vulnerable groups.
- Poor safety and security, particularly for women.
- Increasing air and noise pollution.
- Lack of parking facilities and over utilization of on-road parking.
- Lack of public and freight transport terminals with necessary facilities.
Considering the rapid rate of growth of both the population and number of private vehicles in the city, there now exists a limited window of opportunity to plan and gradually implement a more sustainable transport system for Addis. If the opportunity is missed over the coming years, it will become increasingly hard and costly to reverse the trends of: