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Road Network Classification

PROPOSED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM FOR KENYA ROAD NETWORK

INTRODUCTION

Road Infrastructure is a key driver to development of Nations. The Kenya Vision 2030 aspires for a country firmly interconnected through a network of roads, railways, ports, airports, water ways and telecommunications as well as adequately provided with energy.

Road transport is the predominant mode of transport and carries about 93% of all cargo and passenger traffic in the country.

Kenya's road network has been established to be 160,886 km long. About 61,936km of these roads are classified while the remaining 98,950km are not classified.

Responsibility for the management of the road network falls under the Ministry of Roadsand implemented through Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

PURPOSE OF CLASSIFICATION

A road classification system has several purposes which are interrelated. Key among these are:

Planning. The application of a road classification provides a framework for policy formulation in road administration and management. Road classification assists planners in allocating resources for maintenance and development for the road network between different groups of roads and also for setting priorities.

Design. A road classification system indicates an expected level of service for specific road classes and therefore provides guidance to design engineers in applying appropriate design standards.

Administration. Road classification also clarifies responsibilities amongst road administrations and the assignment of road sub-networks.

Usage. A well defined and consistent road classification system influences road user expectations, behaviour and performance in traffic which improves the effectiveness with which the road network carries traffic. Hence the road classification system should provide road users with some confidence in the level and continuity of service intended to be provided.

EXISTING ROAD CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

The Current Road Classification System was developed over 30 years ago and has six road classes named from Classes A to E and a Special Purpose Road class. Each class is defined by the functional criteria related to administrative level of centres the roads connect. The system covers only 61,936km of the entire road network of 160,886km while the rest 98,950km are not classified.

CURRENT ROAD CLASSIFICATION

CLASS

DESCRIPTION

FUNCTION

A

International Trunk Roads

Link centres of international importance and cross international boundaries or terminate at international ports or airports (e.g. Mombasa,)

B

National Trunk Roads

Link nationally important centres (e.g. Provincial headquarters)

C

Primary Roads

Link provincially important centres to each other or to higher class roads (e.g. District headquarters)

D

Secondary Roads

Link locally important centres to each other, or to more important centres or to a higher class road (e.g. divisional headquarters)

E

Minor Roads

Any link to a minor centre

SPR

G

L

R

S

T

W

Government Roads

Settlement Roads

Rural Access Roads

Sugar Roads

Tea Roads

Wheat Roads

U

Unclassified

All other public roads and streets

 

SUMMARY OF CURRENT ROAD CLASSIFICATION IN KM

ROAD CLASS

PAVED

UNPAVED

TOTAL

A

2,772

816

3,588

B

1,489

1,156

2,645

C

2,693

5,164

7,857

D

1,238

9,483

10,721

E

577

26,071

26,649

SPR

100

10,376

10,476

U

2,318

96,623

98,941

TOTAL

11,189

149,689

160,886

JUSTIFICATION FOR REVIEW OF CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

The current road classification system was developed over 30 years ago. Since then the road network has grown rapidly and changed in character. The classification system is now perceived to be outdated and in need of a review for the following reasons:

  1. Rapid growth and urbanisation of the population
  2. Significant expansion of the road network
  3. Ad hoc addition of road classes to provide for special purpose roads
  4. The existence of the large rural and urban road network (98,936km) that is currently unclassified
  5. The successive changes in administration boundaries, affecting the validity of the original functional classification in terms of administrative centres, notably at district level.
  6. The perception of some anomalies in class assignment, whereby some higher classes of roads have significantly lower standards or lower traffic volume than some lower classes of roads.
  7. The criteria used for the classification are relatively broad and subjective.

The present system is seen to be static and unable to adjust to changing circumstances.

Rational planning and allocation of scarce funds to the road system is now perceived to require a more objective and quantifiable basis for prioritizing groups of roads than a simple functional classification system can provide.

Due to the limitations of the existing classification system, Kenya Roads Board, with funding from the Nordic Development Fund under the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project, commissioned a Consultant to develop a new Road Classification System in October 2006.

The Consultant has reviewed the current classification system and compared with best international practices to develop a proposed new classification system.

The proposed reclassification system was presented to a stakeholder's meeting in July 2007 where it was adopted. It will take effect when approved by the Minister for Roads.

The Proposed Road Classification System

The new classification system covers all public roads and extends to the presently unclassified rural and urban roads.

The main thrust of the approach is to make the classification more objective and consistent by specifying quantifiable parameters (traffic, population, spacing) to guide the selection of appropriate road classes. It is also a dynamic system where road classes can be periodically reviewed to adapt to changes in traffic, function etc.

The proposed Road Classification System sees Kenya's road network as being composed of two distinct networks i.e. the Rural Roads Network (outside Cities and Municipalities) and the Urban Roads Network (within Cities and Municipalities) for all public roads with 9m or more road reserves.

Although the new classification system retains A,B,C,D and E classes, the system has been extended to include additional classes. It should be noted that presently classified roads do not necessarily retain their road classes under the new classification.

EXPECTED BENEFITS OF NEW CLASSIFICATION

The expected benefits of applying the proposed road classification system are:

  1. The System has formal procedures and guidelines for changing road classes or for incorporating new roads when circumstances change. It is therefore dynamic in nature, unlike the current system.
  2. It also has a direct linkage with the volume of traffic on the road, the standard to which the road is, or will be constructed and with the level of service the road is expected to provide.
  3. The System covers the entire road network in Kenya.
  4. It will have a legal basis upon its approval and gazettement.
  5. It shall provide a rational basis for allocation of resources for road maintenance and development between different categories of roads.
  6. The road classification shall assist in the assignment of road sub-networks amongst the road administration agencies.
  7. It shall provide guidance to road engineers and planners in applying appropriate geometric standards.
  8. The system shall also influence road users' behavior and performance in the traffic which will improve the effectiveness of the road network.
 

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