Kenyan traffic is legendary. Those who ply Mombasa road, Ngong, Lang’ata and even Rongai have a taste of what nightmares on the road are made off. Your working day has to include a minimum of 1 hour to accommodate the monster of traffic.
Because Kenyan traffic is ugly, Nairobi has earned the dubious name of second worst city in the world coming after Kolkata in India. This is according to the 2017 Traffic Index released by numbeo.com.
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There are routes, Kitengela to Nairobi for instance, where you can be held up in traffic for up to 3 hours on a pathetic rainy day. Politicians do not make it any better. When they decide that their motorcades will stop in the middle of the highway to wave at crowds, road angst has no other name.
Your health pays dearly for this kind of life. People who spend too much time in traffic have high stress levels. It is a mundane activity that is unfeeling and punishing. That is part of the reason why commuting is also called stress that doesn’t pay.
You are likely to suffer from poor quality of sleep if you commute for long hours. This can be explained in so many ways but one of the things that is difficult to achieve is good sleep when you are thinking about how early you have to wake to beat Mombasa road traffic. Time is limited anyway.
Traffic is bad for your health. Your waistline doesn’t like it very much when you just sit. Yet, traffic comes with reduced physical activity. Subsequently what that means is that your BMI will increase and your blood pressure will be a bother.
When looking at how to manage Non Communicable Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and even cancer it should be within our goals to look at the duration that people spend in meaningless traffic.
Pollution especially in metropolitan areas is high. The main reason for that again, is traffic. Vehicle exhaust emissions are lethal.
What time do you have when you get home to have a proper healthy meal when your body is screaming ‘sleeeeeep”. Easy to do is reach out for something quick. A snack that will quench your sugar craving and off you curl in bed, nursing fatigue.
There are people who have to make room for 3 hour commute time to go to work and return home. If you are working for 8 hours add 3 hours for commute. 11 hours of your day is gone. When do you have time for yourself, family or even friends?
How Can Commuter Time be Made Better
I would think that reducing traffic is one possible way of making commuting easier. But time and again, this has proven a long term investment that requires commitment. For the duration that Kenyans have decried the horrible traffic on the roads, it should be a priority for policy makers. I think you see where I am going with this?
Those who recall the so called Kidero traffic rules know that decisions to ease traffic must be informed. Untested experiments with thousands of cars and public transport vehicles on the road will not wash.
Do we all need to be in the office?
In this age of connectivity, working from home should be something that employers consider seriously. If it is possible to facilitate people to deliver without physical presence in crowded office spaces, why not try this one.
Walk, walk walk some more
Where you can, relieve yourself the headache of sitting for hours in a crowded matatu blasting sick music you do not even understand. Walk. Your body will thank you for it. Those who live in places like Ngong, Rongai, Kitengela etal this is perhaps not for you. Unless you want to experiment with walking some distance and then catching a ride some few stops away. For those with their own cars though accommodating all the factors maybe a tall order. Perhaps factoring in some yoga time in your schedule maybe something you consider. Your body will thank you.