Dispelling Myths About Nairobi's Traffic Through Data Analysis

At a Data Science meet-up in Nairobi, there was an interesting presentation from Henk Harmsen.

He picked up a data set from Digital Matatus and built a network graph of bus and matatu stages in Nairobi. In it, he uncovered fascinating facts.

First, which is the busiest matatu stage in Nairobi

It’s not what you think – turns out Agip the nondescript stage next to KRA handles about 80% of matatu traffic in Nairobi. The diagram below captures the details.


Nairobi Backbone Transport Network

While Agip handles most traffic, Ambassadeur stage provides the best interconnection within the city i.e Ambassadeur is the best axis point of connecting a traveler from one part of the city to another.

It is worth noting that Ambassadeur stage hosts the three largest bus fleet in Nairobi (KBS, Citi Hoppa and City Shuttle). A further confirmation that these bus companies have the widest coverage of the city.

Let’s look at different perspectives – if Agip and Ambassadeur are removed from the list of stages, which are the next busiest stages in Nairobi?

The diagram below points to Khoja and Kariakor.

Nairobi Traffic

Route Network in Nairobi

These visualizations poke a hole in the notion that most traffic in Nairobi CBD emanates from Eastlands.

It seems most traffic in the Nairobi CBD originates from Mombasa road, Ngong road and Thika road respectively.

Nest VC WhatsNext Mobility

Ma3Route will be releasing some key insights from their recent data-driven study into traffic patterns and accident reported in Nairobi at Nest Nairobi's #WhatsNext Mobility. Register here to catch the panel discussion with Uber, Artcaffe, National Transport Safety Authority and Kenya Red Cross.

Cover Image, Matatu Driver | Neil Ward | Visualizations by Henk Harmsen