More than half of Ugandans are dissatisfied with the experience they get on the country’s road network and feel unsafe using it, a new survey by the Uganda Road Fund has indicated.
The findings for the bi-annual report named the Road User Satisfaction Survey for the period between 2019 and 2021 are based on 2797 respondents drawn from pedestrians, passengers; cyclists; motorcyclists; motorcar drivers; taxi bus drivers; and truck drivers on both paved and unpaved roads spread across the different regions of the country.
“Overall, majority of the road users on all categories of roads were dissatisfied with their experience on Ugandan roads. The survey established that only 46.8% of the road users were satisfied with Uganda’s roads,” the report indicates.
According to the survey, passengers at 57.3% were the most dissatisfied road users in the country followed by pedestrians at 49.3% whereas the lowest percentage of satisfied road users was among motorcyclists, drivers of passenger vehicles, car drivers and cyclists.
The survey also indicates that whereas all regions of the country showed dissatisfaction with the roads in their area, there was declined satisfaction among users in the central and Northern regions of the country.
In the report, the survey indicates that most road users were dissatisfied with Uganda’s road network mostly due to its narrowness and these accounted for 21.5% whereas 20.1% complained of potholes, 12% complained of inadequate maintenance, poor drainage and dust as reason for being dissatisfied with the roads.
“Narrow road width was the main reason why road users didn’t feel safe while travelling on Ugandan road. Presence of potholes, reckless driving and poor signage followed. Notable too were traffic congestion and lack of pedestrian pathways .Traffic congestion was particularly more prominent on KCCA roads compared to national roads.”
The respondents according to the survey indicated that roads with security, less traffic congestion were satisfying for use.
The survey indicates that road users rated Uganda National Roads Authority(UNRA) as the best agency overall in provision of road services with a satisfaction score of 2.76 points followed by KCCA at 2.46 points and then local governments.
“Road users rated the road services of UNRA within the slightly satisfactory region while the services of KCCA and local governments were unsatisfactory,” the survey indicates.
Most road users according to the survey considered eateries, refreshment stopovers and fuel stations as the most available facilities on Ugandan roads followed by police posts or patrols and roadside parking facilities.
Garages and vehicle tow facilities were also considered relatively available especially on city roads.
“Public washrooms on the other hand were considered relatively scarce with only 49% of road users being satisfied with their availability,” the survey says.
Commenting about the report, the Uganda Road Fund Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Naimanye said whereas mentioned by respondents in the survey, narrow roads cannot solely be blamed for most accidents.
“Narrowness of the roads is not entirely to blame because if you drive on a narrow road at an appropriate speed limit, there will not be any problem,”Dr.Naimanye said.
Commenting on the condition of roads, the Uganda Road Fund boss said overall, the condition of Ugandan roads has greatly improved with many tarmacked.
He however noted there is need to ensure roads are maintained in a good condition.
“As a country, we lose about 4% of our GDP due to road accidents which is a big cost to our economy. We need to have good axle on the roads to ensure they are kept in good condition. We hope that money collected from road toll like Entebbe Expressway can be ploughed back to help in the maintenance of our roads,”he said.
The report comes on the backdrop of increased concern over the number of accidents on Ugandan roads that are on the rise.
For example, in a period of eight days between April, 24 and May, 2, 2022, a total of 90 people died in accidents on Ugandan roads.
Of these, 23 were killed in only two days between May,1 and 2 around the country.
The other week, a total of 101 people died in road accidents that happened in a period of nine days between April, 10 and 19, 2022.
Most of the accidents are attributed to reckless driving.
A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa indicates that on average, Uganda loses 10 people per day in road accidents, the highest number in East Africa.