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Rwanda Implements Car-Free Zone in Capital

August 27, 2015

As of August 24, vehicles are no longer allowed in the heart of Rwanda's capital Kigali. Except special services vehicles such as ambulances, others are prohibited in the streets of the declared “Car-Free Zone,” according to a press release issued by KT Press.

"Normally, a city is for people not vehicles," said Luben Ahimbissibwe, director of infrastructure in the city. "We want to turn Kigali into a pedestrian friendly city."

Over the past several years, all buildings have been required to have underground parking to prepare for the “Car-Free Zone.” Ahimbisibwe told KT Press, which has been reporting on the efforts, that the decision to do away with city traffic "is to maintain green transport and sustainability of the city."

Mobility in Kigali, which has a population of 1.1 million, has been a priority in the past 15 years. The city set out to connect all suburbs with tarmac roads and drainages. Old-fashion mini-buses were eliminated, and three local bus companies were awarded five-year contracts to transport more than 500,000 commuters every day, according to KT Press. 

Eventually, the central government intends to roll out the public transport model across the nation. Asian automobile companies Hyundai Youtong have supplied 800 new buses. The buses have wireless Internet, allowing commuters to keep working, and operators to track their buses, according to KT Press.

Meanwhile, Rwanda aims to have 35 percent of its population living in cities nationwide. In addition to the capital Kigali, the East African landlocked country has plans to build six more strategic secondary cities to allow its 11 million people enjoy urban life, according to KT Press.

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