Paving the Way for a Smooth Ride in Kabul

April 27, 2015


Moahmmad Nayeem, a resident of the Macroyan 4 area says that he and his family can walk under the illumination of street lights. 

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

  • Poor traffic flow in parts of Kabul City is a pressing issue and the Kabul Municipality is tackling this daily problem through a series of actions.
  • Examples of action for better traffic flow, including rehabilitation of road pavement and providing comprehensive road services like drainage and parking lots, are now being built under the Kabul Urban Transport Efficiency Improvement Project.
  • The project, supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), is working towards the improvement of road conditions and traffic flows in selected corridors of Kabul City.

KABUL CITY, Afghanistan – Nearly 700,000 vehicles operate within Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, and drivers constantly complain of the poor road conditions and difficulty of finding a parking spot.

“Poor traffic flow and parking are huge problems in Kabul,” says Hamidullah, 25, a Kabul resident who owns a Toyota Corolla. “Parking is so hard to find that I usually end up walking a long distance from my car to get to where I need to go. And the longer I park, the more I have to pay.”

Sometimes, Hamidullah resorts to parking on the side of a crowded street. But this strategy can backfire, he says. “If the traffic police catches you parking on the side of a street, they will penalize you with a ticket and fine. In any case, this ends in frustration and a financial loss.” 


The Kabul Nendare road built by the project. 

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

" Previously, the dust, dirt, and pollution on the old road were tormenting everyone. Now, you can see how much it has changed. The parking lots too have helped ease traffic flow. "

Mohammad Naeem

Resident of Kabul City


The project has supported the construction and maintenence of nine parking lots, each that can accommodate about 100 cars.

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Recently, however, the reconstruction of two roads, lined with well-planned parking lots, has helped ease the flow of traffic. Kabul Municipality constructed the roads and parking lots under the Kabul Urban Transport Efficiency Improvement Project (KUTEI), supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). The ARTF’s $90.5 million grant to KUTEI targets improvement of transport services through a package of interrelated interventions to build Kabul Municipality’s capacity.

Built to international standards

The best international practice of reconstruction of a badly deteriorated road network is not only focused on quickly rehabilitating pavement conditions but also on provision of comprehensive transport services alongside roads, e.g. parking lots for access of road side services and drainage systems, which have to be built simultaneously.

The improvement of the 2.5-kilometer long Macrorayan IV and Kabul Nandare roads were completed on December 2014. The road crosses the three neighborhoods of First, Third and Fourth Macrorayan. It is lined with nine parking lots, each providing free parking for up to 100 cars.

“These roads were constructed according to international standards,” says engineer Taj Mohammad, director of the Afghan Builders Consortium, which was granted a contract to rehabilitate part of Macrorayan IV Road. “The roads are lined with a lighting system, lanes are separated by a median, and the roads also have four-meter sidewalks on both sides, running above standard drains.”

Mohammad Naeem, 49, a resident of the Fourth Macroyan district, praises the better road conditions. “Previously, the dust, dirt, and pollution on the old road were tormenting everyone,” he says. “Now, you can see how much it has changed. The parking lots too have helped ease traffic flow.” Naeem also mentions that the streetlights that line the road have made the area feel safer at night.

However, some local residents are still unaware of the new facilities. Sayed Anwar, who runs a small grocery store along the road, says that drivers would use the parking lots, if only they knew about them.

“But it hasn’t been that long since the roads were completed,” he points out. “Once people learn of the parking lots, and that they are free, drivers will park their cars here, and this will reduce traffic jams in the city.”