Traffic gridlock in Kenya accounts for billions of shillings in loses annually, both in time and human capital according to a study conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). This catastrophe has been a huge challenge for years even with the billions of shillings spent in the expansion of the transport infrastructure. Not only does traffic congestion have a negative impact on a country’s economic competitiveness and attractiveness to investors it also results in a nose dive in the overall GDP and an increase in air pollution which results in ill health amongst residents.
Due to the increased rate of urbanization coupled by motorization, Nairobi has been ranked as one of the most congested cities globally.
In a bid to decongest Nairobi traffic, Huawei in partnership with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) implemented the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to use intelligent surveillance cameras, traffic flow cameras, variable timing traffic lights, and a control center to monitor and manage traffic. The traffic flow cameras collect data that is used to change traffic light timings thus ensuring efficient flow of traffic whilst surveillance cameras enable monitoring of traffic violations and rapid response especially if there are traffic accidents ITS is not only limited to controlling traffic congestion and information but also improves the overall road safety for both vehicles and pedestrians, and improves the infrastructure usage.
So far the system has been implemented in 7 major junctions from Yaya Center along Kilimani and Kileleshwa Ring Roads to Riverside with the aim to expand to various other junctions’ across the city in the future.
In conclusion managing traffic has been a challenge and continues to be a pressing issue with every passing day. Though important, it cannot only be addressed by constructing new roads, bridges and underpasses which are expensive, takes time, and requires land. An important part of the solution lies in taking a unified approach to traffic management and leveraging advanced technologies and intelligent solutions to improve traffic flow and safety.