Beware of intelligent digital zebra crossings on Nairobi roads

Pedestrians prepare to cross a section of the Walking Cross outside the City Hall; County Government has installed pilot digital light to help pedestrians cross roads. (Photo Samson Wire)
NAIROBI, KENYA: Nairobi County has now introduced intelligent digital zebra crossings aimed at reducing pedestrian deaths caused by motorists and cyclists.

County Roads, Infrastructure and Transport CEC, Hitan Majevdia explained that the new-age zebra crossing would bring sanity on the roads and protect the lives of pedestrians with school going children set to benefit the most.

“We are introducing the intelligent zebra crossings such as those in other developed nations in Nairobi and this is the first in Africa. We have so far done about eight installations across the city,” stated Majevdia.

The intelligent zebra crossing consists of an electronic notification box fitted on either side of the road and connected to the traffic lights and one has to press a button to request to cross the road. Once clear, the traffic lights turn red signaling oncoming vehicles to stop. The system further gives a bleeping sound signaling that it is clear for pedestrians to cross.

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If the road is not clear, the box tells the pedestrian to wait and instructs them to proceed when both lanes of the road are clear.

Should motorists and cyclists cross the road while the traffic light is red, then they will be arrested and charged.  City Hall has also stationed traffic marshals at the zebra crossings to ensure that both motorists and pedestrians adhere to the new system.

“You don’t have to read or see but the bleeps will tell you when to cross. This is a pilot project and if the system works well we will adopt it and do as many installations as possible,” added Mr. Majevdia.

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He was quick to note that the main aim of the project was to curb pedestrian death and those of motorists.

Data relayed by NTSA indicated that a total 1,192 people have died on the roads as of May 9, 2019. Notably, pedestrians are still the most vulnerable with 453 having lost their lives.

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The number of road crash victims this year has slightly surpassed those who died in 2018.

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Nairobi CountyZebra CrossingNTSA