The solution to traffic jams in Nairobi

By Mariu Naftally | Thursday, Jan 30th 2020 at 13:49
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Technology, when used in the right manner, has a wide load of advantages. Apart from connecting people together, technology can be used to perform routine jobs in all fields. One major problem facing society today is traffic lockdowns.

Recent research by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) found out that in Kenya, traffic jams accounts for the loss of 18.25 billion annually, which means that Kenya loses over 50 million daily as a result of traffic jams.

Two years ago, China’s Shenzhen traffic police launched the ‘lane robot’ technology used at Shennan Road, which was a major breakthrough in the global war of combating traffic jams in cities. According to Guangzhou Daily, the technology would be of help in administering ‘reversible lanes’; thus, the direction of traffic could be switched depending on the flow of the traffic.

In simpler terms, the control could open more lanes on the side with thick traffic, thus allowing for the movement of extra vehicles to speed up the flow. The new ‘robot lane,’ which was controlled by robots, could switch within a minute, therefore, reducing the work of the traffic cops.

It is for this reason; therefore, the Kenyan government should consider incorporating technology in matters of traffic jams. It is a sad state that after over 50 years of independence, we still expect to control the traffic through the cops.

In the year 2006, the number of vehicles registered stood at 819,444. In the year 2017, the number of registered vehicles had gone up to almost 2.9 million. This means that the total number of vehicles in Kenya had grown by over 300% in less than 12 years.

Going by recent data on recruitment of police officers, therefore, we can conclude that the rate of ownership of cars is out doing the rate of recruitment of traffic police officers. This is a clear indicator that the government should find better ways to manage traffic if it has to succeed.

The new robot technology, which has the capability of studying traffic from kilometres away and consolidating the information to make informed decisions is the way to go. This would not only ease the flow of traffic but also help in nabbing rogue drivers who take advantage of the limitations of the human eye.

With the huduma number in place, the government can link vehicles to their owners, and anytime the vehicle commits an offense, fines can be directly deducted from account numbers of the people registered to the vehicle.

Since the whole process will be executed by a set program, there will be no room for underhand tactics, thus ensuring that no one undercuts the law. This may be just one of the ways to curb corruption in this country.


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