Traffic jams cost Nairobi Sh50m a day

May 11, 2012
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Analytics software could then be used to predict future flow issues/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – The country looses close to Sh50 million a day due to traffic congestion in the city of Nairobi and its environs.

According to recent study by a multinational technology and consulting company, IBM Corporation, this is due to the time wasted on the road which could be spent on productive activities and cost of fuel among other challenges.

Speaking at a media forum in Nairobi, the company’s global technology services Vice President Keith Angell, called on the government to use available technologies, and integrate data from multiple sources, including mobile phone signals generated from citizens stuck in traffic jams, to pin-point traffic hot-spots.

Analytics software could then be used to predict future flow issues, pushing the information needed to re-direct traffic to an intelligent operations centre.

He says parking and licensing should be digitised and automated, to streamline bureaucratic processes and increasing citizen satisfaction.

“Whether it’s raining season or not, whether schools are in (session) or not, whether there is construction or not, Nairobi has been identified having one of the longest commuter cycles of any major cities in the world. When you add up each of these elements, there is a very significant cost,” said Angell.

The IBM team recommends the creation of a cross-departmental Smarter Transportation Authority that would harness initiatives taking place across governmental agencies under a single unit.

This would allow for faster rollout of decongestion plans enhancing revenue collection for government agencies and tightening enforcement of traffic rules.

“In as much as we are talking about traffic on the road, there is a bigger picture behind what we are simply discussing here. There is no country that would simply survive in the next few years if you don’t have data to predict what is going to happen in the coming years,” said Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications.

Ndemo says the ministry will partner with the Ministries of Transport, Roads, and Nairobi Metropolitan to ensure the recommendations are implemented.

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