Nairobi News

HustleNews

Sh1.88bn Nairobi traffic control system set to go live in two years

The proposed Nairobi smart traffic control system is set to go live in just over two years, officials said on Tuesday.

The move is aimed at easing congestion on key roads at an estimated cost of Sh1.88 billion.

The project, funded 80 per cent by the World Bank Group, with the balance by the national government, bases on management of traffic flow in the United Kingdom.

The Nairobi Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) project will involve installation of traffic control technologies such as intelligent lights, road markings and signs at 100 of the estimated 400 intersections in the city under the first phase.

It has a component on enforcement measures such as jumping traffic lights and speed limit.

The plan is being implemented by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) in partnership with the Nairobi City County, the National Transport and Safety Authority, and the Transport ministry.

MICROCHIPS

Under the plan, cameras at road junctions will capture on-coming traffic through digital number plates embedded with microchips and feed the same into the Integrated Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in real time.

TMC will house a command team comprising engineers, system specialists and traffic police officers who will monitor and act on the information coming through, helping remotely allocate more time to the most congested roads.

This will rid the roundabout of police officers, said Kura’s acting director-general Silas Kinoti on Tuesday.

An almost similar plan to decongest the city by replacing the five major roundabouts with signalised intersections by the previous county government in partnership with the Transport ministry at a cost of Sh400 million failed in 2015.

LOST TIME AND FUEL

This followed another unsuccessful bid in 2012 to ease traffic, which wipes off an estimated three per cent of GDP annually in lost time and fuel.

Mr Kinoti, however, said the planned ITS system will modify rather than remove roundabouts.

“This system is different in that two junctions can talk to each other because this has taken a network approach. One junction can even block traffic, depending on what is happening on the other junction controlled from a traffic management centre,” he said.

“The information will be relayed directly from the cameras to the traffic control centre and the system itself has its own artificial intelligence.”

CONSULTANCY DEAL

German mobility firm HP Gauff, its traffic engineering counterpart Schlothauer & Wauer and UK’s Wyg International, which in January won a Sh480 million consultancy deal, said they had developed a draft design for the project.

The draft, based on UK’s model, incorporated existing and planned link roads.

The final design, to be done in three weeks, will help develop the tender documents for contractors to procure and install the traffic control system at a cost of Sh1.4 billion, said Wyg director John Pattinson.