As Nairobi continues to grow as the social and economic hub of Kenya, so does its traffic congestion. To address that concern, we are helping the Kenya Urban Roads Authority implement an Intelligent Transport System.
Reducing congestion with technology
Funded by the Kenyan government and the World Bank under the National Urban Transport Improvement Project Programme, the project will deliver modern computer and communications technologies to fight congestion and accidents. Real-time management of road networks will also benefit road users, including pedestrians.
To transform the traffic networks, we are collaborating with German consultancies, Gauff Consultants and Schlothauer & Wauer GmbH. Alongside designing a hundred various traffic junctions, we’re installing an automated traffic management centre to relay traffic information from data collated through the system via several devices. These include red-light enforcement cameras, CCTV and variable message signs
These changes aim to combat poor driving behaviour and subsequent accidents caused by unregulated driving. Recent economic growth attracting more residents amplifies this issue.
Social and environmental benefits of smoother traffic
While technology and process automation will improve daily travel responsiveness, it yields many other benefits, including improved safety and air quality, a wealth of data on traffic flow, better planning of new infrastructure, and more.
John Pattinson, our transport expert, said: “There’s a severe lack of roads and network structures in Nairobi, making it very, very congested. A journey that would take you 20 minutes off-peak can take you two hours during peak hours. People have to put up with this in their commutes, each direction, daily”
As a secondary benefit, the junctions will release hundreds of city authorities officers to fight crime instead of managing key junctions.
Like other African cities, Nairobi bases its loosely regulated public transport system on private mini-buses. The City is developing new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes that will provide high-quality, frequent-bus services on key corridors. The new traffic signal junctions will help manage the interaction between private vehicles and the new buses.
The road ahead
Implementing the traffic infrastructure is only part of the ongoing puzzle, however. Maintenance and public acceptance are equally significant challenges. Consequently, our scheme includes maintenance of the new junctions and implementation of a public education programme to teach drivers about traffic signals.
Our experts are currently in the project’s first phase (15 months), planning and designing, with tender documents expected for completion by spring in 2018. Implementation, as part of the second phase of the consultancy work (66 months) is thereafter set to commence in 2019. During this phase, our team plans to supervise the implementation and provide oversight and monitoring for the new system including the implementation of a Traffic Management Centre.