Meet Professor Washington Yotto Ochieng Who Solved London's Traffic Crisis

  • Many Kenyans do not know that the man who designed the London Congestion System is a fellow countryman.  

    Professor Washington Yotto  Ochieng's research interests are in the design of positioning and navigation systems for land, sea and air applications; Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

    The Kenyan, who is the head of the biggest Centre for Transport Studies in the World at Imperial University College, is credited for having designed the London Congestion System.

    The theory behind the system was for motorists to be charged to drive through certain parts of the city thereby reducing the number of vehicles operating in it.

    Surprisingly, London’s traffic authority had at one time dismissed his contribution by questioning his qualification.

    A spokesman for the authority stated, "He really does have a lack of understanding of this scheme. He's an advocate of satellite technology; that's his area of expertise and I really don't know why he's talking about this."

    The Congestion charge is £11.50 which translates to about Kshs 1,500 daily for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

    Drivers are allowed to free access on weekends, public holidays, between Christmas Day and New Year's Day inclusive, or between 6:00 pm and 7:00 am on weekdays.

    Vehicles also incur extra charges if they produce harmful emissions according to the set standards.

    The system also has incentives for motorists whose cars are environmentally friendly- fully electric and hydrogen fueled.

    Some of the vehicles that are exempted from the charges are models of BMW, Audi, Tesla, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, and Toyota.