Inside New High-Tech System to Monitor, Control Traffic in Nairobi

  • File photo of traffic jam experience in Nairobi
    File photo of traffic jam experience in Nairobi
    File
  • The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) is mulling plans to introduce a high technological system to monitor and control traffic in Nairobi.

    Speaking on Saturday, April 16, KURA Director General, Silas Kinoti, noted that the new intelligent infrastructure is essential for reducing the huge traffic snarl up witnessed on major roads within the city.

    He explained that Kenya is now seeking to emulate foreign countries such as Germany to initiate the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise traffic light control and reduce the waiting time at an intersection.

    Bird’s eye view of technology aiming to unlock Nairobi traffic jams
    Bird’s eye view of technology aiming to unlock Nairobi traffic jams
    KURA

    "There are real world projects around the globe and the applications are continuously expanding. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be key to help us with the data which would identify patterns that would not have been seen without AI. Through continuous learning, we are able to constantly update the traffic patterns and thus traffic flow. This results in less waiting time and fewer emissions," noted Kinoti.

    The new Artificial Intelligence system involves collecting data that describe the movement of vehicles on different road.

    The data is then used to enforce different traffic rules, reduce congestion, increase incident detention and increase road capacity.

    The KURA boss added that the new technology will play a critical role in taming traffic nightmares in the city.

    "KURA, being an expert in Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) with an example being Yaya Centre, we will have cameras, signals and censors in all arms of the junctions. They will identify the junctions that have more traffic and will need more time for traffic to be put through the junction," Kinoti remarked.

    The project is a continuation of what President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced in 2020 when he called on the redesigning of 25 new intersections within the city.

    "The control center will utilise traffic cameras and censors and harmonise location data to provide a synchronised signal at 100 new junctions in addition to the existing traffic lights," the President affirmed at the time.

    This comes as even motorists prepare for the official opening of Nairobi Expressway which runs from Mlolongo to James Gichuru Road in Westlands.

    The 27-kilometer road project is aimed reducing the time travelled from Mlolongo to Westlands.

    Aerial view of Nairobi Expressway running from Mlolongo to Westlands
    Aerial view of Nairobi Expressway running from Mlolongo to Westlands
    KeNHA