Artificial city

Application of artificial intelligence can help tame traffic in Nairobi, says KURA boss

The rapid urbanization of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has resulted in a huge growth in the number of vehicles on the roads. Today, Nairobi is one of the most congested cities in the world.

Chief Executive of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Silas Kinoti, said smart infrastructure is helping transport networks become more connected with the aim of identifying ways to improve the experience of everyone on the road.

He said Kenya would seek to emulate foreign counterparts like Germany in initiating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize traffic light control and reduce waiting time at an intersection. .

“There are real projects all over the world and the applications are constantly growing. Artificial intelligence (AI) will be essential to help us with data that would identify patterns that would not have been seen without AI. Through continuous learning, we are able to continuously update traffic patterns and therefore traffic flow. This translates to less waiting time and fewer emissions. noted Kinoti

Road traffic monitoring involves the collection of data describing the characteristics of vehicles and their movement on road networks. This data may be used for any of these purposes such as law enforcement, detecting traffic jams and incidents and increasing road capacity.

Nairobi’s roads carry more than 60% of the more than two million registered vehicles, resulting in traffic tangles stretching for miles.

According to Kinoti, technology will play an important role in tackling the traffic nightmare which relies mainly on traffic police to control

“KURA being an expert in Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) with an example being Yaya Center, we will have cameras, signals and censors in all arms of intersections. They will identify junctions that have more traffic and will need more time for traffic to pass through the junction,” he added.

In November 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta called for the redesign and signage of 25 new intersections, the establishment of 100 new road junctions and the construction of a new traffic management control center for a larger area.

“The control center will use traffic cameras and censors and harmonize location data to provide a synchronized signal to 100 new intersections in addition to existing traffic lights,” the president said.

Traffic management plays a crucial role in solving many societal problems. It has proven effective in making driving safer, reducing pollution, increasing walkability and helping governments update existing infrastructure.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority released a report saying vehicles stuck in traffic potentially cost Kenya nearly $1 billion a year in lost productivity. Nairobi has been ranked as the fourth most congested city in the world.

According to the report, the average travel time in the city is around 57 minutes. This is attributed to the lack of a regular public transport system and the absence of an elaborate non-motorized transport network.

Other causes of congestion and traffic jams in Nairobi are double parking, illegal bus stops and personal cars being used as public service vehicles.