Huawei, in partnership with the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority (KURA) has developed a plan to end the Nairobi traffic menace using its Intelligent Transport System (ITS) that uses Artificial Intelligence to manage urban traffic. The system has already been successfully piloted at several intersections outside the City centre.
The ITS uses intelligent cameras, variable timing traffic lights connected to a control centre to observe and control the traffic, reducing the burden on police officers.
“So far, the system has been implemented on the Western Ring Road from Yaya Centre through to Kileleshwa Ring Road extending to Waiyaki Way,” says Stone He, the Huawei Kenya Chief Executive Officer.
The traffic management centre at the core of the ITS is located at the KURA officers in Barabara plaza.
It is tasked with monitoring the city traffic, discerning the general traffic conditions and obtaining traffic flow data in real-time.
The smart traffic lights system uses intelligent algorithms to allow longer traffic flow from roads with the most traffic and allocates less time where there are fewer vehicles, thus creating a good balance by minimising unnecessary waiting time.
“The ITS changes with time depending on traffic flow within several arms of the junction and that makes it more efficient, and more traffic flows effectively,” Kura director-general Silas Kinoti said in an interview with the Business Daily’s The Edge Magazine.
According to Mr Kinoti, the system uses historical data to analyse and predict traffic congestion. This also serves as a basis to commands and dispatch of traffic signal control and traffic guidance within a particular area.
The system also provides a mobile electronic police system to enable flexible monitoring of roads. The command centre is able to identify where traffic law violation incidents occur. This supplements the efforts of the police in enforcing traffic rules and regulations for safer roads and fighting crime.
According to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, ITS has met the expectations of the government, and plans are already underway to implement the system in other locations across the city.
“The pilot has matched our expectations in terms of cost-benefit analysis and we now have the confidence to go to the next level. From the pilot, we shall be scaling up to more junctions across the city,” Macharia said.
Motorists in the city have had to endure hours in traffic with some forced to wait at Red lights even when the roads are clear.