Viewpoints | Jul 02,2022
Jan 7 , 2023
By MUNIR SHEMSU ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
The Addis Abeba City Transport Bureau has finished constructing an underground smart traffic management centre financed by the World Bank. The center's construction was handled by CCCC(China Communication Construction Company) and had a budget of 831 million Br.
The underground facility is four floors beneath a grassy hill around Megangna avenue. It will control traffic operations at 130 intersections and has another phase of expansion planned to cover the whole capital.
Akalu Assefa is vice-chairman of the Addis Abeba.Administration Transport Bureau. He said that it will radically reduce congestion in the city. Referring to Megenagna, an area where the centre is built, he emphasised on the unnecessary traffic.
The smart traffic system will surveil the city 24hrs through hundreds of cameras and feed the information to the central server in the centre, according to Akalu. The system will allow automated regulation of red light intersections by adjusting a traffic flow based on data processed from the entire city.
Traffic violations will be automatically detected and processed through the cameras across the city. The capital has a little over 600,000 registered cars, according to the information obtained from the Ministry of Transport & Logistics.
"This smart traffic system is the first of its kind in East Africa and will certainly reduce traffic accidents," Akalu said.
Sani Mohammed spends a lot of his time driving around the capital as he manages the distribution of pharmaceuticals for a local company called Anavrin. He welcomes the announcement of smart traffic management systems with excitement "the pedestrians need to smarten up." He explained that the automated regulation of traffic is positive, but "some people wait till the light turns red to cross the street," he said.
This sentiment by Sani is fortified by some exciting data from Bloomberg's annual safety report on Ethiopia published in June of 2022 revealed that 80pc of casualties were pedestrians.
Data from the WHO indicates more than one million people die each year because of traffic accidents globally, with Ethiopia averaging around 5,000 casualties yearly. The smart traffic management centre project is part of a world bank outlay of 300 million dollars disbursed at different periods as part of a program called TRANSIP for the transport improvement program that has been underway at the city and federal levels. According to the project document, the TRANSIP program was announced back in 2016 with delays to implementation due to Covid-19.
Part of the project includes the introduction of digital driving licenses, traffic management systems, and digital vehicle registration which is expected to be completed in December 2023. The driving licenses will contain biometric data like fingerprints, iris data, height and weight.embedded within microchips on the license.
Tariku Kassahun has been a taxi driver in Addis Abeba for over a decade. He said technology makes traffic management easier, but the roads also need upgrades. He reasoned that the roads in the capital were not designed to accommodate the volume of current pedestrians and cars. Tariku said "it is a good start."
He feels that not only technology is responsible for the traffic system, but the country's road safety culture also needs to be taken into account.
The notable host of Auto Safety and former part of the traffic system, Assefa Mezgebu, forecasts a positive long-term impact with the completion of the traffic management centre. He said it will create a culture of obedience to the law even if the traffic personnel are around. As a media personality, Assefa has covered issues on the traffic system for decades. He reasoned, "the move from an anthropocentric traffic control to automated regulation is necessary." He even suggested that smart traffic management will improve Ethiopia's image of road safety.
The inspector expects that the new system will decrease the number of hits and runs significantly, especially in areas where traffic police are infrequent. Assefa's radio program on air every morning allows him to get daily updates on accidents in the city" We still have a long road ahead", he pleaded. Several traffic police expressed hope that the new system would usher in better days for drivers and pedestrians.
According to Business Wire, the global intelligent traffic management system market is expected to reach 27.92 billion dollars by 2030 and expand at a significant rate of 13.1pc from 2022 to 2030.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1184]
Viewpoints | Jul 02,2022
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