Aug 31 , 2019

Some of the speed radar systems were installed around Menelik Square.

Addis Abeba Traffic Management Agency mounted seven speed radar systems around Piassa at a cost of three million Br.

The installation of the radar systems was financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity in New York City that works on environmental, public health, the arts, government innovation and education issues. The project aims to control driver speeding and took two years to implement beginning in August 2017.

The giant displays notify drivers to slow down in bold 26-inch characters if they exceed the speed limit.

The mere existence of the radar systems also alerts drivers by notifying them where a lot of pedestrians and road workers are on the move, according to Daniel Mola, coordinator of the Bloomberg partnership at the Addis Abeba Transport Bureau. The radar systems are installed at places where a lot of traffic accidents happen, added Daniel.

The radar systems have a price of 450,000 Br each and were purchased from the American traffic equipment manufacturer Wanco and supplied by Omar Yassin General Trading Plc. They were installed by a local company, Yemane General Construction and Engineering Plc. The supplier also trained 70 traffic police officers to understand and use the technology.

Wanco, established in 1984, designs and manufactures easy-to-use portable safety equipment and accessories for traffic management, public safety and law enforcement.

Wanco products include variable message signs, arrow boards, radar speed trailers, surveillance trailers, light towers, temporary runway closure devices and generators.

Bloomberg, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies formed a partnership under a programme called Partnership for Healthy Cities with the aims of reducing drunk driving and speeding in cities. The programme involves 70 countries globally, of which 10 are in Africa including Addis Abeba.

After seeing the implication of the radar, the project will be scaled to cover other areas, added Daniel.

Out of 5,547 accidents registered in 2018/19 in Arada District, 3,133 were caused by speeding, according to the Addis Abeba Police Commission's Crime and Traffic Accident Prevention Department.

The year also saw 29,548 recorded accidents in the capital, with market and residence areas registering 8,213 and 7,323 accidents, respectively.

The Addis Abeba City Transport Authority has also been working on improving mobility in Addis Abeba and the effectiveness of road safety compliance systems.

The project, part of a 300-million-dollar World Bank programme, involves expanding the existing traffic signal and control systems in Addis Abeba and improving the conditions on selected streets for pedestrians, modernising the operations of Anbessa City Bus Enterprise, building the operational and managerial capacities and efficiencies of urban transport agencies and establishing a database for driver and vehicle licensing nationwide.

Inspector Assefa Mezgebu, an auto-safety radio programme host who has over a decade of experience in traffic management, commends the Agency’s move of trying the pilot project, since Piassa is one of the city’s most crowded areas and has a complicated road structure.

“The government should carry out awareness creation activities through different mediums to enhance the understanding of drivers on how the displays work,” said Assefa.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 31,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1009]

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