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NMS to build city traffic control centre at Cabanas

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is set to construct a traffic control centre at City Cabanas aimed at enhancing traffic management in Nairobi.

The plan, which is part of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan, will see the setting up of 100 new traffic signal junctions.

The project is being implemented by the Major General Mohammed Badi-led office together with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA).

The new development will further see the rehabilitation and re-introduction of synchronised traffic lights across Nairobi targeted towards enhancing traffic management in the capital city. This is in addition to re-designing and signaling 25 new road intersections.

“The control centre will utilize traffic cameras, censors, harmonize location data to provide synchronized signal at 100 new junctions in addition to the existing traffic lights,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.

A study by NaMATA released last year revealed that traffic jams in Nairobi is estimated to cost the Kenyan economy Sh100 billion every year, about Sh11 million per hour, with residents using an average of 57 minutes to commute distances that should take much less time.

The President said the national government is focused on implementing an integrated transport network in Nairobi to curb he losses as a result of traffic congestion pointing out that the estimated value of time lost in traffic travelling in Nairobi is between Sh80 million and Sh400 million per month.

Traffic snarl-ups in Nairobi have been blamed on lack of proper traffic lights to guide motorists as well as the flouting of traffic rules by motorists.

In December 2017, Kura announced it would implement a Sh1.4 billion Intelligence Traffic System (ITS) project which was to include a traffic control centre aimed at bringing order on the road.

The project was part of the Nairobi Urban Transport Improvement Programme funded by the World Bank and the State.

The first phase of the project was, however, piloted last year in November in partnership with Huawei which saw the use of intelligent surveillance cameras, traffic flow camera and variable timing traffic lights aimed at reining on the heavy traffic jams in Nairobi.

The phase one included the installation of modern traffic signalisation systems, such as cameras in 100 major junctions, for Sh340 million.

So far the system has been implemented in seven major junctions from Yaya Center along Kilimani and Kileleshwa Ring Roads to Riverside with the aim to expand to other junctions across Nairobi.

“I am happy that the pilot has matched our expectations in terms of cost-benefit analysis. And therefore now we have the confidence to go to the next level,” said Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

Mr Macharia further revealed that for the pilot, the national government will be scaling up 100 more junctions in Nairobi, announced by President Kenyatta last week.

To manage traffic in the capital city, the national government has embarked on implementing the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system with NaMATA already gazetting 12 mobility corridors, seven of them for core mass rapid transportation linking Limuru, Ngong Town, Kenol, Murang’a, Kiambu, Ruai, JKIA and Konza technocity.

The remaining five comprise rapid transport corridors along Line 2, which have been contracted and works on them will begin soon with the national government to ensure the corridors are secured in law.

Kenya Railway Corporation has also launched the commuter rail service to eventually link to the BRT for efficiency where the BRT buses will ferry passengers from railway stations to the city and vice versa and also along the select road corridors.