Leveraging on AI to curb Nairobi’s traffic epidemic


With Nairobi at the forefront in East Africa, in terms of infrastructure, business sectors and economy, it is no mystery that the better the infrastructure, the more cars on the road and the more traffic.Nairobi’s traffic congestion on regular days seems to be a puzzle that cannot be solved. But in an increasingly technological world, AI may have the skills to solve this particular puzzle.

According to world population review, by 2020, there will be an increase in 3.92% of individuals who live and work per square kilometer. The congestion is expected to soar to new heights. This is further propagated by the fact that the rise in population will inhibit transport services, and exert even bigger pressure on the already max capacity infrastructure. With a problem as modern as this, only a solution as equally modern can settle it, AI being the answer.


Despite the government spending a hefty amount of money, in Nairobi alone, for the implementation of traffic lights, camera’s and modernized LED signs, this has done little to ease up the traffic, regardless of the amount of money spent. With the advent of AI, there is no need, for unnecessary human operated or coordinated machines that are liable to malfunction, just as humans are liable to cause error.


AI does malfunction except for very rare cases. Nonetheless, an AI has minimal to zero human intervention, thus allowing zero errors in the coordinating and easing of traffic, this will equate to fewer accidents, and much fairer verdicts as to which traffic needs to wait, for how long, and which traffic needs to progress, and for how long. This would easily enable a much smoother, and faster working traffic management system that would be more than prepared to handle Nairobi’s immense car numbers.

The way in which AI can be incorporated in the traffic management system is by installing vision equipped cameras, and a radar system that would assist and monitor in the analyzing of the traffic patterns and volume of cars. This would also eradicate the need for traffic police officers on the roads, which has its separate advantages and disadvantages. Occasionally, slow car movements and delays are blamed on these traffic officers, with AI in place, the utilization of sensors, even google maps would create a predictive algorithm and instruct automated traffic cameras and lights to work accordingly as to the readings the interfaces collect.


With Nairobi fast becoming an even bigger economic hub, the purchasing of cars will become even greater. Thus, the way in which a chunk of the traffic problem can be cut down is through the usage of AI. Plus, AI could prove to be much cheaper than a large majority of infrastructural reforms. Similar AI traffic management has been deployed in large economies in the world, such as Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. It would be the first of its kind to be launched in Africa. With the vast technological strides Kenya is making in the digital space, it would be an injustice not to give AI a chance. https://events.cio.co.ke/event/east-africa-iot-and-ai-summit/

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