Kenyan Internet firm embraces technology to control city traffic

Kenya could save up to Ksh25 billion lost annually as a result of traffic congestions once AccessKenya, an Internet service provider, fully installs traffic cameras in the country’s major urban roads.

AccessKenya has since 2006 installed 36 traffic cameras in designated spots notorious for traffic jams in Nairobi and Mombasa and is planning expansion of the project to include other Kenyan roads beyond the country’s capitals.

AccessKenya’s Traffic.accesskenya.com enables motorists to monitor traffic on real time. The traffic cameras stream the traffic images of selected highways, which refresh after every six seconds on the site, enabling motorists to avoid congested highways.

“We believe that technology has the sole purpose of simplifying life and AccessKenya traffic cameras do just that. There are many people who use them who love them because they really help them to save time,” Jonathan Somen, AccessKenya Group managing director told HumanIPO.

“It has encouraged consumers to think about CCTV and how they can use it as an application to help them, and through this, the cameras have achieved one of its goals,” Somen added.

Traffic.accesskenya.com attracts more than 7,000 new visitors a day. Radio Talks shows including Classic FM, have also relied on the site to update motorists on traffic congestions.

“Most of them use our traffic cameras though not on an official basis. We know this because most often they highlight traffic on intersections that we have placed our cameras,” Somen said.

According to Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), more than KSh24 billion is lost annually through wasted fuel. The Kenyan the economy loses over Ksh1.5 billion attributed to loss of man-hours, environmental pollution and depressions.

During traffic peak hours — morning and evening – it takes up to one hour to cover a distance that could take only five minutes on a free highway.

AccessKenya is now looking for a mobile application developer to team up with in developing a mobile application for the system.

“There is a mobile webpage. We are currently exploring possibilities of a mobile application for the mobile OSs like Android, Symbian or even Apple but none has materialized yet. We also are open to innovative ideas from Kenyan developers and a developer partner to build the app and do a revenue share on it,” Somen said.

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