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IBM's Smarter Cities team provides Kenyan capital with ITS blueprint

IBM has provided the Kenyan capital city with a cohesive framework and roadmap to improve its road traffic flow and increase revenues from the transportation sector. The recommendations complement Nairobi’s considerable ongoing investment in underlying roadway infrastructure. The plans include making traffic information more readily available to citizens, motorists, police, policymakers and planners, so that better transportation decisions can be made in the near and long term. IBM’s blueprint also includes suggestions for using available technologies, including cell phones, sensors and CCTV, to automatically pinpoint traffic issues. In the recommended plan, parking and licensing would also be digitized and automated; streamlining bureaucratic processes and increasing citizen satisfaction. In addition, the plan prescribes enhanced collaboration between various transport bodies.

IBM’s team of ITS experts, which performed several months of preparation before spending three weeks in local residence, studied Nairobi’s transportation system as part of the company’s Smarter Cities Challenge, which provided a grant valued at US$400,000. The IBM consultants recommended the creation of a cross-departmental Smarter Transportation Authority that would harness initiatives taking place across government agencies under a single unit, which would allow for faster rollout of decongestion plans, enhance revenue collection for government agencies and tighten enforcement of traffic rules. The team also advised the development of a Smarter Transportation Platform with an intelligent operations command center, using existing and new CCTV networks that show vehicle, traffic and roadway conditions as events unfold.

Tony Mwai, country general manager for IBM East Africa, said, “A city is a system of systems. One key finding of the study is that technology could provide a relatively simple way of bringing together existing systems to streamline the city’s transport sector and increase revenues for the government.” Permanent secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo, commented, “The government has made immense investments in infrastructure over the last 10 years, but we are challenged by the fact that many departments within government are working in isolation and not collaborating. We will review these recommendations made by the IBM team, with a view to fast-tracking them to help maintain Nairobi’s position as a key regional economic hub.”

May 14, 2012

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