Residents of Nairobi City are days away from enjoying a smoother flow of traffic. This is after Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) engineer Merin Koitalek said that the Sh1.4 Billion Intelligent Traffic System is set to go live on Thursday.

“Come December 21, Nairobi will go live with the new Intelligent Traffic System.”

Speaking to the Star, Koitalek said once the project is complete, traffic is expected to flow smoothly.

“‘We anticipate reduced human interface in control of traffic at our intersections,” he said.

The project, the first in East and Central Africa, is part of the Nairobi Urban Transport Improvement Programme funded by the World Bank and the state.

The first phase of the ITS project is ongoing. This includes installation of modern traffic signalisation systems, such as cameras in 100 major junctions, for Sh340 million.

Cameras at road junctions are expected to capture oncoming traffic through digital number plates embedded with microchips. They will feed the information into the Traffic Control Centre.

The Traffic Management Centre (TMC) will house a team of traffic engineers, system specialists, traffic police officers and County traffic controllers who will monitor on a continuous real-time basis. The TMC will also have facilities for emergency services.

The project is expected to instill and enforce both attitude and behavioral change among road users in the City and eliminate traffic congestion at junctions.

“We are installing infrastructure that includes lights, video cameras, view technical cameras in the seven junctions along the Ring Road Kilimani starting at the Junction along Ngong Road all the way to Westlands Roundabout,” Koitalek said.

This means police officers stationed at roundabouts to control traffic will be assigned other duties.

“The control centre will contain visual technical cameras where we will be able to control the ITS in all junctions within the city,” Koitalek said.

Koitalek said the authority will work closely with the police, the county government and the Ministry of Transport.

“It will be easier to identify the traffic offenders and with all these forces more caution will be taken on fine payment . We don’t want cases where offenders will accuse traffic police of charging them illegally,” John Mwatu, Kura general manager for design and construction, said.

Once the pilot phase is complete, Kura is planning to advertise tenders for the whole project by March next year.