Build capacity to tackle jams


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The development of infrastructure such as roads and railways is always a fairly good indicator of a country’s level of development and socio-economic progress.

It eases the transportation of goods and people, thus fuelling national growth.

This is why a high premium is attached to the building of roads to speed up the transportation of goods, including farm produce, to the markets.

The Thika Superhighway and the numerous bypasses built in major towns have greatly helped to tame the endemic traffic jams that the country has grappled with over the years.

It is a pity, therefore, that the full benefit of this modern infrastructure is not being realised because of shortcomings that can be easily solved.

There was a lot of excitement when a tidy sum in public funds was used to build the Thika Superhighway, because it was expected to speed up traffic flow.

Even if this infrastructure is being built with foreign loans, these will eventually be paid by the taxpayers.

It is a shame, therefore, that this superhighway often looks like a parking lot, with motorists sitting in horrendous traffic jams, wasting fuel and man hours. These jams cost billions of shillings weekly.

Perhaps, the most shameful example of wastefulness is the recent gridlock in which trucks, buses and private cars were stuck for nearly 10 hours on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. This is unacceptable.

The Kenya National Highways Authority, the National Transport and Safety Authority and the Traffic Police Department are all guilty of failing to execute their mandate to keep the nation moving.

Indeed, the time has come to generously invest in new technology and boost the capacity to efficiently monitor and control the traffic flow to ease the movement of people and goods across the country.

Besides deploying traffic police officers, there is a need to explore the use of technology such as drones, for instance, to unblock gridlocks.

The time to employ smart systems in traffic management is now.

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