New traffic management centre for Addis

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Samsung, a major producer of traffic lights, will bring a new traffic management centre (TMC) to Addis Ababa to provide a centrally controlled traffic system.

The giant electronics corporation from South Korea is now conducting a pre-feasibility study and trying to obtain a loan from the Korean Import Export/EXIM Bank to cover cost needed for the project.

Fekade Hailu (Eng), general manager of Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA) told Capital that officials from Samsung and AACRA first met to discuss the project in November 2010.

“They said they can secure financing for the project from the Korean EXIM Bank,” Fekade noted.

When the TMC begins operating it is said it will bring a modern traffic control system to the area.

“We can manage all traffic light operations from the central controlling axis on video,” the general manager added.

According to Fekade, the Authority plans to privatize the operation.

“We will provide a contract for private operators to run and maintain the traffic lights. It will be better to outsource the operation because we can provide a better service that way,” he explained.

There are only 35 traffic lights at main intersections of the city and not more than half in working condition, say drivers. The oldest ones were installed by Siemens 25 years ago and a local company Dan Techno-Craft installed some of the traffic lights as a test eight years ago. The latest ones which are 7 years old were installed by a Chinese company.

AACRA is now planning to replace the traffic lights creating a new system for the existing ones. In the future AACRA will install new traffic signals on the newly developed intersection roads in the city. “But now we will give priority to maintaining existing traffic signals,” the authority head said.

Observers say that lack of sufficient traffic lights is one of the causes of traffic accidents in the city.

TMC systems are common in several big cities across the world.