March 7, 2012
/PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE:
) today announced the launch of a report entitled "
A Vision of a Smarter City: How Nairobi Can Lead the Way into a Prosperous and Sustainable Future
that highlights transportation, energy and public safety as three critical areas to address in line with the growth of
's more economically empowered and mobile younger generation.
The first of its kind to be produced in
, the report draws on the views of leaders and experts from the public and private sectors, World Bank, UN-HABITAT and civil society organizations. It outlines how
should turn to the latest technologies and global best practices to transform itself into a smarter and more efficient city as it strives to cope with an expanding population and become a major African business hub.
"With increased urbanization and substantial economic opportunities, major African cities like
are coming under more pressure than ever to transform," said
, Country General Manager, IBM East Africa. "For
to reach its full potential as a regional powerhouse, new technologies and approaches are required to modernize the city's systems and to make it a better place to live, work and do business."
Kenya's demographic challenges
Currently home to just over three million inhabitants,
's population is expected to soar to over five million by 2020 as migration to urban areas continues.
is undergoing a simultaneous demographic and geographic transition," explains
, the World Bank's lead economist in
. "Today it is a rural country but by 2033 it will be an urban country with
receiving the greatest influx of new citizens."
Tackling traffic congestion requires new approaches as well as new infrastructure
According to IBM's Commuter Pain Survey,
citizens have the fourth most painful commute in the world. City officials estimate that traffic jams cost the economy over Sh50 million
per day in lost productivity, fuel consumption and pollution.
City authorities are currently investing to improve
's roads and basic infrastructure. However, the report highlights that investment in the city's road network should not be the only strategy for addressing traffic congestion.
needs new transport alternatives urgently. It is increasingly obvious that
must move beyond the traditional model of just building roads to solve traffic problems. It needs a combination of physical infrastructure, new ways of thinking and new technologies," said
, Urban Mobility Unit, UN-HABITAT.
The IBM report lists a number of possible technological solutions to consider, including systems to better automate and improve traffic flow, micro chips embedded in driving licenses to record a driver's road history, priced road usage schemes and using mobile phone signal density to pinpoint and predict traffic jams.