Addis Abeba is set to launch a software application that will enable traffic officers to detect forged drivers licenses starting mid-June. The system enables traffic polices to scan licenses with smart-phones.
Financed at a cost of 2.5 million Br by the Addis Abeba Transport Programs Management Office, Custor Computing Plc., a local company, developed the mobile-based system known as Point Penalty and Accident Registration Application. The developer finalised and submitted the software to the Office in January of this year.
Custor won the bid after winning a competition against three other local software developers and signed an agreement with the Office in 2016. Custer, a 25-year old company, has previously developed the Online Trade Registration & Licensing System, Document Authentication & Registration System, Integrated Transport Management System and Integrated Revenue Management System.
The new software operates on Android smart-phones and allows traffic officers to identify fake drivers’ licenses by dialling the license numbers or names of drivers and crosschecking the records on a central database. The frequency and type of violations that drivers accumulate are aggregated in a point system that can result in license revocations.
The application also allows traffic officers to report traffic accidents on-the-spot via text messaging, create photo records and use Geographic Positioning System (GPS) for location sharing.
The application is integrated into Lehulu, a one-stop electronic billing system operated by the technology company Kefiya, and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia’s (CBE) agents such as CBE Birr for settling traffic penalty charges.
The Office conducted a pilot project where seven officers were trained on the usage of the application in early January 2018.
“We found the results interesting based on the pilot project we carried out,” Tesfaye Habte, Traffic Law Enforcement Division head at the Office said.
The Office has bought 100 smart-phones to be used with the new application and training of additional traffic officers scheduled to begin mid-June.
“The application will ease the tasks of traffic officers,” Jiregna Hirpa, deputy director of Addis Abeba Traffic Management Agency, says.
A challenge would be the diverse number of gadgets a traffic officer will carry, a phone and a radio, which could bring about complications, according to Tesfaye.
Consequently, the Office is preparing a bid document in cooperation with the World Bank, which will provide financial support to buy smart radios capable of running the software application.
“The radios that the traffic police currently use are incapable of supporting the application,” Tesfaye told Fortune. “After the purchase of the smart radios, traffic police will use them instead of the smart-phones.”
Fikadu Gurmessa (PhD), a lecturer of transport geography at the Addis Abeba University, says that this is a good start, but there is much work that remains to reduce traffic accidents.
“It is unwise to try to control the results but tackle the reasons for accidents such as poor infrastructure,” he says.
The City Administration has lately been ramping up its effort to reduce traffic accidents. Recently, the capital’s Road Traffic Management Agency procured half a million mouthpieces and 5,000 blow-tube breathalysers at the cost of 3.3 million.
The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) is also trying to establish a 300 million Br traffic management and safety training institute. In the three quarters of this fiscal year there have been 325 fatalities, and 1,441 heavy and 673 physical injuries due to traffic accidents in Addis Abeba.
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