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Tanzania wants smart tech to stop traffic carnage

August 31st, 2016
Tanzanian transport regulator SUMATRA is looking to use a smart tracking system to reduce traffic accidents by monitoring vehicle speeds of public service vehicles, writes RUSSELL SOUTHWOOD.
How to Claim for Road Traffic Accidents2

Muchangwe Ferrao looks at how a vehicle monitoring system from a Tanzanian start-up called CUMii can tackle this task.

Tanzania loses thousands of lives each year through road traffic accidents. In 2015, the Bureau of Statistics recorded about 10,000 injuries, and 3500 deaths as a result of carnage on the roads. The government now seeks to implement intelligent systems such as ConnectCar to make the country’s roads safer.

With an estimated population of 4.4 million, Dar es Salaam operates a mixed transport system that includes boda-bodas (motor-bikes), bajaj (three-wheel motorized cart), and dala dalas (commuter bus), all servicing main metropolitan areas. Being a port town, Dar es Salaam also serves as transit/gateway for large amounts of local and international traffic, which makes its road network not only busy, but also highly treacherous.

The volume of traffic presents a challenge for the governing body – Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) – in managing safety effectively. In the past, SUMATRA has used traditional electrical speed monitors but these have been ineffective as drivers easily tamper with them, thus making data recovered unreliable.

In a tender recently issued by the regulator, the primary mandate set by the government is to reduce the number of traffic accidents by implementing a smart tracking system. The system will not only monitor and track all passenger carrying motor vehicles, but essentially give control to the authority, as well as fleet owners to enhance safety, reduce idling time, manage fuel costs, as well as insurance premiums by having real time business changing data at their finger tips.

In Tanzania, Vodacom has partnered with CUMii, a leading African company in disruptive technology, to introduce ConnectedCar.

ConnectedCar is a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) tracking service that monitors driver behavior using a remote management platform. Once installed, ConnectedCar can converge with different devices including smart phones, cameras, gas readers, and many more via the Internet. It is easily configured to meet user requirements and using a mobile app or web interface displays information such as:

–  Driving habits – e.g. hard braking

–  Trip reports & customised reports

–  Geo fencing

–  Real time tracking

–  Battery Tampering Alerts

–  Multiple Driver tags & Panic button

–  Fuel Management

–  Violations notifications via SMS, email

–  Route Planning and Management

This information offers both control over safety and security, savings on insurance premiums and much more. Effectively it is an all round cost management product.

According to Chief Officer – Business Enterprise, Gregory Verbond: “Connected devices can be used to improve public safety, conserve resources, boost productivity and support the government effectively. Tanzania stands to benefit by implementing M2M solutions that bring hardware, software and data analytics together in a single solution which is what this partnership brings to the table.”

The unique features of this technology can aid in other areas where governments and enterprise seek to curb fraud through abuse of assets.  In a recent media statement, Commissioner of Policy and Procurement, Frederic Mwakibinga emphasised the need for more stringent monitoring tools to eliminate the mis-use of government vehicles in Tanzania. ConnectedCar can help to achieve this too.

Research has shown that markets that have implemented this technology effectively have resulted in profits of up-to 12% experienced through cost saving and management. This is a substantial amount to a country like Tanzania where road accidents cost the government approximately Tshs. 20 billion annually.

In cities such as Dar es Salaam where road accidents due to negligence and reckless driving are part of daily life, ConnectedCar, can make a real difference. In its simplest form, this service is friendly enough to be used by anyone concerned about the safety of the of loved ones, bajaj owners and families alike.

Local engineers known as Technites, who are trained and accredited by CUMii, do the installations. This model aims to ensure quality and excellence, as well as enhance local skills whilst creating new jobs in the local market.

* Russell Southwood is editor of Smart Monkey TV.  To subscribe to its web TV channel, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/SmartMonkeyTV/videos

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