With the project “Addis Ababa City – Smart Mobility 2025,” the Ethiopian capital has started an ambitious project. The Addis Ababa traffic control center aims to make traffic safer and better regulated, reduce congestion and CO2 emissions. These are important goals. The relatively rapid economic growth and population explosion in recent years have created huge challenges for and burdens on the socioeconomic infrastructure. This also applies to the road network.
Since 1950, the population has increased tenfold, to 4 million. By 2050, the country will likely have 13 million people. Thus, Addis Ababa is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. At rush hour, the average speed here is 10 kilometers/hour. Most vehicles are very old and pollute the environment a great deal. There are annually between 400 and 500 traffic deaths (compared to that Berlin has between 40 and 50 road deaths annually).
The new ultra-modern traffic control center in Addis Ababa also aims to help reduce road accidents across the entire country. It will cost $27 million and be built by the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) within 18 months – four stories deep! Mayor Takele Uma, who is himself an engineer, initiated the construction work for the traffic control center, including control room, offices, information processing and criminal checkpoints, as well as accident registration areas.
Managing traffic in metropoles systematically
The experts from PTV, along with other international partners, are helping the Ethiopian metropolis to develop an ITS master plan and an operating concept for the entire urban area. Both should provide the framework for all future ITS developments in Addis Ababa City and guarantee seamless integration of the technologies and strategies for the project and future introduction by the customer.
The focus is on traffic management and road safety. This is where PTV is involved in improving corridors, also for cyclists and pedestrians, and intersections. “We support the design and operation planning of more than 250 intersection in Addis with our expertise in road safety audits. What is interesting is that an new infrastructure for cyclist plays an important role in the discussions on the design,” says Dr.-Ing. Hagen Schüller, who leads the PTV team. The PTV Group is also involved in the introduction of a new traffic control center. The experts are designing the system architecture for this, including the necessary hardware and software – from the database servers to the video wall in the control room.
“Furthermore, we support the street-side ITS devices, as well as the central traffic management systems,” reports Schüller. This work includes connection to the communication systems and the central systems. The new traffic control center will provide information about traffic conditions, adjust the timing of traffic lights depending on traffic flow, and detect traffic violations.
International project in the era of Corona
And how have things been going since the pandemic gripped the world?
“Pretty well thus far. We quickly changed from traveling to Africa to mobile working and meeting in video conference, as long as the internet holds in Ethiopia. In any case, project work is continuing full speed ahead,” says Schüller.