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Google And Safaricom Partner To Launch Waze app in Nairobi, Kenya

by Milicent Atieno
Google And Safaricom Partner To Avail Nairobi Road Users An App To Make Them Avoid Traffic Jam

If you live or have been to Nairobi, then you probably know how terrible the traffic jam normally is. This situation is not a once-in-a-while thing, it is an everyday-part-of-our-lives thing. At times, the situation can get so bad that when you drive a family member to the airport to take a flight to South Africa, that person will call you four (4) hours later that he or she has arrived in Jo-burg all the while, you are stuck in traffic trying to get back home from the airport.

To ease this bumper-to-bumper traffic jam in Nairobi, East Africa telecom giant Safaricom and world tech giant Google have teamed up to launch the Waze app to Nairobians. The app was developed by an Israelian  developer is already in use in other countries. It provides drivers real-time and accurate traffic information in and around Nairobi. The app works by using crowd-sourced data from other road users.

The Waze app joins a long list of other innovations aimed at easing road users experience in Nairobi’s roads. Although the app will run under Google, it will rely on data input from road users who also happen to be Safaricom subscribers. The traffic information will then be mapped onto Google Maps and will give real-time updates on traffic congestion on different roads, in and around Nairobi.

Safaricom is keen to continue extending the benefits of our more connected world to our subscribers as we work to transform their lives by putting them closer to critical information,” said Slyvia Mulinge, Safaricom’s Consumer Business Director.

Her counterpart, Charles Murito, Google Kenya Country Manager, added: “Traffic information on Waze, which is updated in real time, will save users the hassle of enormous amounts of time spent in traffic by offering alternative routes. Waze will be the ultimate driving companion as it will track your progress in traffic jams. A recent study by technology firm IBM that monetized the hours lost on Nairobi’s traffic jams says the economy loses Ksh.50 million daily.”

According to the IBM research, driving in Nairobi is the fourth most painful driving experience in the world. The growing traffic menace has mainly been attributed to a growing middle class with the ability to buy and use private vehicles as opposed to public means of transport. In addition to the fact that there is a growing population number in Nairobi.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the number of registered motor vehicles in 2009 was 161,813, fast forward to 2011. That figure rose up by 30% to 205,841.

To download the Waze app on your Android device, click here.

Other Apps Created To Ease Nairobi Roads traffic

Ma3Route was created a little over two years ago and now has more than 5,000 downloads from Google Play store. The platform works by aggregating traffic information from road users in Nairobi and other major towns in Kenya and relays it to users via tweets and updates on the mobile app.

To download the Ma3Route app on your Android device click here.


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