Accra has had its problems when it comes to major traffic gridlock. As the city grows in population, it’s up to local authorities and government to make sure the city stays efficient especially when it comes to public transportation and traffic light management.
In light of this, a project was adopted all the way back in 2012 to use technology to try to solve Accra’s traffic situation. Fast forward to 2022 and it doesn’t look like the problem of gridlock is going away anytime soon. Moreover, the project which was supposed to help solve this problem has been broiled in controversy including delayed government payments, switching of project contracts, and lawsuits.
So what exactly is going on with Accra’s Intelligent Traffic Light Project?
About The Traffic Light System Project
The Accra Intelligence Traffic Light System (AITMS) was initially kick-started in 2012. The goal of the project was to remove the city’s traffic congestion and regular gridlock during peak traffic hours, while also lowering air pollution.
As part of the project, street lights with solar-power backups were to be deployed along 200km of road to provide night-time safety and urban renewal, while 182 intelligent traffic signals will be installed and coordinated under this project.
The AITMS would include an intelligent traffic violation monitoring system, which would use advanced image recognition, motion detection, and vehicle license plate recognition technologies to lower speeding, red-light, and parking violations.
But late payments, controversial decisions, and a looming lawsuit have thrown the project into disarray.
The AITMS project was kickstarted and signed in 2012 by the John Mahama government, is to improve the performance of the traffic lights system in Accra and reduce traffic congestion in the capital city through a coordinated traffic signal system and a centralized control centre for all traffic signals.
The projected cost of the project was $236.10 million.
The Beijing Everyway Traffic & Lighting. Co, Limited was the original company hired to undertake the project and started work on the project in August 2019. The project was then controversially re-awarded to Huawei Technologies Co and China Technical Import and Export Cooperation on November 6th, 2019.
The re-awarding of the contract was initiated by the Office of the President.
Beijing Everyway has since sued the government for breach of contract which could result in the Government paying $100 million in judgment debt.
In a speech in Parliament last year, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament said Beijing Everyway Limited, had been replaced with Huawei Technologies Company because the Ministry of National Security undertook some background checks and came to the conclusion that the company lacked overseas experience to carry out the project.
Where Are We Now?
Currently, only two of the area-wide traffic intelligent system has been implemented on the Kanda Highway, Castle Road, and Starlet 91/Nationalism Park Traffic Lights in Accra.
It looks like the project might go on with Huawei being signed on to the project but the government might be looking at paying a hefty amount for switching vendors at the last minute.
For now, we’ll update this story as more information becomes available.