Perhaps the biggest problem facing big cities in Nigeria, especially Lagos is one hell of a word: TRAFFIC.
Even the so-called traffic management agencies don’t seem to have a clue as to how to solve this persistent problem.
But technology seems to have come to our rescue as a new traffic monitoring tool has been released.
Built by a Nigerian software developer named Sheriff Shittu, the web and mobile tool allows users to post traffic updates on a real-time basis.
The novel product won ‘Best Application’ in the AppCircus competition at the recently concluded Mobile Web West Africa held in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Our goal is to use technology to solve social problems! We’ve seen how mobile phones for instance have transformed the Nigerian economic landscape, so we thought further on other common problems that can effectively be fixed with everyday technology. We believe it will help improve productivity and uplift the state”, said Shittu.
The idea is to aggregate traffic updates from users in Lagos and hopefully this could provide insight into traffic clustered areas and enable people avoid such areas.
The service currently covers over 150 roads in Lagos, which are considered the most traffic congested roads.
Can’t find traffic information in your area or city? Or you don’t have an internet-enabled phone? You can request information for the traffic situation in that area via SMS.
To request traffic info for free via SMS, simply text with keyword “Traffic” to 07026702053. (Ex. Traffic report ojota or Traffic report ojota to ketu).
The service is only available in Lagos, but would be expanding to other areas and cities in the future.
This is a sheriffic traffic monitoring tool! Brilliant idea! (Pun intended).
However, one of the challenges that this tool will experience is how to validate the traffic updates.
Sheriff would have to find a way to ensure that either the updates being posted or the users posting the traffic updates are verified.
Otherwise, the traffic data will not be trusted and the reputation of the platform might be at stake.
Now talking about reputation, the platform would do better with a reputation system that rewards users with points when their updates get thumbed up or thumbed down, as the case may be.
Again, I’d like to become a mayor (or Oba, if you like) of the Lekki-Epe expressway (I use this road almost everyday), so that I can check-in and enjoy deals in restaurants and earn shopping discounts in that area.
Oh by the way, I wouldn’t mind being notified via SMS or with the help of a GPS-enabled phone about current deals in other locations while driving on that road.
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