App helps drivers avoid Nairobi potholes

Darshan Santani with the app created for drivers in Nairobi.
Image credit: EPFL/Alain Herzog
Date:28 August 2015

Navigating through the streets of Nairobi can be a challenging and sometimes dangerous chore for drivers. The streets are littered with potholes and ditches due to high traffic volume and little to no road maintenance. As a solution to this problem Jidraph Njuguna, a student in Kenya, has come up with a novel idea for an app.

The CommuniSense app, developed in association with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), maps hazards as submitted by users and can assist drivers in using alternative routes. The success of the app and the information gathered hinges on the fact that cellphones have very high penetration in Africa – more than 78 % of the population owns cellphones, of which most are low-cost Android models, EPFL reports.

Njuguna said he wanted to do something about the dangers he had seen throughout his years growing up in Nairobi. He told EPFL; “There is a saying here that drivers would rather risk swerving into the oncoming traffic lane than go through the potholes. At night the situation gets worse, since not many roads have streetlights and sometimes you can find yourself flying from the seat of your car if you encounter an unmarked speedbump.”

Although the app isn’t a miraculous solution to the problem, it seems that it could be the key to creating awareness around the problem.

Source: EPFL