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Future transport network in Rwanda

Minority Report’s Lexus 2054. Image license: CC BY-SA 2.0

A Twitter conversation I had recently, regarding the traffic problem of Kigali’s increasingly congested roads, came to mind and I suddenly had a notion of what I want the near future of transport in Rwanda to look like.
In the tweets I had posted, my focus was on drastically increasing traffic fines, reducing the number of vehicles allowed on these roads by implementing road space rationing based on rotating between RAA, RAB, RAC, RAD plates etc. Also the introduction of the Point System. I still think these are great tools for reducing jams and making the roads safer. That is for the present.  However, here’s an idea for the near future. We ought to strive for a transport network which no longer permits fossil fuel vehicles, and consists entirely of electric self-driving cars and buses etc. In this near future Rwanda, nobody owns cars anymore except people who work in the health sector, emergency services, law enforcement, military or government. The self-driving vehicles circulate through the Rwandan road network, and when you need to go somewhere, your smartphone or similar device is used for hailing a self-driving car. You get in, and thanks to the natural language processing artificial intelligence (AI) which drives the vehicle, all you have to do is speak the name of your destination or route. Alternatively, you can select the destination/route from a menu on a touchscreen. Then you pay the fare electronically, and you’re on your way.

Audi RSQ, film I, Robot – Image license: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Toyota I-Road – Image license: CC BY 3.0

The self-driving AIs are programmed with the Rwandan traffic code and are linked to all other self-driving vehicles through the self-driving transport network, thereby eliminating traffic jams caused by bad driving. Each self-driving vehicle constantly downloads real time traffic data, which enables it to always pick the quickest route by bypassing higher density traffic. This prevents the build up of congested traffic or gridlocks.

When you reach your destination you disembark and the self-driving car goes back into circulation until someone else calls it. These self-driving vehicles can be owned by private companies, or state transport authorities. The vehicles all adhere to the same technical and safety standards and specifications, ensuring inter-operability.

In this scenario drivers licenses and personal vehicles become as difficult to acquire as firearms licenses and firearms.  The existing self-driving transport infrastructure makes knowing how to drive or owning your own vehicle obsolete.  With this eco-friendly national transport network, our dependency on fossil fuels would be greatly reduced, and transportation costs would drop, bringing down the prices of goods and services.

Another positive effect: jobs are created in the sector of research and development, design and manufacturing, production and maintenance of the self-driving transport network. Yes, I envision these self-driving vehicles being developed and produced here in Rwanda, used in Rwanda, and potentially exported internationally. Rwandan scientists, technicians, programmers, engineers, mechanics, electricians, mathematicians, designers, and so on – all finding sustained employment in Rwanda’s self-driving vehicles sector. This is a bright future that I would like to see realized in Rwanda. How about you?


Header image credits: by InspiredImages – pixabay- Image license: CC0 Public Domain

Dayo Ntwari
<b>Dayo Ntwari</b>, a Rwandan Nigerian writer, has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since childhood. He enjoys writing stories inspired by African legends and myths. He believes Africa’s diverse histories, religions, spirituality and mythologies can serve as a never-ending treasure trove of inspiration for African science fiction and fantasy. His short stories include: <b>Omoshango</b>, published in the People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction special issue of Lightspeed Magazine <b>Devil’s Village</b>, shortlisted for the Writivism 2015 Short Story Prize <b>Nomansland</b>, shortlisted for the 2015 Huza Press Award <b>Mother’s Love</b>, longlisted for the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize Dayo lives in Rwanda, where he is currently working on his first novel. He also hopes to publish a collection of his short stories. Twitter: <a href="">@DayoNtwari</a> Goodreads: <a href="">Dayo Ntwari</a>

2 thoughts on “Future transport network in Rwanda

    1. Yes, the idea is to have self-driving vehicles in different categories, from small one- or two-seater cars, to standard 5-seater cars, to vans, buses, and so on.

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