Last year the Kenyan government announced plans through the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to introduce new generation high-tech number plates. The number plates will come pre-installed with micro-chips allowing for better management of the transport sector. NTSA is now inviting the general public to share their inputs on the smart number plates within the next 14 days via email or by dropping off their comments at its offices.
The smart number plates will store among other information the car’s chassis number, the vehicle’s make, type, colour, engine, transmission, date and place of manufacture; insurance validity, owner’s contacts and past traffic offenses. The chips will be installed in the front and rear number plates. These smart or electronic number plates will help implement variable speed limits especially among Public Service Vehicles as well as curb motor vehicle theft. Upon deployment of the system, traffic cops should get equipment to read licenses using a Universal Policing Unit device. The system will also integrate with the CCTV cameras to be installed in most major cities.
The high-tech plates will cost Sh4,000 while motorcycle operators will be charged Sh2,500. The use of this technology presents broad opportunities in which cities could work in integrating it with parking services. The project will receive a boost majorly due to the plans by the government to offer centralized database for all its citizens.
A similar project had been planned earlier, M/S Semlex Europe SA and Compulynx Limited (Belgium) were scheduled to generate smart licences but in 2009 the Kenyan government shut it down. The National Transport and Safety Authority later signed the deal with Huawei and local firm Copy Cat to provide the Transport Integrated Management System (Tims).