UNRA Case Study

UNRA Case Study

Contract Uganda National Roads Authority.
Service Theory and field training for UNRA traffic survey technicians.
Scale 10 staff over one week period.
Project Location: Kampala, Uganda.
Uganda National Roads Authority Case Study

The Uganda National Roads Authority was established in 2006 and became fully operational in 2008. They have responsibility for developing and maintaining the national road network of approximately 20,000 kilometres. This includes the large number of ferry links between roads. The UNRA focus is around developing a safe network for all users that is responsive to economic development and takes into account the environmental sustainability of the national road corridors. Having a clear strategy, built on sound transport survey data is key to their success.

With an ambitious and fast moving roads programme Uganda has a number of challenges they are working on. Many of the major trunk roads are being converted to tarmac surfaces for the first time and accurate information about traffic volumes, origin-destination movements and time of day capacity requirements is only available with appropriate survey techniques. Whilst they have skilled workers within the UNRA organisation they need access to the right traffic survey technology and the specialist training to enable them to be self sufficient in surveying. Even when they have the equipment there are additional practicalities to be sorted out such as the lack of roadside furniture to mount survey detection devices on. Many of the rural locations do not have street lighting or telegraph poles for example.

The Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis were commissioned to recommend, purchase and supply the specialist survey equipment that would be capable of collecting traffic survey data in Uganda and withstand the rugged environment. The most valuable part of the contract for Uganda National Roads Authority involved a training package from us so that their field technicians could become self sufficient in the installation, maintenance, data collection and decommissioning of all the various types of equipment they are employing on the surveys.


Tracsis Traffic tutor working in Uganda

Traffic and Data Services recommended the SDR above ground radar system supplied by Traffic Technology UK to provide accurate vehicle count, classification and speed data using equipment housed in a robust casing and secured above ground at the roadside. A total of 10 radar units and the associated field equipment were ordered and shipped to Uganda during July/August 2011. Paul Jackson, traffic survey expert and Business Development Director of Traffic and Data Services and Brian Gronskis, Field Services Engineer at Traffic Technology arrived in Kampala at the end of August that year and got straight to work checking all the equipment, preparing the classroom area and doing reconnaissance trips to find suitable locations for the field training and test demonstration surveys that our client had requested.

The first days training involved a mix of classroom based practical sessions where we took delegates through the various components, the correct installation methods, maintenance and the use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) for system set up and data downloading.

Day two moved out into the field for training in the correct installation and set-up of equipment. All delegates participated in carrying out the tasks themselves. Training in use of PDA’s to download data; use of the website to produce basic reports; modification of report class schemes; conversion of data files to .txt and Excel format. All demonstrated using a demonstration site we had chosen on the Jinja Road near Kampala.

All the delegates passed the training and Traffic and Data Services issued them with certification. A key part of the success of this training project was the very practical, hands on nature of the course we designed specifically for the UNRA. The data that the survey equipment is providing will enable strategic planning to take place at every stage of the road network development including the road maintenance schedules for the future which will be based upon real data about traffic levels and types. The survey equipment will take out the need for guess work, improving road safety and reducing long term costs.

Survey equipment field training by Tracsis Traffic staff

Survey equipment field training by Tracsis Traffic staff

The UNRA in addition to undertaking seven-day temporary surveys using the SDR equipment supplied, may wish to obtain long-term data at key representative sites across the national road network to provide seasonal and trend growth data. Given the particular nature of the road surfaces and operating conditions we hope to use our experience to provide further consultancy advice about appropriate counting systems. This may take the form of permanently sited radar units fitted with either solar or mains power and GPRS remote monitoring to allow easy, near real-time data retrieval on some murram (clay based) or other unsurfaced roads. For tarmac roads some form of inductive loop system of a type where the data loggers are concealed below ground and inductive loops are not easily visible will work better. We have also provided advice about the use of purpose built poles for mounting detectors. These could be manufactured locally but we can help with the design.

UNRA currently undertakes intersection surveys using manual observers. Traffic and Data Services typically utilise video camera systems for these types of survey as the process is significantly more accurate (especially for complex and busy junctions) and can be more cost-effective. Traffic and Data Services would be happy to advise and assist on the development of a video camera system approach.

Traffic and Data Services have a team of specialists who will be able to advise further on appropriate systems.

This is just one project from case studies in transport surveys and data capture sector carried out by leading international provider Traffic and Data Services.

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