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Opinions of Thursday, 4 February 2016

Columnist: Effah-Nkyi, Joe

Avoiding irrationality on our highways – the need for hi-tech.

R. Buckminster Fuller, an American systems theorist and inventor once posited that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
The above proclamation succinctly underlines the fact that innovation is a prerequisite that absolutely revolutionizes the many facets of every economy when prudently given prioritization.
Road traffic crashes, undoubtedly, constitutes one of the global public health challenges. This unfortunate phenomenon has often been reiterated in organized workshops, stakeholder meetings, journals, published articles and the various facets of both electronic and print media including the diverse social media of the innumerable factors that contributes to road incidents leading to immeasurable carnage on the country’s highway.
Looking at the entirety of intense and elaborate discussions that ordinarily takes place based on such agenda, one common thing becomes so conspicuous. The need for strategic policy initiative, both in physical and theoretical dimensions that could possibly abate the challenges confronting our highways in all perceptive.
Ironically, the focus, from time immemorial, has been the same conventional challenges of which solutions are yet to be unearthed to extricate the people from their predicament. The urgent need to get rid of rickety vehicles on our roads and highways, drunk driving, excessive speeding, massive importation of decrepit coupled with over-aged vehicles, the importation of excessively used and virtually worn car tyres, conversation on mobile telephony whilst vehicle is in motion thereby causing distractions, the acute potholes that have overtime metamorphosed into perceived gutters and ‘wells’ thus impeding prudent negotiation of curves, the country’s known decrepit road network, absence of street lighting structures at night; these and many other factors therefore cannot be over-emphasized.

The above notwithstanding, this writer is of candid opinion that curbing approximately 60% road incidence could be looked at from the point of initiating road construction at preliminary stages of the project. Incontrovertibly, this argument brings to the fore the application and utilization of high tech into the mainstream of road and highway construction. Literally, vigorous academic research has given credence to the fact that enhanced technology and for that matter computerized technology has invariably aided or supported mankind in its quest to accomplish critical tasks which hitherto poses damning difficulty.
Ghana, being a developing country stands to benefit enormously if high technological innovations are infused into the country’s road construction en masse. For example, the country stands sufficiently to benefit immensely if our road project designers and computer scientists could customize unique computerized devices that are embedded beneath the road surface in the course of initial road construction. This unique feature with high resonate sensors is then connected to a very remote infrastructural 24 hour monitoring device. With integral high memory capacity storage, the monitoring device therefore captures every bit of activity that simultaneously takes place on our highways. Such a computerized origination is not only meant for the nuisance exhibited by our vehicular drivers but could also capture the incidence of armed robbery operation, a scourge that continues to eat deep into the fabric of society. This and many irrational activities which normally take place behind the scenes on our highways and even beyond could be adequately captured for appropriate interventions.
It is significant to note that the above proposition is not an isolated case; developed jurisdictions have over the years succeeded in transforming their fortunes by the application of such novelties which has eventually raked in good dividends and provided maximum sanctuary to their inhabitants.

With such technological innovation, tourism is an area that could be significantly boosted. The spate of accidents leading to human mortality including material destruction is likely to be truncated. Consequently, the country becomes a safe haven which could empower the masses to embark upon travel expeditions without fear of any form of terrorization. Safety on our highways could ultimately be guaranteed to an appreciable level.