Transport System Inches Closer to Digitisation

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Transport System Inches Closer to Digitisation

The Federal Transport Authority has launched an Integrated Transport Management System — a web-based, spatially-enabled solution that allows users to query data on the transport system — for freight transporters at a cost of 30 million Br.

The three-year project, which was kicked off with the aim of digitising the freight and public transport sector, has been initiated with a total budget of 90 million Br. Deployed from a data centre at the Innovation & Technology Institute, the System will include interfaces for fleet management, online payment, an integrated stakeholders module, as well as biometric enrollment.

Allocated by the government, the budget is directed at developing the software and hardware for the digitisation, including the building of servers, setting up a call centre and enhancing branch office infrastructure at checkpoints across the country.

The System is almost finalised for the freight transportation sector in the first phase and will include the public transport sector in the second version. This system will aid online registration, identification generation, license certifications and renewals. It will also enable the control rooms at the Authority to follow up on the status of freight trucks as they move through various checkpoints in the country.

Operationalised following a month-long study conducted by a team from the Authority and the Institute, the system comes on the heels of the latest directive on the standardisation of freight trucks. The latter lays down new criteria for the creation and management of associations or companies of freight truck operators in the country.

The pilot launch is anticipated to take place at three checkpoints at Beleho, Galafi and Dewele near the Djibouti border this month. It will eventually include all 18 checkpoints and is expected to serve as a tool for reporting on the status and number of freight trucks in the country.

However, the launch of such digital systems in several other sectors has not been without its challenges.

Muluken Kere, director-general at the Institute, believes that the initial disinterest of institutions, low levels of awareness on ICT among civil servants, and the complexity of some systems are the main reasons for difficulties.

"When the digital strategy of the country was set in motion, we saw a lot of change," he said. "Institutions started reaching out to us instead of the other way around."

This is also due to an understanding of the inevitability of a knowledge-based economy, according to the director-general.

The Institute offers training and support as well as a sector modernisation team to aid and simplify the transition for partner establishments. It currently avails its services for free in a bid to advance digitisation, but this is expected to change in the future.

"We'll be initiating the second phase relating to public transport once we source the budget," said Muluken.

Source: Addis Fortune (November 14, 2020) 

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