It’s the sort of stuff we only see in the movies. A criminal is tracked through traffic lights and tollgates thanks to computers automatically recognising your number plate. Well, according to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) Zimbabwe now has the technology too. For now, it seems Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are confined to tollgates along the highway. Specifically the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Harare-Mutare highway.

We are introducing the basic short-range cameras at all the tollgates along the Plumtree-Mutare Highway which will recognise the number plate of an exempted car approaching the tollgate at a speed of 70km per hour

The long-range cameras recognise cars that will be moving at a speed of 160km per hour so we settled for the short-range camera on the understanding that no motorist will approach a tollgate at a speed of 160km per hour. The biggest advantage of this system is that toll collectors will no longer go out of the booth to physically verify if the vehicle is exempted or not and, they do not need to scan an exemption coupon physically on the document scanner. This is going to shorten the transacting time at the tollgate.

A statement by ZINRA’s Technical Director

While other countries use the tech to process things like Be on the lookout( BOLO) where cars of interest to authorities are tracked, here ZINARA is using the technology to process cars passing through tollgates. You see tollgates have been blamed for causing traffic bottlenecks along highways and with the Kazungula bridge now functional and giving Zimbabwe a run for its money the authorities seem to be looking to make sure that traffic flows freely on our roads.

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