16 Jul, 2015
From drones to smartphone apps, Indonesia is harnessing technology to tackle traffic chaos during the annual mass exodus before the Muslim Eid ul Fitri holiday, when the potholed roads of overpopulated Java become clogged with millions of slow-moving cars and crashes are frequent.
Cities in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country empty every year at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan as people head to villages to celebrate Eid with their families. This trip is an annual ritual known locally as “mudik” that transforms journeys of a few hundred kilometres (miles) into 24-hour odysseys. The crush is particularly acute on Java, a crowded island that is home to more than half of Indonesia’s 250 million people.
Hundreds of new vehicles are hitting the road every day as the economy booms, but scant investment means many routes remain as they have for years — narrow, ageing roads snaking through mountainous terrain.