In an age where hyper-connectivity and technological advancements mean that fast transportation and instant gratification are expected, traffic jams are the plague of modern development. There is nowhere where the cumbersome experience of sitting in a long tailback is more pronounced however, than the West Bank.
Hundreds of military checkpoints scattered around the occupied Palestinian territory are prone to arbitrarily closure without prior warning, restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians whose daily lives are already defined by a sense of chaos, temporariness and unpredictability.
However, a new smartphone app Azmeh – which translates to mean ‘traffic jam’ in Arabic – has been designed to tackle this very problem.
20-year-old Basel Sader, a Palestinian student from East Jerusalem who developed Azmeh, explained to Mondoweiss how the smartphone application allows users to post travel updates, receive traffic warning and message other users via an integrated interface. Using a simple color coded system, drivers can now predict and accordingly alter their commutes based on traffic updates at most of the permanent checkpoints.
Sader acknowledged that while the app doesn’t cut to the heart of the problem by challenging the existence of the checkpoints, he hoped that Azmeh is easing what is usually a very burdensome experience for the 11,000 people who have downloaded the app so far.