Defective road design blamed for traffic jams

December 30, 2012 - 4:12:49 am

DOHA: Nationals and residents have expressed their resentment over the defective road planning and recurrent road closures from protracted infrastructure projects in the first opinion poll on traffic safety conducted by the Ministry of Interior.

These, along with the rapid rise in private vehicles, have been cited as the three major reasons for traffic jams in many parts of the country.

Faulty design of the roads has been cited by 16 percent of the respondents as the main reason for traffic jams, while road closures and increase in the number of vehicles have been cited by 21 percent and 19 percent of the respondents, respectively.

“The traffic congestions will continue if the capacity of the roads is not increased or the number of vehicles reduced,” concludes the survey.  The survey covered 4,300 people from different segments of the society.

The participants called for conducting a comprehensive study to provide alternative roads during implementation of road projects and ensure faster implementation of the projects.

To address the rapid increase in the number of private vehicles, the respondents proposed to impose stricter rules for issuance of driving licences, especially to labourers and low-income workers who are not recruited to work as drivers.

A majority of the respondents — 52 percent — believe that not enough steps are taken to ensure pedestrian safety. They called for more pedestrian crossings and bridges and identified several traffic spots. 

They also called for a better public transport system as a way to address traffic congestions and strictly implementing the law against traffic violations, especially speeding, use of mobile phones while driving and reckless driving.

The recommendations of the survey will be forwarded to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

Reckless driving (31 percent), lack of awareness about traffic rules and regulations (23 percent) and using mobile phones while driving (21 percent) have been cited by the participants as the three major factors leading to traffic accidents.

The opinion poll was conducted by the Strategic Planning Department of the Ministry of Interior in collaboration with the Qatar Statistics Authority and the National Committee for Traffic Safety. The findings were released by the Ministry yesterday.  

The samples included government employees, people visiting public places and various departments of the Ministry of Interior as well as students. The questionnaires were prepared in English, Arabic and Urdu languages.

A sizeable segment of the participants (22 percent) believe that sign boards on the roads are the most important tool in raising public awareness, while TV programmes and social networking sites are cited by others as the important media tools (21 percent and 20 percent, respectively).

A majority of the respondents — 70 percent — agreed that efforts of the Ministry of Interior are contributing to raising traffic safety awareness.

Agreeing with survey findings, several residents and citizens have drawn attention to the defective designing of roads in several parts of the city.

“The February 22 road is a classic example. Many exit points on the highway get crowded in the peak hours due to wrong planning,” said a citizen.

A traffic expert, however, felt that the main problem is not with the design of roads, but with the uncontrolled increase in private cars and the lack of a proper public transport system.

“Traffic congestion in Doha is mainly related with the schools. If the schools are closed you will see less traffic. A number of parents are using private cars to transport their children to schools and back home. If there are 10 children in a residential compound attending the same school, they may use 10 cars to go to the school. There is no “car pooling” culture in Qatar,” he said.

He suggested scattering of office working hours as a way to reduce peak time rush.

“In countries like the US, people are allowed to do their work at home for one or two hours before leaving to the office. Such methods can be experimented here,” he added.

The presence of large number of trucks and trailers on the roads due to the massive construction projects is another major factor that leads to traffic congestions, he noted.

The Peninsula