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Saturday, September 23, 2023

How one institution in Qatar plans to reduce traffic congestion during peak hours

Qatar’s Education and Culture ministries are taking several initiatives based upon modern principles of control and regulation. Can Pakistan learn a thing or two from Qatar to reduce traffic congestion in Lahore and Karachi?

In an interesting development, Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education intends to end working hours before the peak hours to reduce traffic congestion at those times, a senior official has said. It is worth noting that quite recently the Ministry of Culture and Sports, represented by the QFPD, said that it was set to launch the first edition of the Doha Publishing Fellowship Program (DPFP) on Sunday, January 12, in co-operation with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Press.

This year’s inaugural DPFP will host 42 Qatari, Arab and foreign publishers from 22 countries around the world in a two-day forum boasting seminars from leading publishing industry experts, at the Doha International Book Fair.

General Manager of the QFPD Ibrahim Abdulrahim al-Buhashim said, in a press conference, that the DPFP is a specialized professional program that provides an opportunity for Qatari publishers to meet Arab and foreign counterparts. He pointed out that the program aims at establishing professional relations between publishers and enhancing the concept of intellectual property in addition to bringing publishers from around the world to trade rights for books and further promoting cultural exchange.

The latest initiative is in addition to the ministry’s efforts to include traffic awareness in school curricula and extracurricular activities so that students are nurtured in an environment that contributes to the promotion of a traffic culture, according to Dr Ibrahim Saleh al-Nuaimi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and member of the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC).

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Dr. al-Nuaimi made the observation while addressing the first workshop on traffic congestion management, which was held in Doha recently under the patronage of HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Chairman of the NTSC.
The workshop was organized by the NTSC in co-operation with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).

Various entities concerned in the State took part in the workshop to discuss ways to manage traffic congestion and determine the authorities responsible for this management and define its tasks, the negative impact of traffic congestion at the health and economic levels; ways to improve the efficiency of public transport, develop a vehicle parking system and increase the capacity of road networks, as well as the relation between road accidents and congestion and the poor behavior and habits of some drivers, the official Qatar News Agency reported (QNA).

The workshop also highlighted the role of police personnel in controlling movement, the speed and pedestrian management system, city planning systems, the impact of economic growth, the growth of population and the number of vehicles, and other related topics.

The implementation of the ‘black points’ system to determine the locations that witness repeated traffic accidents

The opening of the workshop was attended by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications and First Deputy Chairman of the NTSC, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, Ashghal President and member of the NTSC Dr Saad Ahmed al-Muhannadi, and a number of heads and representatives of the authorities concerned with traffic issues and road projects.

Addressing the event, Dr al-Nuaimi emphasised that traffic congestion is one of the most important challenges that developed countries face today due to the growing population density, modern lifestyle and the consequent increase in the number of vehicles.

He said this has prompted the developed countries to look for solutions to the ill-effects of congestion, including air pollution , which reflects negatively on the climate and health of individuals.
Dr. al-Nuaimi added that traffic congestion also has negative effects on the economy, in terms of lost working hours and delays in accomplishing work. He noted that Qatar has been working to address traffic congestion through the development of infrastructure and legislation.

He highlighted the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s efforts in this regard, which include encouraging school students to use schoolbuses to limit the use of private cars, by providing transportation means with best international standards, as well as ensuring that students are enrolled in government schools located near their residential areas, and by taking into account housing areas while employing staff in schools to avoid long transfers, according to the QNA report.

Rise if demand for transportation in Qatar

On his part, Director-General of Traffic and Second Deputy Chairman of the NTSC, Major General Mohamed Saad al-Kharji, stressed that Qatar is facing a rise in the demand for transportation of individuals and goods as well as an increase in traffic congestion.
He said the State has paid great attention to deal with traffic congestion through the launch of the National traffic Safety Strategy 2013-2022 in addition to the second development plan, which aims to reduce traffic accidents and build a safe and secure transportation system.

He also discussed the participation of the Traffic Department in the activities of specialised work groups formed by the NTSC, which is supervised by the Secretariat represented by the National Traffic Safety Office. The work groups include the Speed Management Group, Pedestrian Group and Incident Investigation Group, in addition to the Traffic Congestion Working Group, the Ministry of Interior said in a press statement.

Meanwhile, Ashghal’s Director of Projects Affairs Yousef al-Emadi said the second executive plan of 2018-2022 includes major projects related to sustainable transport and reducing traffic congestion, such as building a system of central control, traffic signals and systems for maintenance, traffic accidents, speed management and smart transportation.

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He noted that the most important achievements of the authority include the highways programme that includes some of the largest highway projects in Qatar and the internal roads programme, the operation and maintenance of sewage and road networks in addition to the development of an effective system for the use of modern technology, the implementation of the ‘black points’ system to determine the locations that witness repeated traffic accidents, developing pedestrian services to provide facilities for all road users, and enhancing safety by building pedestrian crossings and bridges.

The projects also include developing school districts to facilitate traffic flow and improving safety, implementing the smart transportation system project and linking it with all other new road projects.

Brigadier Mohamed Abdullah al-Malki, Secretary of the NTSC, underlined that the committee, as the body responsible for drawing traffic policies in the State, places traffic congestion at the top of its priorities due to the damage it causes to the national economy.

He urged all State institutions to intensify their efforts in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and ensure the readiness of all sectors, especially the transportation sector and its sub-sectors, such as traffic flow during the event.

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The workshop included a number of papers regarding traffic congestion with its various dimensions and effects, current and future plans to address it, enhancing road safety, developing smart transportation systems and other issues raised by a number of authorities concerned.