KARACHI: The stress of being stuck in traffic is just part of a much bigger problem in Karachi. Traffic jams suck billions of rupees in losses from industry when workers can’t reach factories on time and fatigue takes a toll on their productivity.
Given this, a study on the financial loss is being undertaken at NED University. It is the first such study being done in Pakistan. Indus Motor Company will work on the project.
Over 300 new vehicles are added everyday to Karachi’s already painfully busy roads.
In the first phase of the research, Toyota Research on Traffic Congestion (TRTC) will gather data for the next eight months on 10 intersections between Star Gate on Sharae Faisal, to Pakistan Steel Mill junction. A pickup car with video cameras affixed to its back will monitor the flow of traffic for speed, the volumes of cars and their density.
“The government is putting pressure on the industries to cut down on their costs,” said Parvez Ghias, the chief executive officer of Indus Motor Company on Monday. “To do that, we need to measure the cost of manpower stuck in traffic. The related expenses pile up because of blocked roads and fuel consumption.” According to an estimate, developed countries lost $40 billion because of traffic congestion. But according to Ghias, cars were not the problem. As a matter of fact, Pakistan is way behind other countries in the region when it comes to the number of cars people own. “Pakistan has 11 vehicles per 1,000 people,” said Ghias. “On the other hand, India and China were at this number five years back. Now the number is far greater.”
The road from which data will be collected carries a lot of traffic. The people on their way to Pakistan Steel Mills, Gulshan-e-Hadeed and the National Highway use this route. Also, the employees working in factories in the Bin Qasim Industrial Estate use this route and freight coming in from Port Qasim travels this road. According to the chairman of the department of urban and infrastructure engineering, Prof. Dr Mir Shabbar Ali, people waste a collective time of 3,887 days in a year of 365 days stuck between Malir Halt and the Malir No 15 Intersection. “There is also a psychological impact on the drivers,” he said. “They get frustrated and tend to over-speed which causes accidents.”
Ali said that it was still premature to assess the recommendations which will be made on the findings of this research. Encroachments and the size of the road will affect its results.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.