KARACHI: Karachi has the fourth highest number of road fatalities in the world, which is a sign that traffic management in the metropolis is not up to the mark, claimed Dr Waheeduddin in a seminar on Wednesday
Addressing a seminar conducted by the Urban Resource Centre, Dr Waheeduddin, the Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Centre for Advanced Infrastructure Technology director at the University of Mississippi, USA, quoted his research and revealed that the residents of Lyari pay the same amount of taxes that Defence Housing Authority (DHA) residents pay.
“Then why is there such a difference between the roads of Lyari and the DHA when the former generates more revenue than the latter?” he questioned. “The transport system is made keeping in mind the luxury of a particular class that wants to live away from the poor.”
Sustainable transportation and development in any city consider the factors of land-use, urbanisation and social integration, the professor explained, adding that that land-use planning has a great impact on the environment and traffic. “Abu Dhabi, where trees are planted on both sides of the roads and construction is evenly spaced with less high rise buildings, has a clearer sky from smog and pollution in comparison to Dubai,” he said.
However, in the past few years, traffic management seems to have improved due to the construction of new roads and the signal-free corridors, said Dr Waheeduddin.
About the planning of Karachi’s road system, he said the design of the city is defective as the consultants who plan are not accountable to anyone. “Traffic study plans require 24 hours of road monitoring to gauge the number of total vehicles travelling daily, but here, roads are monitored for 16 hours only. When I asked them why 16 hours, authorities said there is no traffic at night.”
For this reason, Dr Waheeduddin said, technology should be used to manage the road traffic system and an Intelligence Transport System (ITS) is essential for this purpose. M Faheem Qureshi, the CEO of the GCS Technology Company whose ITS is currently installed, said that the Metropolitan ITS in Karachi, inaugurated in May 2008, has been working successfully and has managed to prevent accidents, control crime and manage traffic.
Dr Noman Ahmed, the chairman of architecture and planning department at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, said that transport is a service that should be available for every citizen keeping their income levels in mind. “Even today, the working class that depends on the public transport system leaves home at 5 am and returns at 9 pm due to the unavailability of transport,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2010.