The fault with our signal-free corridors

Published: October 9, 2015



Ever since four main arteries in the city have been made signal free to ease flow of traffic, there has been a rise in the number of fatal accidents on them.

These findings were shared in a study presented at the 3rd National Conference on Space Science and Technology at the Karachi University (KU) hosted by the Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics (Ispa) earlier this week.

Karachi has 9,500 kilometres of road networks for 3.1 million running vehicles, pointed out Dr Salman Zubair, an assistant professor at the University of Karachi’s (KU) geography department, during his presentation. “The four signal-free corridors are only 100km long but are responsible for almost 20 per cent of both fatal and non-fatal road traffic accidents.”

Total Number of Vehicles in Karachi


SOURCE: (WAJID, 2008. AND AMIR, ET AL., 2014); 

Dr Zubair listed that these corridors include the 10.5-km-long one built in 2007 that connects Sharae Faisal to Site Town, the 19-km-long one built in 2008 from Sharae Faisal to Surjani Town, the 28-km-long one built in 2009 from Saddar to Toll Plaza and the 28-km-long one which is still in progress from PIDC to Malir via Sharae Faisal.

Dr Zubair conducted the study along with his colleagues at KU Jamil H Kazmi and Syed Shahid Ali, Rashid Jooma of the Road Traffic Injury Prevention Centre and Zeeshan Akhtar from KU’s Applied Chemistry department.

Most of these accidents occur when people fail to follow traffic rules, motorcyclists use all traffic lanes, pedestrians fail to use overhead bridges, and poor planning of some U-turns. For instance, U-turns are built after every 1.1km that forces the motorcyclist to ride on the high-speed lane, which causes fatal accidents, he explained. Insufficient number of pedestrian bridges is the second main cause of road accidents on all four corridors, he added. “Speed control can reduce the severity of road traffic accidents,” said Zubair. “Median walls of U-turns should be terminated so the problems of traffic jams can be avoided on all corridors,” he suggested.

Arsenic in drinking water

Dr Alia B Munshi, the chief scientific officer at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research complex laboratories, shared in her presentation how she found traces of arsenic in tap water in the coastal villages on the outskirts of Karachi. The amount of arsenic in tap water is eight parts per billion, which is very high, she said.

A large number of companies selling bottled water are merely selling non-mineral water that has passed through the reverse-osmosis process, she shared. Drilling and alternate ways of water has more contamination as compared to tap water supplied by the water board, she added. She traced cadmium, mercury and copper in the waters collected through alternative ways.      `

Water is a major source of minerals for the human body and the use of contaminated water in the city leads to potassium deficiency in a large number of residents, she said.

Wind turbine technologies

Dr Suhail Zaki Farooqui, the head of the Pakistan Council for the Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET), gave a lecture on the renewable energy resources in Pakistan. “Pakistani experts have indigenously developed vertical wind turbines whose generators and blades have no bolts,” he said. “All these innovations are in the patent process.”

These generators cost one-fifth less than other generators available across the world, he pointed out, adding that it was after many trials and errors that he successfully designed vertical wind turbines and its important parts. Apart from these three studies, scientists presented several other technical papers on topics ranging from cosmology to space sciences, climatic change, astrophysics in the two-day conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • omar
    Oct 9, 2015 - 9:51AM

    fault is with the drivers , not roads or cars!Recommend

  • AS
    Oct 9, 2015 - 11:53AM

    The fault is not just with the drivers, it also has a lot to do with the design of these highways and the u-turns placed on them. We in Islamabad are witnessing the same situation on the Islamabad Highway or Expressway (Faisal Avenue). At every couple of kilometers, there is an entrance onto the highway from the left, and immediately after, there is a U-turn on the right. So a large amount of traffic enters the highway, and immediately moves right, in front of oncoming traffic to take a u-turn. This makes it extremely hard to go straight on the highway. First, you have to move right to make room for those coming in from the left, and immediately after, you have to move left to avoid all those who are taking the u-turn and those who are entering the highway from the u-turn.

    So, every time we have to use the highway, it’s a criss-cross ride full of avoiding cars and motorbikes from the left and right, and full of prayers for the safety of all motorcyclists especially whose lives are at stake at every point….Allah have mercy! Recommend

  • Shakeel
    Oct 9, 2015 - 4:06PM

    The U-turn system is idiotic. Use slip roads or off-ramps as the Americans call them. Have elevated roundabouts on bridges over the highways allowing users to then “cross over”. We have this in the UK, it’s near perfect!Recommend

  • shawqyl
    Oct 10, 2015 - 9:50AM

    Making signal free corridor has its merits and demerits. There is no doubt it is saving precious time of people using vehicles.It has greatly reduced travel time.Accidents occurs not only due to ill planning . Education , awareness ,culture and training plays a vital role in understanding the hazard and dealing with it. We all know that getting a driving licence doesn’t mean we are trained enough to drive safely. One can see daily in morning hours how schools van drivers violates signal free corridor rules and risk the life of our children.
    To start wit it was good to have signal free corridor even with some flaws .But it’s a contineous process and sky is the limit .
    The only way to reduces traffic load present in the form of ever increased motorbike , cars , rikshaws& all king of buses and van is to introduce Mass transit (train) meet the population growth demand .Recommend

  • Muhammad Jauhar Ishaque.
    Oct 10, 2015 - 9:50AM

    We should not ignore the road condition, broken patches, sudden appearance of a bumps due to which the drivers are forced to either apply emergency brakes or go right/left to safe vehicle from any dammage.Recommend

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