rubber roads in UK

Traffic Jams in Karachi: Reasons and Solutions

Traffic situation in Karachi is getting worse with each passing day. On one hand vehicles are increasing exponentially while roads are getting blocked due to the mega-development drive of the City District Government of Karachi (CDGK). Instead of doing the development work in phases, the CDGK has opened all fronts in one go, leaving Karachi digged up from one end to the other.

Some of the recent jams were:

June 2, 2006 – PIDC

A rally held by the Pukhtoon Action Committee (Loya Jirga) assembled hundreds of rickshaws, trucks, buses and minibuses to parade from Lasbella Chowk to the Karachi Press Club, virtually bringing life at the center of the city to a standstill from 4:00 p.m. till dusk.

The rally stretched nearly 10 kilometres long and ran opposite the flow of traffic. Traffic was blocked for hours at all the main points to Saddar – Lucky Star, Metropole hotel, Zainab market, all of I. I. Chundrigar Road.

May 30, 2006 – Karachi Central

People blocked Nawab Siddique Ali Khan Road, running between Lasbella Bridge and Nazimabad Chowrangi, and S. M. Taufeeq Road between Teen Hatti Bridge and Liaquatabad flyover, to protest against prolonged power breakdowns in their localities. Due to the blockade, the vehicles reaching the thoroughfares from different directions got stuck at Lasbella, Nazimabad, Teen Hatti and Karimabad intersections. The power breakdown also rendered traffic signals inoperative and the traffic police personnel moved in to regulate the traffic flow failed to handle the massive clogging at so many places.

The traffic police miserably failed to regulate traffic manually and chaos like situation prevailed at Teen Hatti, Jamshed Road, Nishtar Road, Lasbella, Nazimabad, Pak Colony, Karimabad, Sir Shah Suleman Road and other link roads.

Another traffic jam occurred near Gulbai and on Mauripur Road as people took to the street and staged a sit-in. They raised slogans against the water board and the city government for reducing the supply of drinking water.

May 19, 2006 – Jauhar More at Rashid Minhas Road:

The jam started at around 8.30 on Friday morning on the Rashid Minhas Road-Jauhar More intersection. Many of those who were caught up were students appearing in O’levels and other exams, and there was every possibility that some of them might not have made it in time.

The obvious reason was the absence of any cut between NIPA and Jauhar More to regulate traffic and enable commuters to find a convenient exit despite the fact that one of Karachi’s major amusement parks is located on this road. The result is that all vehicular traffic gets bogged down at Jauhar More. The absence of a proper service lane on either side of the Rashid Minhas Road from Jauhar More to NIPA has also made the commuters’ life miserable.

Reasons for Traffic Jams

There are numerous reason for traffic congestion in the city, some of these are listed here:

1. Road Construction: The road construction works are in progress on M.A. Jinnah Extension Road, Rashid Minhas Road, Shahrae Jehangir, 5000 Road in North Karachi, 8000 Road in Korangi Manghopir Road etc. The flyover works are ongoing at Time Medico intersection, Hasan Square intersection and Sohrab Goth, Underpasses works are also underway at Gharibabad, Liaquatabad No. 10 and Nazimabad No. 2. Most of the projects are on going without any traffic diversion plan.

2. Encroachments: Squatters have also set up encroachments on the roads. The car showroom owners park their vehicles at footpath and on a large portion of M. A. Jinnah Extension Road, Khalid Bin Walid Road, Tariq Road, University Road etc. Inter-city buses have illegal depots and stop points along University Road (old sabzi mandi) causing hinderance in traffic flow.

3. Manual Traffic Control: According to a report in PakTribune.com, traffic signals are switched off in many areas by police officials who try to control the traffic manually. They get confused in the process and due to their errors, the traffic from different directions is grid locked which leads to traffic muddle on the roads. Usually, the traffic police close the traffic signals in evening when traffic volume from all directions is much higher. They open one-side of road for long period while the other traffic is closed for minutes.

Usually signals of Shaheen Complex, Civic Centre. Tibet Centre, Nishat Cinema, Numaish, Empress Market, Sharea Faisal, Shaheen Complex, Teen Hatti, Sharea Pakistan etc are switched off.

Ironically, the signals are operating under Urban Traffic Control (UTC) in which timings are fixed in according to the traffic flow of these roads. The city government has installed 130 UTC signals on major roads, which have computerized system. Timings are stored in the system in according to the traffic volume, which can also be varied.

According to city government officials, the traffic police was responsible to operate these signals but instead of it they were more intended to operate traffic manually. The city government has asked traffic police department many times to abandon traffic control manually as it causes traffic jams but the officials concerned never response positive.

4. Lack of Civic Sense: Another major reason for traffic jams and mishaps in Karachi is lack of civic sense in drivers. Most drivers are either unaware of traffic rules or they simply do not bother. Jumping lanes, overtaking, speeding, cursing and swearing, all causing frustration, depression and hyper-tension around them.

Solutions for Traffic Jams in Karachi: Solving traffic related issues is certainly no easy task and requires lot of research and planning. Considering the availability of resources and funds, it is best to utilize what is readily available rather than opting for brand-new solution which cause more strain on tax payers’ pockets. For example, the circular railway system, if properly launched, can reduce pressure from the vehicular traffic. While there was some progress on Karachi Mass Transit Program, it fall prey of various political agendas and went down the drain.

According to a BBC report, a congestion-beating project has been launched that could lead to some of the UK’s disused railway lines being paved with rubber.

rubber roads in UK Holdfast Rubber Highway (HRH) in UK is developing rubber roads and may provide a use for some of the estimated 50m tyres disposed of in the UK each year.

Parent company, Holdfast Level Crossings, already makes the rubber decking found at pedestrian and rail crossings. The company has extended this idea to create cheap interlocking panels that can be laid between the gaps on disused railway lines.

Each mile of track would use 354,000 scrap tyres. Individual panels are made “cold” so there are few emissions in the production process.

A 980ft (300m) demonstration track, funded by the not-for-profit Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), has been built on a branch line leading into a car depot in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Over eight weeks, more than 8,000 cars will drive over the surface to make sure it can stand up to wear and tear.

However, Mr Coates Smith, the managing director of Holdfast, said he was more interested in seeing how quickly the road could be laid.

“It took four men five days to put down 300m of road,” he said. “The panels we’d be using [in the future] are three times as long, so you can imagine 900m in five days.”

prototype Clever - Compact Urban TransportAlso in the UK, researchers are working on a tiny, three-wheeled car that could help solve traffic congestion.

The prototype Clever (Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport) car is one metre wide and less polluting than normal vehicles. It has a top speed of 100 km/h (60mph) and uses a novel tilting chassis to make it safe and manoeuvrable.

The traffic-busting two-seater is the result of a 40-month project by researchers in nine European countries.

The three-year, £1.5m EU-funded research project aimed to produce a totally different class of private motor vehicle specifically designed for the urban environment.

The idea is to try to marry the small size and efficiency of a motorcycle with the comfort and safety of a standard car.


16 thoughts on “Traffic Jams in Karachi: Reasons and Solutions”

  1. The solution of Karachi Traffic problems is very simple and easy if one is sincere for it and we observe:

    1. Traffic Discipline
    2. Patience
    3. Elimination of ‘yellow devils’ (All small wagons0.
    4. Introduction of Large and Double-Decker buses.
    5. KCR use to its original route.
    6. Expansion of KCR – introduction of new routes.
    7. Alternative Roads.

  2. @Zeeshan: The idea of decentralization of civic, finance and economic institutions and services is addressed in the latest master plan. However when it will come in reality, thats a million rupee question.

    I think the solution of Karachi’s traffic problem is revival of circular railway. Building flyovers and underpasses won’t solve this problem due to exponential rise in population and vehicles.

  3. Hello Friends,
    I am a town planner & also working on a hypothesis related to traffic problems in Karachi.
    In my opinion To tackle Karachis traffic problems, what is required urgently is a plan for decongesting the city; decentralising some of its functions; segregating through and local traffic and fast and slow moving traffic.
    Actually the formulation of the transport plan is not approached easily. First, the problem is not isolated and independent. Second, urban transport systems are themselves a small part of the over all regional and national transportation infrastructure. Proper over all transportation planning requires the examination of problems at various level, because planning & policy making at one level should not taken and its effects are severe for urban transport planning.

  4. Kamran, traffic jam is a deep rooted issue and it has several reasons including inefficiency on law enforcing agencies’ part, lack of civic sense in drivers as well as wrecked roads. I believe that if people keep in their lanes, remain patient and show empathy to others, we will not have that long jams. Most of the times jams occur when few drivers get impatient. Actually, only we, the public, can resolve this and other issues because our adminstration does not give a damn about people.

  5. I WORKED IN AN ORGANIZATION ! TEXTILE INDUSTRY SITUATED AT NATIONAL HIGH WAY ,MY WORKING HOURZ ARE 9 HOURS AND NORMALLY TRAFFIC JAMS TOOK 4 HOURS ,FROM NATIONAL HIGHWAY ONLY TAKE 1.5 HRZ TO CROSS QAIDABAD AND ALMOST AN HOUR TO CROSS MALIR 15.I LIVE IN GULSHAN .NEAR KU

    WHY BECAUSE ALL POLICE AND TRAFFIC PERSONS! ARE NOT AT QAIDABAD CHOWRANGI THEY USED TO CONTROL TRAFFIC ALOMOST 5 KM AWAY FROM QAIDABAD STOPIING LOADING COMMERCIALS VEHICLES AND MAKING BRIBES AND MONEY HOW MANY ARE THEY YES THEY ARE ALMOST 5 OR 6 PERSONS ALL MAKING GREEN MONEY !! NON OF THEM INTERESTED WHAT THE HELL GOING ON AT QAID ABAD.

    NO I M WRONG ONE DAY NO ONE SEEN! TRAFIC IS IN FULL FLOW ! I M CONCIOUS AND SURPRISED WHAT HAPPEN !!!!TODAY SUN RISE FROM WEST WAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WHY THE TRAFICC IS IN FULL FLOW I M GOING TO DIEEEE WHYY ??

    OHH GOT IT MINISTER ALONG WITH FAMILY HAS TO VISIT A FARM HOUSE A FEW KM AWAY FROM NATIONAL HIGHWAY HE USED THAT ROUTE.

    EVERY THING CLEAR ALL POLICE MAN INCLUDING BLACK ARE CLEARING TRAFFIC MY GOD WHERE I AM IN HEAVEN ….OPPS SAME DAMAGE ROADS BUT

    I REACH HOME ONLY IN 40 MINUTES INSTEAD OF 4 HRZ.

    MY GUDNESS GOD GIVES ALL CONCERNED PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS JAMS !!!PLACE IN HEAVEN !

    BUT THERE JOB IS IN HELL AND AFTER 5 HRZ TRAVEL THEY COME TO HEAVEN BUT THE TRAFFIC IS LIKE FROM QAIDABAD TO N.KARACHI.

    AND ON SAME ROADS WHERE ROADS ARE DIFFICULT FOR FIND IT’S A TRACK MADE BY GOVT FOR PEOPLES OF KARACHI WAT U SAY MUD TRACK !FULL WITH WATER AND UNSEEN HOLESSSSS..

    SOLUTION IS TO RESTRICT ALL POLICE MEN TO STOP ANY VEHICLE ON ROAD. ISSUE TICKET DONOT TAKING BRIBE , SOME AUTHORITY VISIT THAT EITHER WHERE THESE BRIBES GOING ON AND MAKE SURE ALL POLICE MAN MUST BE THERE WHERE REQUIRED NOT HIDING BELOW TREES AND STOPING COMMERCIAL VEHICLES !!! MUST CONFIRM THAT VISITING AUTHORITY IS ALSO NOT TAKE HIS PORTION ONLY TO CHECK EITHER ALL POLICE MAN WORKING OR SLEEPING SOMEWHERE PHATAN HOTEL OR SITTING IN COMMERCIAL VEHICLE MAKING THEIR POCKETS FULL WITH 20 RS.

    FILL HOLES WITH MUD TO MAKE THE MUDDY AND SLIPPERY DRIVE MORE COMFORATBLE THAT WE MAY WIN INTERNATIONAL MUD VEHICLE RACE 😉

    MAKE TRAFFIC ALTERNATE ROUTE AND CLOSE ALL CUTS AND CROSSING ALL THE WAY .

    SPECIALLY STOP ALL HEAVY TRAFFIC BEFORE 12 NIGHT AND MAKE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE FOR BUSES TO COME FROM DAWOD CHOWRANGI TO

    MANZIL PUMP ALLOW ONLY PRIVATE TRAFFIC FROM DAWOD CHOWRANGI TO QAIDABAD LIKE VICE VERSA COMING ROUTE.

    NOTHING IS HAPPEN I KNOW !! BUT WISH THAT IT MIGHT BE HAPPEN !

    REGARDS

    kami

  6. @Rationalistic: I have mentioned about Karachi Mass Transit Program which started with so much hype and went down the drain due to no practical work on it. I agree with what you wrote about the role luxury vehicles play in our country. Pajeros were supposed to status symbol a decade back. Now we have the BMWs, Mercs and Porshe around.

    @Rakesh: Unfortunately we have insincere and dishonest people in hot seats. All sorts of mafias are active here including land grabbers, transporters etc. As you have rightly mentioned, a mass transit plan can provide some relief to the chaotic transport situation but all efforts for that are systematically sabotaged and disrupted by the ‘invisible hands’. We are trying to find some logic in this madness and Karachi, for now, remains the best place to send your mother-in-law 🙂

  7. Thought provoking post Kashif.

    Karachi is seriously sufferning from the traffic problems. Normally when the developlemt work is conducted in metros, alternatives are issued. But Karachi is rather facing a multi-fold problem of inadequate planning, in-efficient management, lack of proper transportation and a sudden burst increament in the vehichles on the road. A city which houses approximately 15 million people deserves a lot more attention than this.

    Another alternative could be a city-wide metro train. I happened to witness the Delhi Metro sometime back this year. It was a fantastic solution to the problems being faced by Delhi. The project obviously costs a lot but you cannot really rely completely on roads for all modes of transportation. The mass transit system is almost always kept seperate from the conventional traffic but in our case things are mixed up and that again in a very worse way. There are mafias heading the transportation and the immediate victim is the local commuter, not to mention the speed and economy of the city.

  8. Good Post Kashif,
    You have mentioned all the problems and solutions but all the measure may not be able to tackle the menace of traffic jams unless people are provided alternative to using roads. All the big cities of size, equal to karachi have rail system for transport.

    In Pakistan there is lust for cars. Its not used for transportation only, its used as a mean for showing off wealth, luxury, sport, leisure. Some families have cars more than its family members. Banks are providing easy financing and factories are working in triple shifts to fulfil hunger of the people. People are really car-starved and when they get option of loans, they run for new and big cars. In Pakistani society vehicle is more than transportation – like a horse of a chaudary or Malik which is source of pride for him and the village.

    In this whole scenrio, those who cant afford the horse or the SUVs and luxury cars, find no alternative but only large smoke emitting buses for riding on the roofs to reach their work. There is no third option. Either buy a car or hang on the doors of old, rusted buses.

    With rising poverty, many are losing the race for purchasing the luxury. Both these old odd buses and luxury vehicle are jamming the roads. Increase demand has increased petrol prices, increased taxes for the govt so govt is intentionally not starting the mass transit systems for public.

    Until and unless people are provided safe, decent transportation at mass level, traffic jam problem won’t solve and the day is not far when the ruling class won’t find place to run the luxury SUVs.

    Isn’t it justice by nature that rich buy power full, sporty SUVs and drive it in speed under 20 most of time and spend hours trapped inside the luxury domes??

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