KARACHI – NED University of Engineering and Technology Vice-Chancellor Abul Kalam, while speaking at the opening of a research project meant to ascertain the level of traffic congestion in Karachi, said on Monday that universities were required to work for welfare of the people.

The research project, “Toyota Research on Traffic Congestion”, is being jointly carried out by the NED and the Indus Motor Company.

Prominent among those attended the event included former IGPs Niaz Siddiqui and Asad Jhangir, Indus Motors CEO Parvez Ghias, NED CEA Dean Faculty Prof Sarosh Lodhi, NED Department of Urban & Infrastructure Chairman Dr Mir Shabbar Ali, representatives of the Sindh government, Karachi administration and high ranking officials of the Traffic Department.

Speaking on the occasion, Kalam said the study to be conducted by a dedicated team and students of NED would be beneficial for industries to ascertain the role of traffic congestion in their overall costing/budgeting and effectiveness of congestion reduction strategies.

He said, “Under current social and economic frameworks, there are no feasible policies that could reduce traffic congestion to zero; however, for appropriate analysis it is required to have profound basis for congestion valuation.”

Indus Motors chief Parvez Ghias said that traffic congestion had a bad impact on environment, besides causing delays for those moving to and from workplaces and schools and causing losses to the state exchequer.

He said, “In developed countries, the quoted annual cost of traffic congestion was $40 billion a year.”

The research on traffic congestion in Karachi is the first of its kind. The Indus Motors (Toyota) has earned an iconic status of corporate philanthropy through its generous contributions and patronage of social development initiatives. The research project is an initiative taken by the company to quantify the economic cost of traffic congestion.

NED Department of Urban & Infrastructure Chairman Shabbar Ali said, “Under the project methodology, the research would be completed in different stages, including identification, data collection, data processing and analysis and congestion estimation and its valuation. The data processing, analysis and other steps would involve various techniques like extraction of traffic volume from video clips, traffic congestion index, scenario-based congestion cost estimation and all relevant international standard research parameters.”

Project Coordinator, former IGP Niaz Siddiqui, said, “We are embarking upon a new research project which aims at determining the economic costs of traffic congestion through the specific stretch of national highway. The study will help identify the bottlenecks that obstruct the smooth flow of traffic, besides assessing its impact in economic terms. The findings of the research project will be shared with all stakeholders. Ex-IGP Asad Jahangir also spoke on the occasion.

The National Highway Authority (NHA), Sindh Traffic Police, City District Government Karachi, Port Qasim Authority, Pakistan Steel Mills, Landhi Association of Trade and Industry, Bin Qasim Association of Trade and Industry and all other stakeholders would be invited to participate in the project.