LAHORE - The city is going through a period of transition as development projects continue in many areas. The traffic flow on roads is not smooth and other way it moves in every which way it can. What should be done as short term measure and what steps need to be taken on long terms to avoid traffic mess that the city has got itself into?

According to rough estimates around three million vehicles ply on the city roads. What is happening is nightmarish. Motorists and motorbike riders can often be seen driving one way on almost every other road. Signal jumping is a common practice. As development projects continue the city is engulfed in dust flying around on most of roads. This adds to motorcyclists woes and they break almost every traffic rule. The number of traffic wardens to deal with the situation is too small and the wardens mostly wearing safety masks to deal with dust seem to be wary and don’t care much about what is happening.

Former Chief Traffic Engineer of the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) Khushal Khan told The Nation yesterday that in Melbourne (Australia) there was only one signal free link road and 4,500 traffic signals. “Usage of traffic signal system is complete science and it’s all about time management. How any expert or educated person will buy this idea that signal free roads are necessary for the smooth flow of traffic?” he questioned.

“To facilitate motorists the government is working on road widening. The idea which for decades has been abandoned in developed countries. Road widening is only to delay the crisis but is not a permanent solution to the crisis. On the other hand government shows no interest in enforcing the traffic laws.

“Just revert back to the implementation of traffic signals otherwise the city traffic would lead to point of choking for good. The government comprehended the situation completely wrong as the number of vehicles usage increased in the city and to counter the traffic jam like situation the government comes up with idea of increased the U-turns and signal free link roads.

“The U-turns are 1930s methods which were long abandoned in the developed countries. Advanced traffic signals that are controlled from monitoring control room with advanced IT equipment can manage to control the traffic flow in the whole city. There is software available for the purpose,” Khushal said.

He gave example of Main Boulevard Gulberg where signal free project has been made. “According to estimates previously 120,000 vehicles used to ply on Main Boulevard but now the number of vehicles reduced to less than 100,000 as the traffic has been diverted to parallel and smaller arteries. In addition to that previously the average speed of vehicles on this road wsa 70 to 80 kilometre per hour, which has now been reduced to 20 to 30 km per hour speeding traffic.

“No space has been left for the use of pedestrians on main roads as priority is given to car users,” he was of the view.

Khushaal said that until or unless the city should adopt advanced traffic signal system and a comprehensive traffic control system the signal free link roads and by U-turns the problem would not be controlled.