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Volume :2 Issue : 6 1976      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

AN ECONOMIC SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM OF TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN KUWAIT

Auther : By: Dr. Zeinhom Kabis

 

   Because the private automobile is both inexpensive and convenient, most residents of Kuwait have chosen it as their means of transportation.  However, the expanded use of auto transportation has given rise to increasingly acute problems of traffic congestion and has contributed substantially to air and noise pollution.

  This situation has been brought about by the market situation in Kuwait, which strongly favors private versus public means of transportation.  In addition, unlike in most other countries, drivers in Kuwait do not pay license fees, road tolls or gasoline taxes that ordinarily pay for the maintenance of the roads and their public facilities.  These facilities are financed by the oil revenues of the Kuwaiti State.

  There is an immediate need to achieve a more efficient flow of traffic within the existing network of transportation facilities and pattern of loud use.  The author suggests that this could be accomplished by the introduction of two policies.  The first of these would be the imposition of user charges on motorists.  This would reduce the problem of traffic congestion regardless of the economic response of the operator to the charge.  The second would be the subsidization of public transit modes and the improvement of their services.  If the operator responds by abandoning his car to ride the bus, this greatly reduces the traffic on the already crowded urban streets.  If the operator chooses to pay the charge, the revenue received by the State would be used to improve the road system and provide more parking space.  Thus, both responses by operators would contribute to the solution of the problem.

  There is also a long run need to devise a new pattern of transportation, which is superior to the current one.  For a variety of reasons, there should be an interest in the development of public transit systems – commuter railroads, subways, buses and so forth.  First, given the projections of population growth, and the consequent possibility that the volume of automobile traffic may double in the next fifteen or twenty years, effective alternatives to auto transportation are imperative.  Secondly, the use of oil revenues to finance road construction has created a substantial bias in favor of the automobile and there is now a need to achieve a more efficient allocation of resources between individual and mass transit. 

  Finally, a mass transit system can give substantial social benefits in terms of:

1. greater accessibility to jobs outside the city of Kuwait for the urban poor.

2. the avoidance of an increasingly acute pollution which an expansion of auto transportation is likely to create and

3. a more viable and vitalized city.

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