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Volume :3 Issue : 10 1977      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

ABOUT PLANNING FOR THE PROBLEM OF TRAFFIC IN URBANIZED KUWAIT SOCIETY

Auther : Dr. Ishaq Yacoub Qutub

         The problem of traffic constitutes one of the main concerns for officials and planners in Kuwait.  It has been complicated and intensified during the past two decades due to several reasons: increase of population, economic prosperity, cultural values, need for private transportation, climatic conditions as well as rapid urbanization. While the city area expanded nearly six times, commercial, economic, cultural, recreational activities and Governmental Offices and Ministries remained in the central locality of the city of Kuwait.  Population has increased nearly four times due to the open door policy of inviting foreign manpower from Arab and other countries to participate in the diversified and growing economic growth.  Flow of capital from oil revenues affected the traditional style of life and propagated western imported implements and values to flourish in the country.  Cars became a symbol of social prestige as well as necessity.

          The paper treats the traffic problem from the following viewpoints:

a)     the increasing rates of accidents,

b)    congestion of traffic and bottle necks in the present road system,

c)     lack of accessibility to target-destination of people,

d)    inadequacy of behavior of motorists and

e)     the increasing pollution problem.

         As for the size of the traffic problem in Kuwait, statistics indicate that in 1975 accidents ration was 14 accident per 1000 population, and it is increased to 30 accident per 1000 population in the age bracket 20 years and over.  Total licenses issued in same year was 27,336 giving a ratio of 1 accident for each two issued licenses.

          The number of vehicles in 1960 was 33, 201 and in 1975 became 283,861 registering one of the highest vehicle-population ratio in the world.  As for traffic violations statistics reveal that in (1968) there were 32,269 violations of various types, while in 1974 total violations registered was 90,956 out of which 38 percent were for parking in the wrong places, 22 percent for speeding, driving without license, passing the red light, drunkenness and driving against the one-way streets.

          The paper discussed the factors contributing to the complexity of traffic problem in some detail.  Among these problems, the fact that majority of employees, workers and to a lesser extent high school and university students use private cars to go their destinations.  Very few utilize public transportation.  Low paid daily workers, due to inadequacy of the planning of public transportation network (consisting mainly of buses and taxis).  In a study by Buchanon and Co. in 1970, it was found that during the rush hours downtown area attracts vehicles in 45 minutes more than vehicles passing through out the day two decades back.

          The road construction does not allow safe trespassing for pedestrians and parking is becoming number one dilemma for city planners and drivers alike.

          The man behind the vehicle remains to be the major source of many traffic problems.  In a newly urbanized society traditional and tribal values contradict modern driving manners and morality.  A traditional camel driver and a horseback rider, when sitting behind an 8 Cylinder G.M. steering wheel usually pays little attention to modern driving rules and adheres less to safety driving manners and regulations.  Speeding in heavily populated residential areas, loosing temper while waiting for light signals, showing off, cursing others, and reckless driving are but few examples of daily scenes.

          Other factors discussed in the paper include:

a)     lack of adequate maintenance of vehicles and roads especially in the congested commercial and industrial areas,

b)    inadequate traffic laws and regulation,

c)     lack of traffic morals.

          In looking towards the future, the paper discussed possible alternatives for developing a strategy taking into consideration socio-economic, political and cultural aspects as well as the population projection.  In this context the paper focused, in some depth on the following issues:

a)     Development of a theory based on prediction of traffic movement inthe future,

b)    Optimum utilization of land area (ecological planning).

c)     Traffic planning in modernizing and rapidly urbanized society.

d)    Research and information necessary for sound traffic planning in view of the total development process.

          In conclusion, this study is considered a step towards further research in the field which is considered a vital feature of the urbanization process of Kuwait.

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