Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion is a condition in transport that is explained by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular ques. Traffic congestion on urban road networks has increased substantially, since the 1950s. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction between vehicles slows the speed of the traffic stream, this results in some congestion. While congestion is a possibility for any mode of transportation, this article will focus on automobile congestion on public roads.

As demand approaches the capacity of a road (or of the intersections along the road), extreme traffic congestion sets in. When vehicles are fully stopped for periods of time, this is known as a traffic jamor (informally) a traffic snarl-up. Traffic congestion can lead to drivers becoming frustrated and engaging in road rage.


Traffic congestion occurs when a volume of traffic or model split generates demand for space greater than the available street capacity; this point is commonly termed saturation. There are a number of specific circumstances that cause or aggravate congestion; most of them reduce the capacity of a road at a given point or over a certain length or increase the number of vehicles required for a given volume of people or goods. About half of U.S. traffic congestion is recurring, and is attributed to the sheer weight of traffic; most of the rest is attributed to traffic incidents, road work, and weather events. In terms of traffic operation, rainfall reduces traffic capacity and operating speeds, thereby resulting in greater congestion and road network productivity loss.

Traffic research still cannot fully predict under which conditions a “traffic jam” (as opposed to heavy, but smoothly flowing traffic) may suddenly occur. It has been found that individual incidents (such as accidents or even a single car braking heavily in a previously smooth flow) may cause ripple effects which then spread out and create a sustained traffic jam when, otherwise, the normal flow might have continued for some time longer.

Separation of work and residential areas

People often work and live in different parts of the city. Places of work are often located away from housing areas, resulting in the need for people to commute to work. According to a 2011 report published by the census bureau, a total of 132.3 million people in the United States commute between their work and residential areas daily.

Movement to obtain or provide goods and services

People may need to move about within the city to obtain goods and services, for instance, to purchase goods or attend classes in a different part of the city. Brussels, a city with a strong service economy, has one of the worst traffic congestion in the world, wasting 74 hours in traffic in 2014.

Economic theories

Congested roads can be seen as an example of the tragedy of commons. Because roads in most places are free at the point of usage, there is a little financial incentive for drivers not to over-use them, up to the point where traffic collapses into a jam, when demand becomes limited by opportunity cost. Privatization of highways and road pricing have both been proposed as measures that may reduce congestion through economic incentives and disincentives. Congestion can also happen due to non-recurring highway incidents, such as a crash or road works which may reduce the road’s capacity below normal.

Economist Downs argues that rush hour traffic congestion is inevitable because of the benefits of having a relatively standard workday. In a capitalist economy, goods can be allocated either by pricing (ability to pay) or by queuing   (first-come-first-served) congestion is an example of the latter. Instead of the traditional solution of making the “pipe” large enough to accommodate the total demand for peak-hour vehicle travel (a supply-side solution), either by widening roadways or increasing “flow pressure” via automated highway system Downs advocates greater use of road pricing to reduce congestion (a demand-side solution, effectively rationing demand), in turn plowing the revenues generated therefrom into public transportation projects.

A 2011 study indicates that there may be a “fundamental law of road congestion.” The researchers, from the pronto and the London, analyzed data from the U.S. Highway Performance and Monitoring System for 1983, 1993, and 2003, as well as information on population, employment, geography, transit, and political factors. They determined that the number of vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT) increases in direct proportion to the available lane-kilometers of roadways. The implication is that building new roads and widening existing ones only results in additional traffic that continues to rise until peak congestion returns to the previous level.

Road Traffic Injuries and Deaths—A Global Problem

Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 1–54 and the leading cause of non-natural death for healthy U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad.

Throughout the world, roads are shared by cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, pedestrians, animals, taxis, and other travelers. Travel made possible by motor vehicles supports economic and social development in many countries. Yet each year, vehicles are involved in crashes that are responsible for millions of deaths and injuries.

Whether you’re on the road at home or abroad, know the risks and take steps to protect your health and safety.

Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world.

Every day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in road traffic crashes involving cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians. More than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.

Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally for all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young people 5–29 years of age. More people now die in road traffic crashes than from HIV/AIDS.

Low countries more affected

Low- and middle-income countries only account for 60 percent of the world’s registered vehicles but more than 90 percent of the world’s road traffic deaths.

The road traffic crash death rate is over three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries.

There were no reductions in the number of road traffic deaths in any low-income country from 2013 to 2016.

Road traffic injuries place a huge economic burden on low- and middle-income countries. Each year, according to the latest available cost estimate (1998), road traffic injuries cost $518 billion USD worldwide and $65 billion USD in low- and middle-income countries, which exceeds the total amount that these countries receive in development assistance.

Traffic issues in Pakistan

Traffic jam is a menace that we all face in our daily life. That never-ending patience, hoping that the roads might clear before we run late for whatever task we are running or places we are going to. It makes us feel helpless and at the same time wasteful of both time and related resources like fuel, energy, efforts, & morning motivation to work with enthusiasm. We feel lethargic waiting for hours and hours to reach on the proper time to our respective places. People reach late to their offices even after driving fast, especially the students are the most who suffer a lot.

Pakistan’s most populated & famous cities like Karachi (also known as the City of Lights), Lahore, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Gujranwala, etc. are faced with an alarming situation of Traffic congestion. It is a preoccupied era where everyone is found struggling hard for their own benefits and want quickly as much as possible to arrive at their places on time without delay.

The ever-increasing rush of heavy traffic on the roads often results in the loss of human life. The traffic in Karachi is now almost uncontrollable. Drivers drive recklessly. The traffic police mostly disappear, the roads are left abandoned where the police are of utmost need or do not bother to monitor the ruthless drivers as they put the lives of the passengers at risk. This is due to a lack of civic sense in people which results in a violation of traffic rules and laws. Sometimes traffic signals in particular areas of the cities are also not in workable condition, they should be maintained properly to regulate the city traffic.

There is an ignorance of the traffic signs like Zebra Crossing, One-way, Stop, Parking, etc. The number of road accidents is also growing apart from pedestrians facing a lot of inconveniences while crossing a road. Dishonesty of traffic police& avoidance of taxes by the general public is also the reason for this poor system of traffic in Pakistan.

The roads are too compact to facilitate the movement of cars, taxis, rickshaws, and other vehicles. The endless construction work in cities is another reason for massive traffic jams on roads, for example, work-in-progress of buildings and offices can be seen in every area of Karachi as it is an urban city and businesses are encouraged to set up due to the growing needs of the population.

Moreover, poor condition of roads also contributes towards traffic accidents and traffic jam, Drivers are in a hurry to reach their respective places and this is dangerous as road accidents can happen.

Ambulances are not given space to go through the way, and it is risky for serious patients inside the ambulance, drivers have to reach the hospital as quickly as possible to save patients’ life. People arrive late to their homes in the evening after waiting for prolonged hours in the queue of cars even they are tired after a full day of working in their offices.

There is a need to have a serious consideration over these factors for improvement. We can gain the advantage of this competitive high-Tech environment by implementing an automatic IT system to control traffic, proper training of traffic police should be conducted according to the current laws, regular monitoring and maintenance of the traffic should be there on roads daily, a proper traffic regulatory department in the cities should be developed to have a check & balance on the daily issues of road traffic.

New roads, overpasses, underpasses can be built and widened to reduce traffic congestion on one particular road. We can often get rid of Traffic lights by using roundabouts, it is a much safer way to control traffic and reduce vehicles’ congestion also by lowering the speed of cars and a better angle.

Unnecessary usage of cars should be reduced, for example, going to nearby shops and using cars for that, instead a person can walk along to reach to that nearby shop. More shopping malls can be built so that all roads selling can be moved to those buildings as the stalls at the side of the roads are the major cause of increasing customers and blocking ongoing traffic. Most of the cars are often parked on the side of the roads wrongly which stops the way of going traffic, so proper parking lots in different areas of the cities should be developed to prevent unnecessary parking as well.

All these efforts will hopefully bring about a positive change in the traffic situation of the city. Keeping in mind the potential hindrance of the traffic problems, an optimistic approach should be adopted for the implementation of these steps to prevent traffic issues in the country and hopefully, everyone will be able to travel with comfort and ease.

Government Improving Traffic Conditions in Pakistan

Growing public order issues

Located in South Asia and surrounded by the Arabian Sea, India, and China, Pakistan possesses an ancient and distinctive culture. In Southeast Pakistan, Punjab is the most populous state in the country with the largest and fastest-growing economy. Lahore, the capital city of the state, is the second-largest city in Pakistan with a population of 11.1 million and a total area of 1772 km. Known as the “Heart of Pakistan” because of its 2000 year history, Lahore is also the cultural and artistic center of the country. Recently, urbanization — accelerated by rapid economic growth — has led to massive migration to the city, which has resulted in major public order issues and traffic congestion.

A clash for space

Rapid economic development, accelerated urbanization, high levels of migration: maintaining Lahore’s social security was becoming increasingly hard. Traffic was chaotic and congested: alongside cars, tricycles, and motorcycles clogging roads, traditional ox- and horse-drawn carriages remained a common means of transport. In these unique traffic conditions, there were significant hurdles to constructing an Intelligent Traffic Management solution (ITMS).

The existing traffic light system was outdated and ineffective. There were no clear boundaries between vehicles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. With vehicles not driving in lanes, taking snapshots was hard. In addition, the size of license plates was unregulated, with font sizes small, sometimes just one third the size of characters used on Chinese license plates. And the proportion of motorcycles was also high, constituting 64.8% of all traffic, with license plate recognition for motorcycles especially difficult.

A world-first

To tackle Lahore’s burgeoning traffic problem, Pakistan helped the city develop a new ITMS consisting of more than 900 sets of e-Police facilities, 200 traffic checkpoints, and more than 100 traffic signal sites, with a signal control system and more than 70 traffic guidance screens.


Safer and faster roads

Before, Lahore had up to 15 million vehicles, including motorcycles, passing through its checkpoints every day.

Steps for Road Safety at Home and Abroad

Motor vehicle crashes are a public health concern both abroad and in the United States. These injuries and deaths are preventable. Whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, take the following steps to stay safe on the road2:

Always use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. Be sure to buckle up whether you are in the front seat or the back seat of the vehicle.

Make sure children are always properly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age, height, and weight, and ensure they are buckled in the back seat of the vehicle.

Always wear a helmet when driving or riding on motorcycles, motorbikes, or bicycles.

Do not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and avoid riding with a driver who is impaired.

Obey speed limits.

Drive without distractions. For example, don’t use a phone to text, email, or access social media while driving.

Be alert when crossing streets, especially in countries where motorists drive on the left side of the road.

Ride only in marked taxis, and try to ride in taxis that have seat belts.

Avoid riding in overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or minivans.

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