Suggested Solutions for Traffic Congestion in Greater Cairo
- Abdul-Wahab El-Kadi
Traffic congestion in Egypt has many causes: fuel subsidies result in cheap petrol and diesel, which in turn result in more private cars on the streets, meanwhile the lack of parking areas results in cars having to turn back or park incorrectly on the streets prompting further traffic jams. Although the number of metro commuters is high, the metro only reaches a limited number of places in the city. Also, public transport buses are few in number and outdated, thus prompting people to use other buses and taxis to get by. However the latter generally need to be cleaner, safer and be able to better load and unload passengers. There are also few areas for pedestrians to cross the streets and street peddlers often occupy these areas and the sidewalks, making things worse. Moreover, there are many problems related to the construction of roads where there are few street lights, stop signs and crossroads; people also find awful corners and U-turns that are either very sharp turns or are very narrow thus not allowing drivers to make smooth U-turns. Drivers also behave badly and irresponsibly added to the poor implementation of traffic laws, which causes the public to undermine traffic regulations. Economic costs incurred due to traffic congestion in Cairo may reach almost a 4% loss from the Egypt’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). Not only are these economic costs limited to an increase in the amount of time taken to get from one place to another, but also include a rise in costs due to excessive fuel consumption as well as having negative effects on people’s health due to air pollution, accidents and economic production effects.
Combined, the economic cost resulting from traffic congestion reaches about 4% of Egypt’s GDP; in other words, Egypt suffers a loss of nearly EGP 50 billion every year due to traffic congestion.
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