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Freeway traffic congestion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Attitudes and policy implications

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Abstract

The last few years have shown an unprecedented increase in traffic congestion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, especially on radial freeways. Unorganized distribution of land uses, inefficient traffic management, and low-cost automobile use have been major contributors to the problem. This article shows a strong awareness amongst drivers of the negative consequences of the congestion problem. Interviewees have strongly supported several land use, traffic management and transportation provision measures to alleviate freeway congestion but have strongly opposed increasing automobile travel costs. The study suggests an integrated approach to reduce the congestion problem through integrated policies for land use, economics and transportation.

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... Urban growth management strategies (urban growth boundaries -UGB) have been adopted by ArRiyadh Development Authority to reduce spatial growth and foster sustainable urban development (ArRiyadh Development Authority (ADA), 2003, ArRiyadh Development Authority (ADA), 2009, UN-HABITAT, 2017). This is in congruence with the Saudi national spatial strategy of promoting a decentralized and spatially balanced urban system (Aldalbahi & Walker, 2015;Alkhedheiri, 2002). However, there are indications that the strategies have not been totally successful (Aldalbahi & Walker, 2015;Al-Hathloul & Mughal, 2004;Mubarak, 2004). ...
... This is in congruence with the Saudi national spatial strategy of promoting a decentralized and spatially balanced urban system (Aldalbahi & Walker, 2015;Alkhedheiri, 2002). However, there are indications that the strategies have not been totally successful (Aldalbahi & Walker, 2015;Al-Hathloul & Mughal, 2004;Mubarak, 2004). Urban land has extended beyond the urban growth boundaries and natural habitats and vegetation are being changed and encroached upon. ...
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This paper examines the application of remote sensing, based on the Vegetation-Impervious surface-Soil (V-I-S) model and spatial metrics, in an urban analysis for promoting sustainability and understanding urban growth theory. In order to improve the accuracy of land-cover classification, spectral angle mapping (SAM), spectral mixture analysis (SMA) and band ratioing were applied on satellite images for land-cover classification and comparison of the discrimination efficiency of these techniques. For the SMA, subsets of the Landsat (2, 3, 4, 5, and 7) and ASTER (1, 2, and 3N) images were selected. After endmember extraction and purification, the Bayesian probability of each component was computed and used for spectral unmixing. The classified images of different years were compared to analyze the changes in land-use and spatial pattern using V-I-S, a form of percentage of landscape (PLAND) and annualized urban sprawl index (AUSI). The result indicates that the performance of band ratioing (69% accuracy) is not as good as that of SAM (75%) and SMA (86%) in discriminating between vegetation and agricultural land. It is concluded from the land-use analysis that the growth dynamics substantiate the urban theory of diffusion and coalescence and urban growth management strategies have not been completely successful.
... Even if a certain event never happens, the respondent would be also asked to image the feeling. The statistical results indicate that most respondents (76.2 %) feel moderately bad or extremely bad when they are delayed about 30 min because of traffic congestion, which is consistent with the previous study results of Al-Mosaind [19]. However, in Shanghai, 14.3 % of respondents indicate that they meet this kind of situation more than once a week in a typical month. ...
... Based on literature review and previous empirical studies [2,6,9,15,19,[21][22][23], the explanatory variables obtained from the survey fall into five main categories, each described as below. ...
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The article intends to find a method to quantify traffic congestion’s impacts on travelers to help transportation planners and policy decision makers well understand congestion situations. Three new congestion indicators, including transportation environment satisfaction (TES), travel time satisfaction (TTS), and traffic congestion frequency and feeling (TCFF), are defined to estimate urban traffic congestion based on travelers’ feelings. Data of travelers’ attitude about congestion and trip information were collected from a survey in Shanghai, China. Based on the survey data, we estimated the value of the three indicators. Then, the principal components analysis was used to derive a small number of linear combinations of a set of variables to estimate the whole congestion status. A linear regression model was used to find out the significant variables which impact respondents’ feelings. Two ordered logit models were used to select significant variables of TES and TTS. Attitudinal factor variables were also used in these models. The results show that attitudinal factor variables and cluster category variables are as important as sociodemographic variables in the models. Using the three congestion indicators, the government can collect travelers’ feeling about traffic congestion and estimate the transportation policy that might be applied to cope with traffic congestion.
... It has been deemed prudent to analyse data collected in this city as it is located close to the town of Tabuk, whose residents shall be evaluated in the questionnaire section of this paper and as a result of their close proximity, both geographically and culturally, it is thought that their travel patterns should match closely. In the two papers under examination (Alhussein, 2011 andAl-Mosaind, 1998) there is an evaluation of different mode choices used by individuals in their journeys. However, as Alhussein's paper focuses on the modes used in arriving at the city's airport, there will be an inherent lack of authenticity for the study's results when examining daily travel patterns. ...
... Congestion on freeways and the resulting social and economic costs are significant problems that trouble everyday life in almost every modern society [1]. Congestion is known to reduce the nominal capacity of the freeway infrastructure with serious impacts on travel times, traffic safety, fuel consumption, and environmental pollution [2]. ...
Article
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Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, suffers from traffic congestion like other modern societies, during peak hours but also all day long, even without any incidents. To solve this horrible traffic congestion problem, various efforts have been made from the Active Traffic Management (ATM) aspect. Ramp metering (RM) is one of the representative methods of the ATM and has already proven its value in many locations worldwide. Unfortunately, RM has not yet been fully implemented in Saudi Arabia. This research aimed to assess the applicability of RM to a freeway in Riyadh using microsimulation. The widely known software VISSIM (PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG, Germany, 1992) was chosen to compare the performances of various RM operating scenarios, such as fixedtime operation with different sub-scenarios and traffic-responsive operation using ALINEA (Asservissement Lineaire d’entree Autoroutiere) algorithm. For the simulations, this study targeted Makkah Road, one of the major freeways in Riyadh, and collected geometrical data and traffic data from that freeway. Analysis of four main scenarios and eight sub-scenarios, proved that overall performance of the fixed-time RM operation is generally good. The sub-scenario 4V3R of the fixed-time RM operation was the best in average queue length reduction. However, the traffic-responsive operation was best in average speed improvement.
... Traffic congestions, attributed largely to congested corridors, wrong parking, poorly functioning traffic signals, as well as traffic safety and behavioral problems, are more severe in city centers and at peak morning and afternoon hours. In Riyadh and in many other major cities, due to absence of a robust public transport option, the existing road networks cannot successfully absorb the very significant increases in demand solely by building new roads and the expanding capacity of the existing ones (Aldalbahi and Walker, 2015). In terms of road accidents and fatalities, the country has the highest rate in the Middle East region and has among the world's most dangerous roads. ...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the challenges of rapid urbanization in Saudi Arabia and the implications of its burgeoning urban population on urban sustainability. The first section of the chapter reviews the trend of urbanization in the Third World, and Saudi Arabia in particular, and the factors responsible for rapid urban growth. The second section critically analyzes major urbanization challenges in Saudi Arabia and their impacts on the people and the environment. The final section assesses the extent to which some sustainability initiatives being implemented by the government are meeting the competing and sometimes conflicting urbanization challenges. The chapter concludes with some policy implications.
... In the literature, most case studies of urban modelling are for cities in Europe, the US or East Asia. However, cities in the Arabian Gulf countries experience rapid urban growth too, and issues related to traffic congestion (Rizzo, 2014;Aldalbahi and Walker, 2015), housing shortages (Alshalfan, 2013) and segregation by nationality between Arab citizens and foreign workers (Khalaf, 2006;Gardner et al., 2014) are becoming more dirsuptive. Traditionally urban planning is guided by conceptual approaches in Arabian Gulf countries, and lack data analysis and modelling to predict outcomes (Abu-Ayyash, 1980;Rizzo, 2014;Alghais and Pullar, 2017a). ...
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The creation of new cities is a planning approach adopted in several regions around the world, in order to accommodate urban growth. New cities are typically constructed according to well-thought out, centralised plans in areas without any prior development. However, whether the development of these new cities is able to address existing urban issues more effectively than traditional methods such as intensification, is currently an unanswered research question. Several Arabian Gulf countries, such as Kuwait are considering the construction of new cities to address urban issues, specifically the traffic congestion and housing shortages. In Kuwait, the master plan for these construction projects was developed solely by state authorities without any public participation or urban modelling that may have provided a more well-rounded view of the potential impacts and effectiveness.This paper aims to address these research opportunities of investigating the effectiveness of new cities in addressing traffic congestion and housing shortage, as well as the potential to integrate public opinions in urban development in the form of a model. Towards that end, the study proposes an Agent Based Model (ABM) that will allow simulating the population distribution and urban growth impacts of new cities in Kuwait by 2050. The methodology involves collecting primary data via interviewing the key government stakeholders of urban development and surveying the residents in order to collect the model inputs. In Kuwait's society, citizens and non-citizens form two distinct resident groups with often very diverse needs and lifestyles; hence the survey responses will differentiate between them. The data from the interviews and surveys from both resident groups will be incorporated as agent behaviours in the ABM. The simulations examine a multitude of scenarios for the new cities, involving construction delays and infrastructure project delays. The results indicate that the impacts of constructing new cities will be favourable across all different scenarios in terms of alleviating the traffic congestion and housing shortage compared to a business as usual approach of existing urban centre expansion. Furthermore, the survey responses confirm that the resident perspectives closely align with the government's priorities in the master plan for the new cities, further improving the chances for the successful project implementation. The methodology and findings may be applied in cities in the Gulf area or elsewhere with similar urban issues. Keyword: Geography
... With extremely limited public transportation and very low gas prices (23), motor vehicles became the primary mode of transportation (24) and the number of cars owned and on Saudi roads has increased exponentially over the past four decades (14,19). This increase in the number of registered vehicles has led to unprecedented traffic congestion within the major cities (25). ...
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Injury was the largest single cause of disability-adjusted life years and death in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2013. The vast majority of injury-related fatalities are deaths caused by road traffic. Measures to control this serious public health issue, which has significant consequences for both Saudi families and the Saudi economy as a whole, have been underway for years but with little success. Most attempts at intervening revolve around attempts for enforcing stricter traffic laws and by installing automated traffic monitoring systems that will catch law breakers on camera and issue tickets and fines. While there has been much research on various factors that play a role in the high rate of road traffic injury in The Kingdom (e.g., driver behavior, animal collisions, disobeying traffic and pedestrian signals, environmental elements), virtually no attention has been given to examining why Saudi drivers behave the way that they do. This review provides a thorough account of the present situation in Saudi Arabia and discusses how health behavior theory can be used to gain a better understanding of driver behavior.
... Traffic congestions, attributed largely to congested corridors, wrong parking, poorly functioning traffic signals, as well as traffic safety and behavioral problems, are more severe in city centers and at peak morning and afternoon hours. In Riyadh and in many other major cities, due to absence of a robust public transport option, the existing road networks cannot successfully absorb the very significant increases in demand solely by building new roads and the expanding capacity of the existing ones (Aldalbahi and Walker, 2015). In terms of road accidents and fatalities, the country has the highest rate in the Middle East region and has among the world's most dangerous roads. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter highlights the challenges of rapid urbanization in Saudi Arabia and the implications of its burgeoning urban population on urban sustainability. The first section of the chapter reviews the trend of urbanization in the Third World, and Saudi Arabia in particular, and the factors responsible for rapid urban growth. The second section critically analyzes major urbanization challenges in Saudi Arabia and their impacts on people and the environment. The final section assesses the extent to which some sustainability initiatives being implemented by the government are meeting the competing and sometimes conflicting urbanization challenges. The chapter concludes with some policy implications.
... Much of the research found in geographical, economic, and specialist transportation journals has endeavoured to uncover general patterns of behaviour (e.g., Al-Mosaind, 1998;Conquest, Spyridakis, Haselkorn, & Barfield, 1993;Lawson & Morris, 1999;Mierzejewski & Ball, 1990). While these studies provide valuable descriptive evidence on commuting behaviour, they usually fail to identify the psychosocial factors underlying choice. ...
... All these may significantly affect the time spent on the road and consequently the congestion cost. Al-Mosaind (1998) also listed unorganised distribution of land uses and inefficient traffic management as other important factors attributed to congestion. Congestion has been causing many critical problems and challenges in most cities of both developing and developed countries (Sheu et al., 2003;Otsubo and Rapoport, 2008) and particularly, in Lagos, Nigeria, where there seems to be an unprecedented increase in traffic congestion in the last few years. ...
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This paper considers the financial implications of the traffic congestion problem in the distribution of petroleum products in a Nigerian metropolis. Data relating to truck movements, their servicing costs and other parameters that are connected with traffic congestion are collected and analysed using SPSS. The regression models that describe the differences in expenditure and variation in incomes from the use of the trucks are established. In terms of monetary losses, about $99.7 per truck per year were lost owing to traffic congestion as part of the fleet maintenance cost, which was not budgeted for and about $1,559.1 in deficit of the budgeted income per truck per year (deficit in income). Thus, the transportation haulage industry loses substantial money due to traffic congestion on an annual basis. Information in this work could be utilised for performance improvement purpose when performance targets/reward schemes are set and monitored for cost saving activities due to traffic congestion.
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Thesis
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Computer-produced typeface. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Portland State University, 1993. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [145]-156).
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of London, 1990.
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In this paper, a simulation model of commuting behavior in a metropolitan area with decentralized employment and congestion is developed. The model is used to explore the linkage between the dispersed land use patterns in U.S. cities and long commuting journeys which cause congestion and air pollution. The results show that increasing the number of suburban subcenters in a metropolitan area could reduce commuting by 15% to 50%. However, only about one quarter of total urban travel is for commuting. Therefore the reduction in total urban travel that could be expected to result from even drastic policy measures to decentralize employment would probably be low-perhaps as small as 5%. Data are also presented giving private versus social costs of commuting per mile in central cities and suburbs. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.
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