The Real Reason behind Kuwait’s #Traffic Problem

“You cannot stop progress”.

With those simple words we are able to look at Kuwait’s ever growing traffic problem with renewed vision, gaining a better understanding of the elements responsible for making the early morning work commute comparable to running a marathon through a sea of konafa; inexplicably difficult and definitely time consuming.

Kuwait is having a serious traffic problem every morning, afternoon, and evening when students, parents and employees are all in their cars heading to their converging destinations. However, the cause of this deadlock is not the oversupply of drivers licences or the presence of motor vehicles on the streets. That is a sign of progress. Kuwait is expanding, metamorphosing into the next stage of industrial utopia, attracting more foreign investment which entails higher populations of both locals and expats. The car companies have to sell, the salesmen must meet their monthly targets. Blaming the traffic solely on expats and licences distracts from the true cause of the traffic.

There are several factors, such as the following:

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Traffic cops are deployed at certain times to high traffic areas such as major roundabouts, exits and school areas in order to ensure smooth flow of traffic. However, no such assistance is evident, with police-men simply waving cars to pass.

It is extremely imperative to regulate traffic at roundabouts as they end up causing a backlog due to the overabundance of choice from every angle. Three lanes of vehicles spew out from every angle, each wanting to go in a different direction, 3X3X3X3 = 71 possibilities at every roundabout. And with no conductor to handle the flow, chaos ensues, with cars honking and cutting in front of others as others refuse to allow anyone to pass in front of them.

The experiment undertaken at the roundabouts on route 80 proved to be useful; major roundabouts are outfitted with traffic signals to help regulate the flow to an extent. Yes, traffic is still a congested, however it flows smoothly with little interference required.

Surprisingly, both major traffic reasons can be given examples in Hawally, where the sudden emergence of several schools at every major entry/exit point from the area causes a traffic jam that leads to spending 30 minutes to traverse a distance of only 2 or 3KM every day. The first reason as mentioned above is the traffic police-men’s lack of hands on traffic handling. The second reason is as follows:

Traffic lights. The intersection at Beirut & Tunis St. for example followed by the intersection of Beirut & Qotaiba St. (parallel to route 40 motorway).

The sequence with which the traffic lights open and close causes a huge delay in traffic as the majority are heading in One Direction, out of Hawally. Anyone caught on the front line of a traffic light can quickly discern how movement should be.

In the absence of order, chaos ensues. People have proven countless times that without a regulating authority, all forms of misdemeanors will transpire. If the law is not constantly surveying and correcting peoples behavior, rules will be discarded and the melee of early morning deadlock will be further exacerbated until we reach the epic traffic jam levels of China:

China Traffic

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