Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Review of Traffic Congestion in Dar Es Salaam City from the Physical Planning Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Review of Traffic Congestion in Dar Es Salaam City from the Physical Planning Perspective

Article excerpt


Traffic congestion is one of the major problems facing Dar es Salaam City and is attributed by a number of factors including rapid population increase, inadequate and poor road infrastructure, city structure, rapid increase in number of cars and lack of physical plan to control city development. The city is already implementing a number of strategies in order to minimize traffic congestion. However, many of the strategies are focusing on improving the capacity of roads in terms of increasing number of lanes, proposing new overpasses and underpasses at the main road intersections and improving public transport. These strategies cannot fully overcome the congestion problems in Dar es Salaam on their own unless efforts are made to redistribute services and community infrastructure. The latter can be achieved through physical planning, which has the potential of influencing trip generation and travel patterns and traffic volume in specific roads. Therefore to minimize traffic congestion in the Dar es Salaam both strategies for improving road capacity, public transport and physical planning solutions ought to be applied together.

Keywords: traffic congestion, increase in cars, traffic management, road infrastructure, public transport and physical planning

1. Introduction

Traffic congestion is one of the key problems in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania especially during the peak hours of the mornings and evenings. It is a relatively a new phenomenon and as recent as in the middle of the 1990s congestion was not a problem at all except for a few roads in the City center. Traffic congestion is becoming worse on the yearly basis due to the increase Dar es Salaam population, number of cars, rapid physical development Central Business District and increase in social and economic activities in the City. The Government and City authorities are attempting to solve the problem by increasing the capacity of roads and improving public transport. It appears that this approach has not fully delivered the desired results of minimizing congestion. One of the contributing factors for poor performance is none implementation of strategies for controlling traffic congestion proposed in physical plans. As an example the 1979 Dar es Salaam master plan had good strategies for reducing future traffic congestion and if they were implemented traffic congestion in the City could not be as bad as it is by now. This paper attempts to show the importance of seriously taking into account physical planning as one of the key tools in reducing traffic congestion in urban areas in addition to popular strategies of increasing road capacity and improving public transport.

2. Traffic Congestion

According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], report (2007) on managing urban traffic congestion there is no single broadly agreed definition of traffic congestion due to the fact that it is both a physical and a relative phenomenon. As a physical phenomenon traffic congestion can be defined as situation where demand for road space exceeds supply and is reflected by slower speed, longer trip times and increased motor vehicular queuing (Institute of Transport Engineers, 1989). As a relative phenomenon it can be defined as a difference between road performance and road user's expectations. Traffic congestion is a problem in many cities of the World, both in developed and developing countries and it is predicted that it will get worse in the future (Jain et al., 2012; Cambridge Systematics Inc. & Texas Transport Institute, 2004). According to Institute of Engineers (1989) traffic congestion can be viewed from two main opposing perspectives. The first perspective is that it can be considered is an indicator of economic growth and as long as we live in urban areas it is here to stay with us. The second perspective is that congestion as an indicator of deterioration of urban life.

Urban traffic congestion can be contributed by a number of factors including rapid increase in urban population, economic growth, increase in employment opportunities, increase in number of cars and number of people using cars, low capacity of transport infrastructure, road layout, under investment in road infrastructure, poor traffic management, shortage of street parking, signal and equipment failure, non adherence to traffic regulations, poor urban planning or poor urban development control, rapid expansion of city boundaries, poor public transport, increased use of private cars, car accidents, special events gatherings, road works, and bad weather (Institute of Transport Engineers, 1989; Remi et al. …

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