An apparently sudden reduction in the speed limit on the Doha Expressway has sparked confusion and surprise among some Qatar residents.
Signs on the busy thoroughfare, which initially showed a 100km/hour limit, changed on Thursday night to reflect a new maximum top speed of 80km/hour.
On social media over the weekend, residents reported seeing the new signs on the stretch of the road that runs from the intersection with Salwa Road north past Landmark Mall.
Some questioned the safety implications of rolling out such a significant change on the route without first notifying the public.
Others were unclear if the road’s speed radars have been adjusted to reflect the new limit.
CAUTION: New speed limit on Shamal Expressway is "80".. Watchout #Doha #Qatar cc @dohanews @iloveqatar did you guys hear about this?
— Gazan Khan (@acepilotkhan) January 23, 2015
Now speed limit is being set up for #Doha expressway, 100kmph are now 80kmph. What's happening?
— Shaiju (@shaiju) January 22, 2015
Speed limit for #Doha expressway has been decreased from 100 kmph to 80 kmph #qatar #dohatraffic #fb pic.twitter.com/XOW3PbTTys
— Amr Darwish عمرو (@Amr_Phoenix) January 22, 2015
According to a Traffic Department official who spoke to Arabic daily newspaper Al Raya, the new, reduced limit is part of a trial to see if slower speeds will ease congestion and cut the number of accidents on the road.
Gulf Times translates the unnamed source as saying that during the trial period, traffic flow and the number of accidents on the road would be monitored to see if safety and congestion is improved. If the move proved successful, it could be implemented permanently.
A Qatar-based traffic advisor told Doha News that drivers should follow the new limits and drive accordingly, to avoid getting a speeding ticket.
“If the signs say 80 kph, you should take that as your maximum, and drive accordingly,” he said.
However, he added that not all cameras are calibrated to exactly measure the speed drivers are going, and as a result, there is usually a margin of error of around 10 percent above the recorded speed of a driver before they are issued a ticket.
Since the expressway opened to traffic in 2010 as a means of improving connections between north and south Doha, congestion has steadily grown on the route, and it has regularly become the source of serious accidents.
During peak periods in the mornings and evenings, traffic crawls along the road, often barely getting above 20km/hour.
In frustration, some drivers can be seen flouting traffic laws by using the hard shoulder/emergency lane to bypass long queues.
To improve safety and ease congestion, the Traffic Department has introduced a number of initiatives in recent years.
In 2013, an “eye in the sky” helicopter patrol unit began monitoring congestion during peak hours, advising on-the-ground patrol units about traffic patterns, accidents and potential trouble spots.
And in June last year, unmarked police patrol units began ticketing drivers who flout road rules, particularly when they believed they were out of sight of authorities.
Still, as Qatar’s population continues to grow, and there are more cars on the roads, the number of accidents also rises.
November was one of the most dangerous months last year to be on Qatar’s roads, as official figures recorded a total of 25 deaths from traffic accidents.
Figures for major and minor accidents were also up on previous months.
The statistics come amid an ongoing debate about how to improve safety on the roads, with many residents calling for stricter enforcement of the rules as the only way to bring about a change in driving habits.
I welcome this move. It will not only reduce the accident rate but will keep traffic moving. There is also the added benefit of reduced emissions and fuel saving.
Reducing the speed limit may reduce the accident rate, but how will driving slower ease traffic congestion? The problem is three fold: 1. too many cars 2. not enough road 3. arrogant, discourteous drivers, who court danger by either tailgating or making dangerous moves.
The concept of reducing speed limits to reduce traffic congestion is based on the “Pepsi theory” – the idea that pouring a glass of fizzy pop slowly and smoothly into a glass is better than a quick pour that creates a frothy mess.
There’s also the “red light domino effect” where as soon as the car in front brakes and the rear brake lights come on, cars behind will, in turn, put their brakes on. The faster the speed, the more cars break and the chance of slowing down or even stopping is increased. Leaving a good space between the car in front also helps to reduce this effect.
What’s really needed is a Variable Speed Limit System that raises or lowers the speed limit depending on the amount of traffic. This would mean that at 2pm and 6pm (rush hours) the limit would be 80km/h and at 2am (low traffic) it would be 100km/h.
It might work if/when everyone obey the maximum speed limit all the time. But mostly (somebody has mentioned above as well) I have seen people follow their own maximum speed until they encounter a camera where they reduce to the allowed maximum, and then speedup again.
and no planning! That expressway is already too out-dated with 3 lanes
This was an imposing news in the front page of Gulf Times yesterday, and I believe it would have been published in other newspapers as well. Looks like most of the drivers do not see/read newspapers….at least you can avoid surprises of this sort.
Most new drivers here would not know the name of the section of freeway named in the newspaper article. Tell them ‘section of Shamal Expressway under Salwa Road’ and they might get it. Section where D Ring joins E Ring will still be a problem ( 5 lanes into 3), and most people know where the cameras are anyway.
Perhaps you and your new drivers need to get a map and start calling things by their real names especially when we’re talking about Doha Expresway! How ignorant. It only takes a second to look at the map and figure out the most visible expressway is called Doha Expressway! Jeez.
Perhaps you and your new drivers need to get a map and start calling things by their real names especially when we’re talking about Doha Expresway! It only takes a second to look at the map and figure out the most visible expressway is called Doha Expressway! Jeez.
Well, not if the article refers to it as Al Amir St. or 22 February St. Pull out YOUR map and take a look; that’s also what mine says. And not a new driver here.
Considering that the signs changed on Thursday night they might have considered putting it in the paper on Thursday rather than 2 days later. Thank goodness for social media alerting us on Friday morning.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. (A. Einstein)
Online MBA holder?
Why do you care to know?
A very good move… Fully support…
They should place LED speed limit signs that change the speed limit depending on what the police observes from their helicopters and the time of the day. It makes sense to make the speed limit 80 during the morning when cars turning to Salwa Rd. are jammed all the way out 1km on the expressway, but during other (free) times of the day people should be able to even go at 120km/hr provided there is no risk.
That’s exactly what is being planned
I travel that road at different times. It’s never not busy so in my opinion it should permanently be 80
I like ‘managed motorways’ as a concept – i much prefer to be moving at a lesser speed, than one minute travelling at 90km/hr and the next being standstill.
You mention that you would like to see the police change the speed limit depending on the conditions. Out of interest, what if the police observed the conditions require a 30 or 40km/hr limit?
We’re already driving at that speed (30-40) due to rush hour, so I dont see what point youre trying to make here…
They are planning to have the whole highway connected to a National Commend Center where is would be monitored 24 hrs… Emergency lanes would be opened at times of peak traffic to ease congestion and speed limits adjusted to the time of day or weekend.. Also several police parking spots will be placed where tow trucks would parked 24/7 with clean up crews so to quickly open up closed lanes due to traffic accidents …
Also all buses, trucks small and big, food transport vechilces and such will not be allowed to used to road during peak hours
It is unfortunate they have to spend money doing this because they made a crucial mistake in building it to begin with. They built it to accommodate the traffic at the time and not the projected traffic/population. I hope with future highways they study other conjested cities’ solutions to traffic to bring the best solution here from other experiences.
Is there Qatar-based traffic advisor…? A M.I.T. graduate? Really?
“If the signs say 80 kph, you should take that as your maximum, and drive accordingly,” he said. The discovery of hot water!
lame as usual
And stupid as usual, the lameness is expected by now.
What is the speed limit between the speed cameras? Mr. Landcruiser…
Good move – gives more time to react to the ‘drivers’ we have here
Need to reduce the speed of E ring road to 80 – 100 is too fast for a dual carriage way. No central barrier as well.
Need speed limits in resident areas as well – have ijits speeding outside my compound gate.
That road was obsolete the day it was opened. Need to build for the future, like the Emirates does, not for yesterday.
“A Qatar-based traffic advisor told Doha News that drivers should follow the new limits and drive accordingly, to avoid getting a speeding ticket.”
Where can I get this job, I have more ground breaking information to release.
I’m curious what he gets paid to issue such pearls of wisdom.
Good move, but most of drivers will only slow down on speed cameras and again push the gas paddle as soon as they get out of the range of radar. and go flashing light and tailgating vehicles in front even above 100 kmph.
This will likely cause more accidents as speeding drivers will now have to slow to 80 km ph for the speed cameras.
The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Which best describes adding new rules and laws when the existing ones are not respected nor enforced and expecting a different outcome. It is not the lack of rules or laws, it is the absents of respect and enforcement of the existing laws combined with the entitlement attitude of local drives that is the primary factor in the mounting accident rate. Until law enforcement removes their collective heads from their smart phones and finds a back bone and adequate testosterone to stop, cite and arrest those driving too fast, blocking roads while cutting queues and driving recklessly the accident rate will continue or grow. The fix lays with the Traffic Police acting in the best interest of the County to enforce existing laws and good driving practices. It’s not the speed, it is the drives!
Heavy handed enforcement is the answer. What will it take for the government to wake up and say “enough” to the carnage!!!!
The guys making the tweets in the article – they need to get off their Twitter account and read the news (online or paper). Gulf times had a front page article on the change 2 days back – although they referred it to 22nd Feb road – which is correct.
The real logic is the following. If they put a 100km/h sign, people will go at 120km/h. So to get people to actually go at 100km/h, they’re putting up 80km/h signs.
Unrealistic and imposed traffic speed is dangerous – from many many researches done on this subject. I wonder if the authourities have heard about ’85th percentile speed’ for determining safe speed limits. This type of experiment using human beings is unheard of! On top of that you never mention that the speed cameras are calibrated at 10% higher speed limits to the public and expect them to adhere to the speed limits – this is ridiculous (even if people already know it).
I expected this one :
my ..500 QR ….GOING…..
and of course there’s always the option of developing a decent public transport system
wrong move, most of the people here dont know the driving rules, you get tailgated and flashed on only or mostly on the left lane which is the (((overtaking lane)) ((people get it in your head the left lane is meant for overtaking, right lane for driving on the speed limit and the left lane is for people who dont want to drive the speed limit))
every single day i see this on the express way people driving on the left lane doing 80 or even 60 when the speed was 100km and there is no car infront of them and 10 cars are just stuck behinde this car cause he doesnt want to change lanes (( why )) ((you dont own the road)) the road is for all other motorist .
other people stay on the left lane where they can actally move to the middle but dont just to piss you off , then they get get flashed on but still not move ((why)) this really makes other motorists including me mad, while others just switch lanes without even indicating and switching lane to the overtaking lane without turn signals could seriously cause accidents
now getting back to the speed limit 100 to 80 ( now people are going to drive 60 on the overtaking lane or the fast lane and am 100 percent sure they are going to cause serious accidents)
For the last time people (( you dont own the road )) give way to all motorists , respect them and be polite to them and you will have a nice day.
The inside lane is for driving at or below the speed limit. The other two lanes are for overtaking. The middle lane should not be full when the inside lane is mostly empty. When you overtake another vehicle you should get back as soon as the maneuver is complete. You should not flash someone who is overtaking other slower vehicles- you don’t have some right of way, you shouldn’t be going over the speed limit in any caSe , its called a LIMIT.
Schooled. Thumbs up.
Schooled. Thumbs up.
Is it just me, or is the signage pretty poor too?
With so many roads having different ‘normal’ limits and then all the construction work too instructing ‘temporary’ limits (although some road users view these both as more advisory limits), if i’m ever on an unfamiliar road and miss the first sign, it can seem like forever before there’s another sign letting me know the speed – and quite often a camera inbetween.
Stop Flashing!! It is incredibly rude and annoying to be overtaking slower vehicles and having someone, driving way in excess of the speed limit, roaring up and flashing, when there is clearly no way to pull in until past the slower vehicles. How stupid, arrogant and rude can you be? You don’t own the road no matter how big your phallic substitute aka LC is. The more you flash, the closer you get, the more I will ignore you and drive safely to complete my maneuver without risking my life or the lives of the occupants of the vehicles I am overtaking. Get over it, you may live longer