Smart traffic lights are set to be installed at all intersections in Qatar in a bid to tackle the increasing problem of congestion on the roads, a Traffic Department official has said.
The intelligent traffic system is already in place at 70 junctions across the country, including along Doha’s busy Corniche, when it was upgraded and roundabouts were replaced with signal controlled intersections in late 2013.
Now the new system is to be rolled out across the country, according to Brig. General Mohammed Abdul Rahim Marfia of the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department, Qatar Tribune reports.
The smart lights use sensors that judge the volume of traffic on the roads at any given moment and alter the phasing of the red and green lights accordingly.
So in peak hours with heavy traffic, the green light could be on for longer to allow more cars to pass through an intersection at one time.
“The gap between the two green signals varies according to different traffic hours on a day or different days in a week,” Marfia is quoted as saying.
No timeline has been given for when the new lights are expected to be installed at all the junctions.
In addition to tackling congestion, the new system is also expected to help cut emissions, as it is designed to reduce the time vehicles are spent revving their engines or crawling forward, which happens when the lights blink yellow during busy traffic periods.
Qatar’s roads are increasingly feeling the pressure of the nation’s growing population. According to figures from the Ministry of Development and Planning Statistics, nearly 10,000 new vehicles were registered in June this year, the latest figures available.
More than half were private cars while a further quarter were for “private transport.”
Though it has been quiet on the roads this summer, traffic will pick up next month, as the start of the school year sees a spike in new expats moving here and the return of existing residents from their annual vacations.
To ease congestion and improve road safety, many of Qatar’s main routes have been reconstructed in recent years. Public works authority Ashghal has been overseeing projects to replace roundabouts with intersections, which are believed to better control vehicle flow and reduce accidents.
However, the introduction of the new system is not without its hiccups, as it can take time to fine-tune the phasing of the lights.
For example, when a roundabout near Katara became a light-controlled junction in June, long traffic jams ensued.
Motorists heading away from the Pearl-Qatar and Lagoona Mall, toward Katara in peak hours were particularly affected, until the backups cleared up a few days later.
Another system of intelligent traffic signals is also being deployed in Qatar to improve response rates by emergency vehicles.
The Emergency Vehicle Preemption System (EVPS) has already been fitted at more than 80 junctions in Doha, using sensors that override the normal signals to give emergency vehicles priority.
Ambulances and Civil Defense trucks have been fitted with the technology emit signals as they approach traffic lights.
Traffic lights fitted with special GPS/radio antenna devices receive the signals emitted by the emergency vehicles that they are approaching from up to 1km away, and give them a green light at intersections, while safely stopping traffic coming from other directions, Ashghal previously said.
So far, 80 signals have been fitted with the sensors, while 15 ambulances and 10 Civil Defense vehicles have the remote controller devices installed.
Currently in a testing phase, the system may be expanded to more emergency vehicles and some public transport vehicles may also be equipped with it if it proves to be successful.
And the question issssss, do we still need traffic lights in the 21st century?!
Is that a serious question?
How else would you propose to control traffic flow in a city of 800,000 people?
“Now the new system is to be rolled out across the country, according to Brig. General Mohammed Abdul Rahim Marfia of the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department” Rolled out across the country he said my dear!
I think we can safely assume the vast majority will be in Doha and the outskirts.
Also, calling a woman you don’t know ‘my dear’ is very 1950s.
My dear is an Arabic term translated into English and is used for men and women, but I’m sure you knew that…… You need to stop being so English centric and finding offensive in everything without understand the context
Yes, I did, actually, but I still don’t think it’s particularly appropriate… It comes across as condescending… you know?
Condescending? Oh, the irony, the irony.
See, I didn’t know that. It is a good thing to know. I will admit that that phrase has rubbed me the wrong way more than once. It is almost as annoying as the ever ubiquitous ‘my friend’. However, it is nowhere near as annoying as using titles with given names! If I could change one thing…
Ha ha. You haven’t heard suffixing Mr.First name with “Sir”.
Oh, I have , I have, I just blocked it from my memory and took myself for therapy.
I saw a SUV yesterday that apparently attempted to fly over a steel safety barrier to get to the other side of the highway: at least some people are not scared to think outside the box!
The problem on Qatari roads is a lack of ability to think inside the box!
smart lights? when? where? at the moment I can only see the most retarded lights ever, takes for ever before it turns to green. So far the longest red lights I have come across in my driving life….a daily nightmare!
I can easily spot dumb light while i am driving, very easy, and there are a lot of them believe me!
exactly! They are everywhere eheheh!
I think smart traffic lights only work with people who know how to drive. Apparently when the lights turn red there is a 2 second delay before the camera starts snapping so best to speed up when it flashes amber and give the person in front of you a good nudge so you can be on your way.
I guess with your latest and high tech traffic equipment it doesn’t help to lessen the congestion. You need to apply number or color coding to all vehicle.because whenever you go it’s all traffic.
Corniche has ‘smart traffic lights’ ? I have spent more than 10min waiting for the light to go green to enter corniche. Also, the fact that lights to enter or exit Corniche are so long are creating massive queues that end up blocking the complete road. I seriously think that time should be shorter so this is avoided (it gets dangerous when you are in Corniche and all of a sudden the two lines on the left get blocked because of this and people starts to do crazy things to get into that exit)
now all we need is smart drivers.
Smart singles require smart drivers. Priority lights for emergency vehicles are pointless when the drivers dont give them priority. Another exercise in futility.
No amount of Smart traffic lights are capable of combating human stupidity!