EghtesadOnline: Over nine million residents in the capital city of Tehran squander an average of 31 minutes per day in traffic, amounting to 4.65 million hours per day and more than 1.5 billion hours per year, CEO of Tehran Traffic Control Company said.
Kourosh Jeddisani added that the problem is becoming worse before it gets better as the first days of autumn approach, Hamshahri Online reported.
According to the official, traffic has been bumper-to-bumper on a number of Tehran's important thoroughfares, including Shahid Hemmat, Hakim, Ashrafi Esfahani, Navvab Safavi and Sadr, not just during rush hours but almost 24/7.
“Throughout last week, traffic clogged the Modarres and Chamran roads, as well as Seoul and Valiasr streets for significant periods of time,” he said.
Jeddisani said more than 8.6 million vehicles ply on Tehran's roads, which figure is 16 times higher than the nominal capacity, adding that around 1.6 million automobiles arrive from the capital's satellite cities.
“Tehran’s roads and freeways can hardly handle more than 750,000 vehicles,” he said.
The capital has grown in all directions in the past three decades. Because the public transportation infrastructure is insufficient to meet the rising needs of the bustling metropolis, chronic traffic congestion has become a major concern.
He estimated that over 20 million daily trips are made in the capital on any working day, stressing that inadequate and inefficient public transport are the primary reasons behind the daily torture.
Tehran Municipality, according to the official, has taken steps to streamline the public transit system and reduce traffic congestion by building more subway stations, repairing around 500 buses and overhauling 31 metro trains.
However, in a densely populated metropolis like Tehran, these activities appear to have made little impact.
Jeddisani stated that three major factors cause traffic jam: people, roads and vehicles.
“The staggering number of automobiles plying the streets, convoluted road designs, driver misbehavior, poor public transportation fleet and public reluctance to use it all contribute to a slow and grueling traffic flow,” he added.
He said the use of efficient traffic engineering techniques, modification of traffic rules, promotion of public education and the employment of smart technologies alone could help solve this problem.
“Streamlining the traffic problem has been prioritized by relevant authorities, as it directly impacts the city’s air pollution problem and public health,” he added.
Traffic Schemes in Tehran
As the capital city of Tehran has become notorious for its clogged roads and suffocating air pollution, officials have devised traffic schemes to at least alleviate the problem.
Currently, three traffic schemes are underway in the capital, including Air Pollution Reduction, Air Pollution Control and the so-called Traffic Scheme. Each enforces different rules and restrictions on vehicles plying the capital’s streets to ease air pollution and traffic congestions, and fines drivers guilty of violating these rules.
TM launched the scheme called Air Pollution Reduction in the capital in November 2018.
APR bars dilapidated two- and four-wheelers from plying the city’s roads. All the vehicles in the metropolis are required to undergo automotive inspections and receive a technical certificate showing the vehicle meets automotive and emission standards. Those who are found in breach are fined.
APR has revealed that even brand-new automobiles are unreliable in terms of toxic emissions.
According to the latest statistics, one-third of automobiles on Tehran's roads failed emission and safety tests, during the first five months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Aug. 22), of which 523,000 were under four years old and underwent their first technical inspection.
Air Pollution Control is the other scheme implemented in the capital since the beginning of summer. As per APC, each vehicle can enter a "restricted zone" in central Tehran for free for a maximum of 20 days each season, or 80 days a year.
Covering 88.5 square kilometers in central Tehran, the zone is bounded by Imam Ali Expressway in the east, Navvab Expressway and Chamran Highway to the west, Besat Expressway in the south and Hemmat Expressway in the north.
Vehicles are barred from entering the area between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on all days, except Fridays and national holidays. On Thursdays, the time limit is between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
If motorists wish to enter the zone more than the number of times allowed in the plan, they need to pay a toll fee.
The “Traffic Scheme” enforced in central Tehran was limited by Motahari Street in the north, Shariati Street (east), Kargar (west) and Shoosh (south) where cars, except public transportation vehicles, are barred from entering the area between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Entering the zone costs up to 630,000 rials ($2.3) for privately-owned vehicles.