Thursday, September 26, 2013

Engineering solutions to prevent road accidents discussed in SSUET seminar

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The significance of traffic and transportation engineering in ensuring road safety, was highlighted at a seminar on engineering aspects of road traffic accident organized by the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, at its campus on September 24.

In his keynote address on the occasion, Prof Mir Shabbar Ali, Chairman Urban and Infrastructure Engineering, NED University of Engineering & Technology, gave a detailed presentation and described that road traffic injury or accident was a manmade problem, which can be addressed through sound engineering solutions.

He observed that in the absence of a mass transit system in Karachi, the volume of traffic had increased manifolds and explained that people had no choice but forced to maintain their own vehicle and as a result ratio of vehicles per household has increased. Similarly, he pointed out, the number of motor cycles had also risen and more than two million were plying in the city.

He remarked that the majority of work force use low capacity mini buses in inhuman conditions with pressure on roads increasing with every passing day.

The nature of traffic was such it was hazardous for pedestrians particularly children, boys, girls, women and old persons, Prof Shabbar stated, adding that approximately 35,671 accidents occurred in the year 2012 with 1000 being fatal.

He said motorcycles and pedestrians had a combined share of 80% in road accidents and there had been an increase of 35% in accidents since last year which was a matter of great concern.

Earlier Prof Dr S M Makhdumi, Dean Engineering, who presided over the seminar introduced the topic and explained the significance of traffic and transportation engineering in ensuring road safety..

Other speakers included Eng. Abdul Qadir Bhutto, Traffic Consultant, and Malik Zaheer-ul-Islam, a former DG Mass Transit CDGK and presently an Assistant Professor at the SSUET.
Eng Abdul Qadir described his experiences of traffic engineering while Malik Zaheer emphasized upon 4 Es of traffic and transportation engineering-Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation and Education.

At the seminar, common causes of road accidents were identified as being driving mistakes, over speeding, driving under influence of stress, tail gating with low tolerance level showing aggressive temperament on roads, distractions during driving by use of cell phones, motorcyclists avoiding helmet.

Poor lane discipline, overtaking in wrong manner and frequently changing lanes particularly by mini bus drivers and motorbikes, poor condition of road with potholes, craters, cracks on roads uneven surface, wet spillage, sharp horizontal and vertical curves and undivided roadways were identified as other causes, besides construction on footpaths with hardly any space left for pedestrians to use sidewalks.

It was observed that after closer of U-turns and construction of signal free corridors the pedestrian find difficult to cross road. Pedestrian bridges being far apart and difficult for people to cross roads like Shahrah-e-Faisal,  maintenance of pedestrian bridges also being inadequate while Zebra crossing not marked,  Traffic signs missing and road construction works carried out without proper road diversions.

The seminar was organized by Assistant Prof. Engr Asif Mohyiuddin, jointly with Assistant Prof Asif Abassi, lecturers Engr Hafiz Arsalan, Tayyaba Batool and Engr Anus.

Among others, the seminar was attended by Prof Fahim Ahsan, Assistant Prof. Khurshid Jamal, Shahid Saleem, lecturer Saleem Khan Kundi besides a large number of students.

Prof. Dr. Shabbar, Engr Asif Mohiuddin, Engr Asif Abassi and Malik Zaheer suggested a number of engineering solutions to avoid road traffic accidents like improvement in infrastructure, primary treatment of road i.e. grade separation, properly designed intersection, providing advance warning signs, functional signals detailed engineering analysis and treatment of black spots.

Dr. Shabbar recommended and called for an in-depth analysis of all traffic components and traffic safety audit. He emphasized that emerging technology in engineering aspects of road traffic must be utilized in developing road safety models and effective traffic management.

Prof Fahim Ahsan, Traffic Consultant, mentioned that road safety measures were only possible with a support program to educate people and create awareness in masses of all ages with proper publicity in print and electronic media.