Traffic in Lebanon is increasing on monthly basis, not only because of the bad shape of the roads but also of the rising number of cars owned. According to Urban Transport Development Project, 50% of Lebanese households own 1 car, while 25% own at least 2. And why is that? It’s due to the absence of a well-organized public transport system.
Spending hours stranded in traffic jams, precarious road conditions and erratic driving causing high numbers of casualties and adverse effects on the economy are as problematic.
People in Lebanon spend 720 hours on average out of 4,380 day hours on the roads annually, more than 16% of the individual’s supposed “productive time”, according to the Urban Transport Development Project, a World Bank-affiliated organization.
The big volume of cars exceeding the capacity of the road network largely causes the traffic in Lebanon. Moreover, we only have private cars as a main mode of transportation, which means the number of cars will continue to rise.
Another main reason for traffic is chaos on the road. Systematic violations of the road laws and lack of proper enforcement make traffic much worse.
You have traffic at specific hours in the zones where schools are located and in the streets leading to them. Here, there is also an issue with Lebanese mentality and culture. Many send their children to school in private cars, while others prefer to drop them themselves instead of paying school bus fees.
Accidents and crashes can cause sudden and abrupt congestion, citing a global study that showed a single minute delay on a road lane for any reason causes four minutes of traffic.
On top of that, one should add the unregistered cars, Syrian matriculated cars that increased with the arrival of Syrian refugees, public utility trucks and army and police vehicles patrolling the streets.
So I came up with these HMW questions to turn those challenges into opportunities for design:
· How might we reduce traffic on the roads of Lebanon?
· How might we organize the roads in Lebanon?
· How might we end traffic quickly after a car accident?
· How might we pick up our kids from school without causing traffic?
· How might we park our car without causing traffic?
· How might we reduce the number of cars in Lebanon?
· How might we follow the rules?
· How might we have controlled public transport systems?
· How might we have scheduled bus routes?
· How might we have dedicated lanes on the highways for public transportation?