What do you suggest to solve the traffic problems?

Hiya!

It has been ages since I last posted something on this blog! Glad to be back with something new 🙂

Although there has been many hot topics to talk about, I was quite reluctant to write on them. In fact, there has been so many scandals revealed almost at the same time that even newspapers are finding it difficult to stay within their page limits. As for private radios, entertainment shows had to be cancelled in order to accommodate live broadcasts. Just to quote a few of the scandals : Terre Rouge Verdun, Nandinee Sousnack, Dan Kalikan, Pandit’s Restaurant, closed access to Mon Choisy public Beach… And of course, Navin and the Rs 220 millions found in his safe boxes and suitcases. Although I believe that justice must prevail, I have a fear that his panel of lawyers, made up of the most renowned ones in the island, will probably find legal loopholes somewhere in our constitution to get him out of his own sh*t.

Traffic problems

Terre Rouge Verdun Link Road

Anyway, let’s talk about the traffic congestion problem which got worse ever since Terre Rouge Verdun Link Road was closed on the 21st January 2015. While waiting for the completion of necessary reparations which might take a year, the authorities have already started to enlarge existing road infrastructures to try to alleviate this traffic problem.

Proposed ferry system to and fro Port Louis

The idea to write this post came up when I was discussing about the above article which I came across during the day.

traffic ferry boat sytem to and from Port Louis

Sincerely, I was quite surprised to read that the government is planning to consider a ferry system to connect Pointe Aux Sables, Baie du Tombeau and Port Louis if preliminary reports are favorable. Although we are at a very early stage in this project, I personally don’t think that the project will be viable.

We have all seen how the Metro Leger project of the previous government was rejected by the population for the time being.Let’s wait and see.

Simpler solutions to implement

traffic-motorway

With the help of colleagues, we came up with the following very nice suggestions of how our traffic can be improved, especially to and fro the capital, Port Louis:

  1. Construction of flyovers at (a) the traffic lights in front of Port Louis Waterfront – Places d’Armes, (b) immigration square and (c) Quay D – ICAC roundabout. These flyovers will eliminate the need to halt traffic in order to allow vehicles to get on the other side of the motorway or to get into or out of the capital. Just imagine the chaos if the flyover at Bell Village did not exist.
  2. Moving the bus stop at Les Guibies, Pailles to some 50 meters away will ensure continuous flow of vehicle in 3 lanes. Currently, there are 3 lanes at Camp Chapelon, then 2 lanes along the bus stop and finally, 4 lanes, just after the bus stop.
  3. Eliminate the maximum of roundabouts in our road network.
    While The Terre Rouge and Phoenix roundabouts should be replaced by something similar to Caudan or Reduit, other roundabouts like the one at the ghost city (Jin Fei) should never have been constructed in the first place.
  4. Give more incentives to bus companies to improve the public transport system by replacing those old buses with newer ones like the low-floor one.
  5. Construction of secure parking areas close to the motorways to encourage people to drive to these areas, park their cars and then, head to the capital in comfortable buses. This will not only provide parking at a lower cost to individuals but it will also decrease the number of vehicles to the capital if these parking areas are connected to the bus network.Traffic jam
  6. The bus lane at Victoria (La gare) should be extended by eliminating the unused space alongside the Vacoas Express bus stand. This will eliminate the need for other vehicles on the motorway to halt in order to allow buses to join the 2 lanes of the motorway.
  7. Create a national awareness program to emphasize on the benefits of car pooling, as previously explained in one of my blog posts. Just imagine, if people start sharing their car daily, it does not only save fuel but also solves traffic problems, prevents unnecessary stress and reduces number of cars on our roads.
  8. A better management of the free transport for students can actually increase the willingness of people to use the public transport system. Nowadays, endless number of complaints are registered because students use public transport buses instead of dedicated school buses. Result : Employees are penalized because buses are most often filled with students while school buses are used by only a small number of students.
  9. I don’t know how far this can be beneficial but what if school hours are changed? Let’s say that instead of the usual 8am to 230pm, the school hours are moved to 9am to 330pm ( or something similar?) Of course, this can make very unhappy people but if this can help to improve the flow of traffic, so, why not?
  10. Lastly, get that damn Terre Rouge Verdun road operational again and make sure that those persons (whoever they are!) assume their responsibilities and pay for their incompetency!

To end on a more positive note, I’m glad of the very good initiative of conducting a pilot project in Curepipe by allowing people to take their practical driving tests there instead of Port Louis. Also, the new government has also reconsidered to move part of the governmental departments and services to Highlands. Thumbs up!

Any more ideas to contribute to a better and cleaner Mauritius with less traffic jams, pollution and cost?

Thanks for reading and bon weekend!

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  • Tish

    Salut Yashvin, tes idées sont très appréciables 🙂
    Je pense que l’installation du métro léger peut être une bonne solution même si le coût est très important. Je prend le tram pour voyager en centre-ville et comme celui a la priorité sur les voitures, je traverse la ville en 25 minutes alors qu’en voiture cela prendrai 40 minutes en heure de pointe.
    Sinon une voie aménagée pour le bus + des parkings à cotés des gares pour forcer les gens à prendre le bus ( avec un meilleur confort et prix), mais il faudrait une voie partant de Nouvelle-France à Port-Louis.
    Maurice est aussi le seul pays avec …des rond-points sur l’autoroute. Il faudrait éliminer les rond-points afin de les remplacer par des sorties et entrées d’autoroute, d’ailleurs je crois que l’autoroute à Nouvelle France à été aménagée en 2011 afin de mettre des évacuations d’eau. Cette démarche était vraiment inutile, il fallait profiter de cette occasion pour aménager une troisième voie vu le nombre de millions qui a été dépensé.
    Au lieu de changer l’horaire des écoles, pourquoi ne pas imposer le flexitime pour les fonctionnaires et le secteur privé? Et pour les bus à sol plat, il faudrait une réaménagement des gares et des arrêts de bus : il est malheureux de constater que les personnes handicapés en 2015 ne peuvent avoir accès au transport public ni aux bâtiments publics (la plupart en tout cas).

  • I do have a suggestion which might seem difficult to implement but I think it will be worth it in the log run.

    Why not try to optimize the current public transport systems?

    Make use of smaller buses for small routes and bus stops which will bring passengers to bus terminals, then longer buses will be responsible for long routes (The motorways for example.)

    For example from north to go to Curepipe, a person takes a small route bus from his home to a terminal near the motorway then take one bus that will do the motorway till Curepipe and then take another small bus to go to the desired place.

    This kind of transport system allows flexibility and to be able to provide transports more regular and reliable basis. Moreover, I believe it will be less costly than Metro Léger if we need an immediate solution.

    Another advantage is that companies can also provide more buses during peak hours and then less during the day.

    Definitely the first time investment will be quite huge and it will take some time for the system to stabilize. Once the system is stable and running it will eventually become cost effective, it might take some years. More buses will be needed for a first time. There will be very less change needed in the infrastructure compared to Metro.

    However this system will work only and only if the bus companies are ready to give priority to the people of the country rather than their personal profits and of course support from the government to those bus companies.

    The idea behind this system is also to encourage people to travel more by buses, thus it is important to provide buses comfortable enough as well as fast and reliable.

    It might not be the perfect idea but this is definitely going to alleviate the congestion in our routes.

    I have always been thinking about this and wanted to write a blog post. but I guess the comment is enough for now. 🙂

  • Yeah, you said it all in the comment but you can still write a post with more practical details of how this can help 🙂

    Thanks 😉

  • tambourette

    #1: constructing flyovers is expensive.

    #3 & Tish’s comment: yes, roundabout on motorway is absurd. As soon as you’ve build up speed on the motorway from the airport, there is yet another roundabout and you need to slow down.

    #4, 5, 6 and all buses ideas: the island is small, roads are small and land is limited. The roads can only hold so many buses. We can only make an improvement to buses up to a certain point to reduce traffic, after that there’ll be too many buses on the roads causing congestion.

    #9: school hours start early on purpose to allow parents to drop their kids before going to work. The other important reason is to reduce traffic on the roads. Imagine schools and offices both starting at 9 am – havoc on the roads.

    Flexitime is a good idea.
    Moving offices out of Port-Louis is another good one. That’s one of the main reasons causing so much traffic. Imagine Port-Louis had half the number of offices and workers. The traffic would reduce by half.

    Long term however, a tram or metro leger system is inevitable if a genuine solution is to be found. The number of cars on our roads is increasing and land itself is limited, so we cannot go on building more roads. We need to get people out of their cars. What better way than to provide a faster way to get to work? A way that bypasses congested roads?

    One way to reduce the cost of the Metro Leger is to whack ads all over it. Might not look too pretty but if the ticket is far much cheaper as a result, why not?

    Any more roads built is just a short-term solution. There will be more and more cars to fill them!

  • Thanks for the detailed analysis 🙂

    Yes, getting people out of their car is not an easy job!

  • tambourette

    Oh, and who wants to travel by ferry to the capital?
    It would be faster on bike, unless it’s a speedboat?

  • A bike lane in that case 😉

    Seriously, ferry. And what do authorities do during extreme climate conditions where even our road network is unable to cope.

  • Tish

    Good idea for the tram Tambourette 🙂
    The cost of tram (metro leger) is expensive but so are the hours spent in traffic jam + fuel cost :), it is just that Mauritians do not want to shift their way of thinking (and move out of their comfortable cars). Furthermore, private and public companies can subsidies tram tickets, for example pay back 40% of the travelling cost of their employees. This would encourage them to use the tram, and on the other side this could be deduced from their tax to the government.
    But the downside of tram is the loss of jobs, as everything is automated and computer controlled (only one driver per tram).

  • Hi All,

    nice overview with ideas and suggestions what can be done regarding the traffic issue. Civil engineering is always a nice topic to look at.
    In the new budget it was mentioned that a fly over will be built at Phoenix round about. That bottleneck there really needs it! Yep, to many round abouts, also the new road Terre Rouge > Verdun > Ebene should have way less round abouts.

    The light rail project has been in studies since more than 20-30 years and each time it costs some millions again when they want to restudy the project. It’s not like the longest track in the world 🙂 I think the amount of money lost in traffic jams over that period is = a light rail…

    Now, look at this, this was from 2004, my reference is from Lexpress and l’express also states that the stats about money lost in traffic jams is not clear (so maybe the figure is in real even higher!? What do you suggest?) If that was in 2004… imagine what it is now 😉

    Quote: “Overcrowded roads mean delays, production and business losses, air pollution and health damage. Yet, no serious studies have been carried out on the money road congestion is costing the island. Governments statement that the island is losing Rs 2 billion per year because of traffic problems is yet to be proved. Road users have lost all hope of a rapid solution to their nightmare.”
    Reference Link: http://www.lexpress.mu/article/fixing-traffic-jams-singapore-style

    Rs.2 billion x 20 = Rs.40 billion
    If we can’t have a light rail now, the GOV needs to start setting aside a budget to save/invest for the possibility of acquiring it in the next… lets say fat fetched 20 years… Maybe if they have half of it, they can get other half as loand or private investors. Gov + Private partnership.

    Regarding students and free travelling for seniors and disabled persons, not easy to solve this at one blow regarding the manual tracking, as it also has so many facets, you fix one part, and another loophole emerges, sometimes there is not just one perfect solution but one that comes close to the best with a lower rate of loss, but to start is the way, the whole system for busses at a certain stage needs to be upgraded to operate with a more modern IT system with exact counting of passengers etc. so that money that goes for subvention is spent efficiently. There are always smart people outhere willing to crack a difficult nut 🙂

    Sunny regards,
    Dietmar

  • Thanks for this great analysis.

    Looking forward to meet you, probably in the [forthcoming] bloggers event 😉 Cheers!