Easing our traffic woes

It’s a given fact that stress levels can take a beating every morning if you are one of those commuters making the journey into the Capital City on a working week.

It’s got to a stage where commuters from places in Nausori who have to get to work at 8am in Suva will have to start their journey around 6am if they want to beat the traffic jam.

And it’s a fact of life for those along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

It’s simple …leave early and you avoid the jam. Leave late and you will definitely be late to work.

Getting to Suva via Jerusalem Rd or along the main highway can be a frustrating episode considering the large number of vehicles also trying to either get to the city, or drop off schoolchildren along the way to the city.

Now a survey by the Fiji Roads Authority has revealed that peak hour traffic between Lami and Nausori is expected to increase by 22 per cent between 2014 and 2030.

And it will take commuters an additional quarter of the time it takes now to travel between destinations. The forecast – Greater Suva Transportation Strategy 2015-2030 report – was based on the conservative assumption that buses retain their role as the main mode of transport in the greater Suva area.

FRA chief executive officer Neil Cook is quoted as saying that if Fiji follows other developing countries where higher income equal higher car ownership, equalling more cars on the road, the road would be similar in and around Suva.

“Population growth plus increased urbanisation equals more cars and more congestion,” he said.

The survey, conducted over six months, was done by Predict, Consulting, Scope Pacific Limited and GTA Consultants.

This would be the blueprint for the greater Suva area (GSA – Suva, Nasinu, Nausori and Lami) over the next 15 years.

It said the vision of this strategy is built on how the greater Suva area aspires to have an integrated and sustainable transport system that contributes to an inclusive, prosperous and environmentally responsible region.

In November 2011 in the New South Wales Auditor-General’s report into transport and ports, the Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, compared the stress levels faced by commuters in Sydney to a boxing match.

“The first step in improving productivity is to help people get to work on time and with less stress. If you’ve spent the morning fighting in the traffic and you feel like you’ve had 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali before you get to work, you’re not going to be as productive as someone who is fresh,” he was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

There are a lot of commuters who will appreciate this particular scenario.

The most important issue here is the fact that something is being done about trying to ease our traffic woes.

That is a positive factor in this whole exercise and it’s definitely something thousands of commuters travelling into some of our busy urban centres will be eagerly looking forward to.

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