6 Jul 2012
Riyadh's traffic. Copyright: Royal HaskoningDHV
Riyadh's traffic. Copyright: Royal HaskoningDHV

Project aims to reduce traffic jams by tackling bottlenecks
Royal HaskoningDHV has been selected to tackle 30 major traffic bottlenecks in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh over the next two years. ArRiyadh Development Authority (ADA) decided to award the contract to DHV following a call for tenders. The total contract value is EUR 1.5 million.

One litre of petrol for nine euro cents

The population of the Saudi capital Riyadh has risen dramatically over the past few decades and currently stands at approx. 5.4 million inhabitants. However, the city's roads and motorways are reaching the limits of their capacity and traffic jams are a frequent occurrence in many places. "Petrol costs just nine euro cents per litre in Saudi Arabia, and you can buy a new car for a fraction of its price in the Netherlands", explains project director Joep Coopmans of DHV. "Almost everyone travels by car to the city centre, and people are used to park virtually everywhere." Despite its large scale, the existing road network is unable to cope with the massive growth in car traffic. It is therefore imperative to devise solutions which help reduce travel times without major changes to the existing infrastructure.

Identifying bottlenecks

In consultation with the city's traffic police, DHV will map the existing traffic flows based on an extensive monitoring program. The consultancy and engineering firm will then identify the main bottlenecks together with various stakeholders. Problems which can be quickly resolved will be tackled immediately, while DHV will work out two or three possible solutions for more complex bottlenecks. The project will involve collaboration between experts from various disciplines, including traffic engineers, traffic safety experts, road designers, and experts in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Coopmans: "Bottlenecks can be resolved through various traffic management measures. In some cases waiting times can be reduced by making modifications to traffic lights, while in other situations a specific change in motorists' behaviour can help moderate traffic jams. But we can also implement clever infrastructure interventions or ITS measures to direct traffic in the desired direction." ADA will take care of the subcontracting and the selection of market parties to realize the traffic management solutions.

Extensive experience

ADA selected DHV because of the company's traffic management expertise and the experience gained in similar projects in other large cities throughout the world. "We previously worked on two road development projects in Riyadh, and on traffic management projects in Sofia, Beijing and other cities. This extensive experience, combined with our long-standing relationship with ADA, has given the client confidence in our ability to tackle traffic problems", says Coopmans.