Traffic is, unfortunately, a necessity of everyday life. Whether you’re listening to radio DJs drone on while you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway, or trying to find a seat on a crowded bus, it affects a large portion of us.
The reality is that traffic problems may never be solved in metropolitan areas. This is due to high-density business districts and employees travelling from outside areas. Companies all utilising the same working hours and population growth adds to traffic congestion.
There are, however, a few ways to alleviate traffic in congested areas. Even if these ideas are only bandaids and not surgery, they can at least help commuters get to work and cut down on travel time.
Dedicated carpool and bus lanes
Though this is not a solution that can be implemented everywhere in the world due to space and urban planning, some cities have dedicated lanes for buses and cars. During select times, usually peak traffic hours, only cars with two or more occupants or public transport vehicles may utilise these dedicated lanes, bypassing those congested with single-occupant cars.
The system isn’t perfect. As mentioned earlier, a large amount of space is required on a highway to dedicate an entire lane. Bus routes also need to positively affect commuters, going to and from high-density areas.
An alternative is implementing a car-sharing service for employees. The company can purchase a few pre-owned cars in Gauteng, Cape Town, or Durban, and have staff create lift cubs, while the company pays for petrol.
Work from home initiatives
The dream is to work from home, to roll out of bed in the morning, make a cup of coffee, and sit on the couch while pouring over spreadsheets and emails. Though many companies want to keep an eagle eye on their employees, making sure they’re at work at specific times, working from home is a benefit to all.
It has been shown that those who work from home, even a few days a week, have a higher productivity rate than the average office worker. This also plays into alleviating congestion on the roads, and minimising the creation of CO2 gasses, which benefits the environment.
Of course, it won’t be an easy thing to implement, especially if staff are required to clock in and out nd need a stable internet connection for their work. Cities would need to offer incentives to those companies who allow their staff to work from home and not have to travel each and every day.
This two-wheel mode of transportation has been around for a long time. With the popular rise in cycling and keeping fit, more consumers are adopting it as their preferred method of exercise. It’s also an ideal way to get around, such as going to the shops or out to visit someone.
There are a few cities that have started encouraging its commuters to cycle to work. Though not everyone is able to achieve this over long distances, it does go a way in reducing the amount of traffic on the roads, as well as gas emissions. The downside is you may end up with a lot of sweaty employees milling around the office and downing energy drinks on a daily basis.
A common cause of traffic problems, besides the increase in vehicles on the road, are systems that don’t accommodate peak hour traffic. For example, traffic lights that give priority to one section of road, or work on an unbalanced time, cause backups for other commuters.
This can be said for heavy vehicles which have to slow down on hills, are more dangerous when they break down, and take longer to drive the same distance as a car.
Better city planning, as well as spreading out commercial hubs to more accessible areas, would go a long way to help those who have to commute everyday.
There are other ways to help with traffic congestions, such as railway systems, though these are at least easier as opposed to entire infrastructure overhauls.