Efforts to ease traffic congestion laudable

Friday February 9 2018

By TheCitizen

A 2010 study revealed that traffic congestions in Dar es Salaam alone deprives the Tanzanian economy of Sh4 billion every working-day. These are usually characterised by slower road speeds, longer driving trip times, and increased vehicular queueing-up.

When motor vehicles are fully stopped but silently running ‘on neutral gear’ for some time, carcinogenic exhaust fumes emitted by the vehicles significantly contribute to environmental pollution, increased diseases infection risks and ‘road rage’ among drivers frustrated by the snarl-up.

Road traffic congestion usually builds up at intersections and along narrow sections whose carriageway capacity has reached saturation point – thus failing to meet demand. This latter condition is on account of ever-increasing vehicle numbers, sadly compounded by ‘non-expansion’ of existing roadways.

Indeed, vehicle numbers alone don’t constitute congestions. That’s especially where road networks and related infrastructure are functional and adequate every which way. As such, so-called heavy vehicular traffic can freely flow along smoothly, merrily.

But, when all is said and done, it’s most heartening that the fifth phase government has embarked on plans to construct seven flyovers designed to drastically minimise – if not eliminate – traffic congestion in the nation’s most important ‘economic’ metropolis and business hub. The new flyovers will be located at the road junctions of Chang’ombe, Uhasibu, Kamata, Morocco, Mwenge, Magomeni and Tabata in the sprawling city.

Implementing and commissioning the seven crosscutting projects won’t only slash traffic congestions at the knees; it’ll also create jobs, eradicate unnecessary carcinogenic exhaust fumes, and spawn-off socio-economic developmental activities immediately and over time. This is why we commend the government for this effort, which will also make life a lot easier for road users in the country’s commercial capital.

Plan for population rise

That Tanzania could be a nation of 58 million by the end of this year comes as not much of a surprise. Population figures have been on a steady rise for decades, from the 50s when the country only had 8.7 million to 2010 when that number stood at 46 million, and currently, when the official head count is around 55 million. And now the latest United Nations estimates show that Tanzania, the 24th most populous country of the world this year, could have a national population of close to 100 million (95.5 million) by 2050.

Over the past eight years, the mean rate of growth has been 3.15 per cent, according to the United Nations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division). In a nutshell, the nation is fast growing, presenting both opportunities and challenges to policy makers. Opportunities in the strength of numbers, but also challenges in the need to provide for those numbers. There will be more mouths to feed, more feet on the roads, more applications for jobs, bigger queues at hospitals, and so forth.

The time to plan for the estimated 95.5 million Tanzanians who will be around in just a little over three decades is now. Lack of planning is always costly.