|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The survey aims to find out what we really want from transport. The answer has already been identified for us as more public transport, but we've got to be asked first.
Now comes the news that controversial consultancy AECOM has bagged a $4 million contract to draw up a 'master plan' for Sharjah's transportation network, to be ready by 2015. Amongst other things, AECOM will work on 'developing a scheme appraisal framework', whatever that is. Apparently the study will also lead to 'fostering modal shift towards public transport and collective modes.'
Which means more public transport, no? It's always nice to see a study of a problem that sets out already having identified the solution. It's so much more comforting that way.
Mind you, it's funny they're going to all this effort when a few hours looking at Nokia's brilliant Here Maps mobile app could tell them what we all know - the traffic overlay shows traffic density at near real-time, with free roads painted green, cloggy roads orange and jams outlined in a neat red. You can watch the morning developing quite nicely on your mobile in the comfort of your stationary car.
All roads east and south are routinely screwed, turning nicely red as the morning develops. The Road Formerly Known As The Emirates Road is a car park from about 6am onwards, stretching from the infamous National Paints (remember that 'it'll be done in April'? Yeah, right) all the way back to the airport road and beyond towards Ajman. The airport road bungs up, too - a combination of traffic leaving for the backed-up TRFKATER and the blinding sunrise on that wee bend before the university conspiring to cause it all to gum up back to Culture Roundabout.
Beirut's totally banjaxed, despite Dubai's sneaky Dhs4 collecting mechanism, while Al Wahda/Ittihad goes the same way (traffic backs up by the Faisal Street and Al Khan turnoffs first) from about 5.30am. Everyone hoys off from about 7am to take their kids to school so all roads East clog up very nicely thank you, with Anjads peeping and flailing at people as they try to smooth the way through key roundabouts of which Sharjah has many (and they're all called squares. Figure.).
The schools area - because zoning all schools together in an area with limited access is a clever idea - becomes a snarling mass of jostling entitlement. The Middle Road gums up from the schools area towards the city and again where it joins the Mileiha Road, because some genius at some time in recent history decided not to put in an intersection at the junction of two relatively new and planned major arterial roads, but instead plonk a chaos-inducing traffic light there instead.
This is all repeated, in reverse, in the evening, with TRFKATER south blocking up while the Northern lane jam stretches back to Mirdiff City Centre. The Middle Road access to TRFKATER then backs up. Ittihad blocks up back to Garhoud and Nahda through Al Arouba Street just gets chicken oriental from about 4pm onwards. Basically, a lot of very unhappy and frustrated people gather and try to make themselves feel better by upsetting other people.
And it's all getting worse as we move back into mega-project announcing mode.
There we go, job done. No, no thanks necessary. This here matchbox contains your scheme appraisal framework. You just have to remember never to open it or it'll stop working. You can just pop that $4 million in my HSBC account and they'll somehow conspire to lose it or turn it into cat litter or something.