A shift from the norm

Fred Wesley | Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Travelling to the Capital City these days can be frustrating, especially if you are stuck in the morning traffic jams.

Time spent on the road can be quite daunting for many commuters.

It is frustrating when you consider the fact that a 20-minute journey from Kinoya to Suva for instance — is now stretching to well over one hour and thirty minutes.

It is shocking! But that is the reality these days it seems.

Yesterday was a case in point.

Traffic jams enroute to the Centrepoint streetlights were bad enough, with a considerable amount of time taken up almost crawling through the side streets.

The congestion along the main Suva-Nausori highway was worse, and stretched from Centrepoint through to the first set of lights up at Samabula, after having crawled through the three sets of streetlights at Nabua.

Traffic congestion is a killer of many things, from time to productivity at the workplace.

It seems travelling to and from work in the Capital City is slowly turning into a nightmare for hundreds of commuters who are forced to live with this daily.

The new Vatuwaqa bridge has provided a reprieve along that route, with traffic easing along the southern end of Fletcher Rd most mornings now.

Traffic jams, however, are a fact of life in most of our urban centres.

Given the large number of vehicles we now have, traffic jams are inching out frustration in places such as Suva and Nadi for instance.

Not that they aren't an issue in other areas such as Labasa on Vanua Levu and the country's second city of Lautoka.

We are nowhere near the world's busiest cities in terms of congestion issues.

Last year, Business Insider, an American financial and business news website, estimated that traffic congestion cost the $US300 billion ($F601.3b) per year in fuel and time.

In Los Angeles for instance, drivers spent an average 104 hours stuck in the city's traffic jams, costing $9.7b in wasted time and fuel, which amounted to $2408 per driver.

Surely traffic jams aren't going away any time soon.

Do we really have to go through this daily?

Can we hope that there are plans to address this concern? Understandably, this isn't going to be an easy undertaking.

Are our roads to the city designed to effectively cater for the demands of a growing population and rising vehicle numbers?

Are there plans in place to relieve traffic congestion? Perhaps the powers that be already have their finger on the redistribution of business centres and planned expansion to minimise travelling. Surely there would have been talks of strengthening our traffic management systems.

The challenge for those in authority is to keep reducing to a reasonable level the time we spend travelling to work and school.

Perhaps we should also embrace the fact that there are traffic jams. It pays to be prepared. That means planning our journeys well.

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