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Maneesh Bakshi
Commuters in Qatar lost an average of 102 working hours due to traffic congestion last year, leading to an estimated loss of over QR5 billion to the economy, according to a new report released on Monday.
Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre's (QMIC) Qatar Traffic Report (QTR) for 2015 said the loss of productivity due to traffic jam translated into about 0.8 percent of Qatar's GDP in 2015.
Adnan Abu-Dayya, Executive Director of QMIC, said the impact on the economy could be much higher if its implication in terms of medical and environmental consequences such as accidents and pollution were taken into consideration.
The report was prepared after analysing over 50 million speed records collected from major roads of the city that witnessed traffic congestions in 2015. QMIC has one of the most sophisticated data collection platforms, Masarak, in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It updates data through 300 sensors installed at critical traffic points which see frequent congestions.
QMIC Chairman Abdulla Zaid al Talib said,"We are eager to cooperate with ministries, Public Works Authority, traffic department, urban planning agencies in sharing data for analysis thus helping them to come out with viable solutions leading to a congestion-free environment."
He said QMIC plans to issue reports on yearly and quarterly basis. The traffic data was collected by Masarak in real-time through bluetooth-based traffic sensing network, GPS-based telemetric devices and through iTraffic mobile application.
To quantify the severity of traffic congestion, the report used globally-accepted metrics such as Masarak Congestion Index (MCI), Travel Time Index (TTI), Excess Travel Time (ETT). While MCI takes into consideration the average speed reduction of commuters due to traffic congestion, TTI studies the travel time during peak-hours on weekdays. Similarly, ETT calculates average delay in minutes per kilometer during a traffic jam.
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