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Congestion in Today’s Urban Settings

Urban Congestion has no single definition. Congestion as defined by OECD (2007) implies the oversupply of vehicles that makes the available road system become overwhelmed and thus incapable of meeting the demand in terms of space. Another definition is that due to many vehicles using the road system they constrain each other in terms of time. As such, they slow each other down. The final component of the definition is the variance between what the users expect and what the system provides. The difference between the two where the expectations are not met is what is now deemed as congestion.

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Solutions to the Problem of Urban Congestion

The solutions to road traffic congestion involve targeting what is considered to be the primary causes of congestion. These causes are highly concentrated in areas with a high population or areas with rich economies. As such, more people would tend to own vehicles and as such lead to congestion. This will especially be the case bearing in mind that there is hardly any form of land expansion available. Therefore, one of the solutions could include the use of law to control the use of land.

Proper planning as well as putting control on land pricing to control its sale can also be put into practice. Other methods could involve the promotion of and revival of the use of public transport. A greater need could also be created for the development of smaller cities instead of megacities.

Proper use of Information technology in the transport system is within reach. This technology can thus be applied to eliminate the congestion within the transport system. One way of ensuring efficient application of Information technology to solve transport issues is surveying what has been done in other countries and cities. This survey ought to give rise to a customized solution. The solution would then be designed and implemented to tackle local issues. Proper application of information technology can lead to a reduction in the costs of transport and also lead to greater efficiency.

A definition of KomFram is given by Roger (2000, p.13). The system collects data relating to public transport in Gothenburg. The data is used by the transport companies, drivers as well as city planners to manage traffic. Flex Route system is used in Sweden and applies the use of user demand module. Therefore, the public transport system releases vehicles as per the number of people demanding them. As such, the number of vehicles on the roads is controlled by their demand.

There is a need to develop a public system that allows companies to make faster trips. The commuters should also be able to choose their departure times. This would mean that the system does not get clogged due to the rigidity of the departure time. However, the transport system development in America has difficulties with political connotations. This is from the allegations of biasness towards race and ethnicity.

Techniques for Measuring Change Congestion

The first measure defined by Grant and Laird (2006) is the Link speed-flow relationships. This system studies the speed flow. It measures how long it would take to move from one point to another as well as the quality of the system. The other system is the area speed-flow curve. This system uses the technique of measuring average travel times in designated areas of a road transport system. The system user will be able to see whether the changes have been effective in terms of cutting travel times.

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The network assignment model is yet another model used whereby different models of the transport system are used to show transport links and junction delay. This can be used to see which model is more effective after the changes have been made. Microsimulation models can also be used. This enables one to study the behavior of vehicles in response to changes to the road. eg traffic signals, better roads, controls, and regulations. This system can be used to monitor how vehicles respond to the changes and whether their behavior change reduces congestion as envisioned according to the policies implemented to effect the reduction of congestion.


Grant S. M and Laird J. (2006) Transport Research Findings No.1/2006 Costs of Congestion: Literature Based Review of Methodologies and Analytical Approaches. Web.

OECD Transport Research Center. (2007), Managing Urban Traffic CongestionWeb.

Roger.V. (2000). The Gothenburg Public Transportation System. Web.

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