May 16th, 2016: Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) announced the launch of the first Qatar Traffic Report (QTR). The announcement was made during a press conference hosted at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The launch event was attended by key national partners, and a number of local media organizations.
QTR is the first national traffic report that could help ministries, national authorities, and the private enterprises in traffic studies, urban planning, and performance monitoring in the areas of transportation and road safety. Examples of important use cases the QTR can help in include: Assessing the impact of road/infrastructure projects on traffic over time; Monitoring changes in congestion levels across Qatar; Identifying problematic congestion areas in specific times/days; Quantifying the economic and environmental impact of road congestion.
QTR uses a number of key globally accepted metrics to report on the severity, time, and locations of traffic congestion in Qatar. In particular, the QTR introduces the concept of Masarak Congestion Index (indicates average reduction in speed due to congestion) and the Travel Time Index (indicates the increase in travel time due to congestion) to assess the level of road congestion.
Based on analyzing more than 50 million speed estimations in major road segments available in the Masarak Data Bank in 2015, the detailed QTR reveals a number of key insights about mobility in Qatar. Some of these include:
- The average number of extra hours spent due to congestion is 102 hours per commuter in 2015
- The economic cost of congestion in 2015 is estimated to be between 5.2 and 6.8 billion QR. This translates to a loss of about 0.7-0.9% of the GDP.
- March 2015 was the most congested month in the year with a travel time index of 1.97
- The highest congestion period is the morning peak (7-8am) where the average congestion index is 38%
- In the morning peak hours, November 2015 had the highest travel time index of 2.3
- In the evening peak hours, December 2015 had the highest travel time index of 2.1
In speaking about the insights of QTR, Dr. Adnan Abu-Dayya, the Executive Director and CEO of QMIC said “We are excited to announce that for the first time in Qatar, we have a comprehensive traffic data bank and the necessary intelligence and knowhow that will allow us to scientifically report on the status of traffic congestion and assess its impact on mobility and road safety in Qatar. This will also allow us to help authorities and partners to assess the impact of road projects and other events on the mobility behavior in the country. This great achievement would have been possible without the support of our key national partners and the tremendous effort our team has spent in the last few years to develop and deploy one of the most sophisticated traveler info systems in the region”.
QTR can be considered as a traffic index (and a score card) for Qatar over a period of time. Globally, having a traffic index for a country or a region is considered highly desirable and needed to measure and calibrate the road network, to set the right traffic policies and procedures, and to improve urban planning to ensure smoother traffic movement while taking into consideration the ongoing population growth and major infrastructure projects in the country.
The QTR is one of the key outputs of the Masarak System which was fully developed and deployed by QMIC. Masarak represents a comprehensive platform and integrated suite of services serving the areas of Intelligent Transport, Road Safety, and Smart Logistics. In addition to its analytics platform, proprietary technology, and GIS layers, Masarak has its own sophisticated multi-source data collection network comprising of: an extensive fixed sensing network using QMIC’s WaveTraf road sensors (one of the most dense in the world), a large number of Telematics devices installed in fleet vehicles, and crowd-sourced data being contributed by thousands of iTraffic mobile application users.
Having three sources of traffic data has given QMIC the ability to compile the most and only comprehensive bank of traffic and mobility data in Qatar based on collecting hundreds of millions of speed records across the Qatar road network in the last few years.
Mr. Abdulaziz Ahmed Al Khal, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer at QMIC commented by saying: “With such wealth of information and insights, QMIC is very confident that the QTR can help in improving road safety and transport planning in Qatar. This also contributes to one of the action plans listed in QMIC’s “Roadmap to Zero” digital innovations strategy which includes development and deployment of many innovative solutions and services that will play different roles in reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries down to zero once all initiatives are fully implemented”.
Commenting on the results, Dr. Fethi Filali, Head of Technology and Applied Research at QMIC said, “Compared to other countries, traffic congestion levels in Qatar in 2015 seem high. This can be attributed to the fact that a large number of road projects were happening in 2015 which negatively impacted travel times and behavior. In addition, the steady increase in population and vehicles in Qatar during 2015 contributed to the high level of congestion and travel delays. As the road network gets stable with the completion of key road projects, we expect the level of congestion to improve”.
QMIC plans to issue updates to the QTR on a regular basis so that the mobility and congestion behavior in Qatar can be properly tracked and assessed.
The Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) is the first independent innovations center in the region with a focus on developing and deploying smart mobility systems and services. QMIC’s main goal is to use locally engineered innovations and knowledge to create technology-based industries that address regional challenges and grow with mega projects in Qatar and the region. Since 2009, and through its focus, on distributed sensing, data collection & management, services creation and delivery, QMIC is becoming a national leader in the area of Internet of Things (IoT). In particular, QMIC has been leading in delivering IoT platforms, and IoT solutions and services in vertical domains including Intelligent Transport, Logistics & Telematics, Road Safety and Environment. Through its offices at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), QMIC is working closely with key national partners and stakeholders to realize a market-focused innovations ecosystem in Qatar.