During the second day of the first Smart Traffic Middle East 2015 conference, Ministry of Interior Traffic expert Dr Atef Gareeb also revealed that ‘big data’ being gathered on the capital’s roads will also be made public in order to raise the level of awareness among road users.
“We are just waiting for the Variable Message Signs to be ready so that we can warn drivers when they should adjust their speeds and then the adaptable radars will detect those who do not comply by the rule changes. Additionally, as part of our awareness initiatives, we are going to make the big data we have collected open to the public. This includes the number of fatalities due to running red lights, for example, so that they are able to see how much negative behaviour on the road can affect them and others,” Gareeb told Gulf News.
Despite all the ways in which smart traffic systems can make roads safer for users, experts agree that face-to-face violations are the best way to make drivers abide by the rules.
“We can use the traffic systems to educate them before we issue violations but, according to our research for the past four or five years, we have found that a face-to-face approach is definitely the most efficient,” he added.
Yet, police efforts have managed to cause a noticeable decline in the number of fatalities due to road accidents by up to 40 per cent from 2009 to 2014, and pedestrian fatalities by 35 per cent despite a 52 per cent and 58 per cent increase in the number of registered drivers and vehicles during the same period respectively.
“Although the number of road deaths is going down much better than we had anticipated in our plan for zero accident casualties by 2030, the next five years are going to be very hard. It is, therefore, our mission to not only collect but also use and analyse the big data that we have gathered about the capital’s roads,” the expert said.
Such use of collected information is seen in scenarios where a drop in volume and average speed of vehicles is seen on highways. “This recently happened on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai Road and, upon accessing our CCTV surveillance on the road, we discovered that there was a major traffic jam that we had to tackle by diverting traffic or rerouting trucks,” Gareeb added.
Similarly, big data caused researchers to deduce that youth are the main cause of vehicle and motorcycle accidents in the capital.
“This is attributed to the percentage of individuals who are in their age group because many people come to the UAE to work and so there is a larger portion of people who are between the ages of 18 and 65,” he said.