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Effectiveness of Ring Roads in Reducing Traffic Congestion in Cities for Long Run: Big Almaty Ring Road Case Study

Nugmanova, Assel; Arndt, Wulf-Holger; Hossain, Mohammad Aslam; Kim, Jong Ryeol

It is common to increase road capacity by constructing ring roads to reduce traffic congestion in city areas, although this is often found to be ineffective in the long run. Accordingly, this study investigates various traffic congestion management approaches and their effectiveness in major cities, and explores an identical transport problem in Almaty, Kazakhstan: The Big Almaty Ring Road (BAKAD). Several case examples from the existing literature are examined in which various approaches were taken for managing traffic congestion problems, and these approaches are classified into three concepts. The first concept comprises heavy engineering measures such as ring road development, new road construction, expansion of existing roads, etc. Such measures can initially reduce traffic congestion, but often become ineffective with time due to the generation of induced traffic. Many cities have taken Push and Pull measures that ensure more efficient use of existing capacity and have initiated environmentally friendly alternative transportation modes such as decreased car usage; promotion of public transport, biking and walking; minimization of the necessity of people’s movement by changing urban land use patterns; and so on. These approaches have been found to be effective in providing sustainable transportation solutions and are classified as concept 2. Nevertheless, Push and Pull measures might not be enough for managing traffic congestion, and it might be necessary to increase the road capacity through heavy engineering measures, especially if the city experiences heavy transit traffic. This combined approach is categorized as concept 3. Consequently, the BAKAD project is examined under the umbrella of three concepts, and recommendations are provided based on the findings from the experience of different cities and interviews with experts from Almaty city. Both the results and recommendations developed are relevant for this specific case only, and are not necessarily transferable.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su11184973, MDPI