J. Aoun, E.M. Choueiri, E. Otayek
Traffic congestion, a severe problem in many developing countries, has become a universal phenomenon. For more than 25 years, almost since the end of hostilities in Lebanon, the transportation sector has been facing numerous problems due mainly to bad road infrastructure, an increasing number of vehicles and a quasi-absent public transportation system. Local and foreign transportation researchers and experts have suggested a number of solutions over the years to alleviate traffic congestion problems in Lebanon, such as variable operating schedules, constructing bridges and interchanges, implementing boat taxis, adopting public transport like BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), restoring the railway tracks, etc. However, only a few of these suggestions have been implemented so far. A proper planning of transportation in cities entails an understanding of the dynamics of both transport demand and supply. Since there are limited land spaces in Lebanon, building additional roadways has become quite difficult and at the expense of the remaining agricultural and natural areas, and could lead to additional harmful pollutants entering the air, land and water. In this respect, adopting a UST (Unitsky String Transport) may be the most suitable solution to tackle the many problems facing the transport sector in Lebanon, especially on the mostly congested coastal roadway section between Jounieh and Beirut. Traffic-related problems are prevalent at the entrances to the capital city of Beirut in the North, South, and East. These major corridors experience an average speed of 10-30 km/hr, and cause a 50% to 70% increase in trip times. This indirectly affects the Lebanese economy that is losing a total of $2 billion (5% of GDP) a year due to this inefficient traveling. In order to gain a better view of public opinion on, and acceptance of the suggested system, a survey was conducted, the results of which are presented in this article.
Keywords: traffic congestion; UST (Unitsky String Transport); SkyWay; Lebanon