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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Many motorists caught off guard by new speed limit on Doha Expressway

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New 80km/hour speed limit on expressway.
New 80km/hour speed limit on expressway.

An apparently sudden reduction in the speed limit on the Doha Expressway has sparked confusion and surprise among some Qatar residents.

Signs on the busy thoroughfare, which initially showed a 100km/hour limit, changed on Thursday night to reflect a new maximum top speed of 80km/hour.

On social media over the weekend, residents reported seeing the new signs on the stretch of the road that runs from the intersection with Salwa Road north past Landmark Mall.

Some questioned the safety implications of rolling out such a significant change on the route without first notifying the public.

Others were unclear if the road’s speed radars have been adjusted to reflect the new limit.

https://twitter.com/tamumirza/status/558976068242374656

https://twitter.com/TeamPistonBroke/status/558945386346201088

According to a Traffic Department official who spoke to Arabic daily newspaper Al Raya, the new, reduced limit is part of a trial to see if slower speeds will ease congestion and cut the number of accidents on the road.

Gulf Times translates the unnamed source as saying that during the trial period, traffic flow and the number of accidents on the road would be monitored to see if safety and congestion is improved. If the move proved successful, it could be implemented permanently.

A Qatar-based traffic advisor told Doha News that drivers should follow the new limits and drive accordingly, to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

“If the signs say 80 kph, you should take that as your maximum, and drive accordingly,” he said.

However, he added that not all cameras are calibrated to exactly measure the speed drivers are going, and as a result, there is usually a margin of error of around 10 percent above the recorded speed of a driver before they are issued a ticket.

Expressway woes

Since the expressway opened to traffic in 2010 as a means of improving connections between north and south Doha, congestion has steadily grown on the route, and it has regularly become the source of serious accidents.

During peak periods in the mornings and evenings, traffic crawls along the road, often barely getting above 20km/hour.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In frustration, some drivers can be seen flouting traffic laws by using the hard shoulder/emergency lane to bypass long queues.

To improve safety and ease congestion, the Traffic Department has introduced a number of initiatives in recent years.

In 2013, an “eye in the sky” helicopter patrol unit began monitoring congestion during peak hours, advising on-the-ground patrol units about traffic patterns, accidents and potential trouble spots.

And in June last year, unmarked police patrol units began ticketing drivers who flout road rules, particularly when they believed they were out of sight of authorities.

Accidents up

Still, as Qatar’s population continues to grow, and there are more cars on the roads, the number of accidents also rises.

November was one of the most dangerous months last year to be on Qatar’s roads, as official figures recorded a total of 25 deaths from traffic accidents.

Figures for major and minor accidents were also up on previous months.

The statistics come amid an ongoing debate about how to improve safety on the roads, with many residents calling for stricter enforcement of the rules as the only way to bring about a change in driving habits.

Thoughts?

48 COMMENTS

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Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

I welcome this move. It will not only reduce the accident rate but will keep traffic moving. There is also the added benefit of reduced emissions and fuel saving.

Eduardo Kawak
Eduardo Kawak
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Reducing the speed limit may reduce the accident rate, but how will driving slower ease traffic congestion? The problem is three fold: 1. too many cars 2. not enough road 3. arrogant, discourteous drivers, who court danger by either tailgating or making dangerous moves.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago
Reply to  Eduardo Kawak

The concept of reducing speed limits to reduce traffic congestion is based on the “Pepsi theory” – the idea that pouring a glass of fizzy pop slowly and smoothly into a glass is better than a quick pour that creates a frothy mess.

There’s also the “red light domino effect” where as soon as the car in front brakes and the rear brake lights come on, cars behind will, in turn, put their brakes on. The faster the speed, the more cars break and the chance of slowing down or even stopping is increased. Leaving a good space between the car in front also helps to reduce this effect.

What’s really needed is a Variable Speed Limit System that raises or lowers the speed limit depending on the amount of traffic. This would mean that at 2pm and 6pm (rush hours) the limit would be 80km/h and at 2am (low traffic) it would be 100km/h.

kdineshl
kdineshl
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

It might work if/when everyone obey the maximum speed limit all the time. But mostly (somebody has mentioned above as well) I have seen people follow their own maximum speed until they encounter a camera where they reduce to the allowed maximum, and then speedup again.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Eduardo Kawak

and no planning! That expressway is already too out-dated with 3 lanes

CeePeeEm
CeePeeEm
6 years ago

This was an imposing news in the front page of Gulf Times yesterday, and I believe it would have been published in other newspapers as well. Looks like most of the drivers do not see/read newspapers….at least you can avoid surprises of this sort.

greylag
greylag
6 years ago
Reply to  CeePeeEm

Most new drivers here would not know the name of the section of freeway named in the newspaper article. Tell them ‘section of Shamal Expressway under Salwa Road’ and they might get it. Section where D Ring joins E Ring will still be a problem ( 5 lanes into 3), and most people know where the cameras are anyway.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  greylag

Perhaps you and your new drivers need to get a map and start calling things by their real names especially when we’re talking about Doha Expresway! How ignorant. It only takes a second to look at the map and figure out the most visible expressway is called Doha Expressway! Jeez.

AA
AA
6 years ago
Reply to  greylag

Perhaps you and your new drivers need to get a map and start calling things by their real names especially when we’re talking about Doha Expresway! It only takes a second to look at the map and figure out the most visible expressway is called Doha Expressway! Jeez.

greylag
greylag
6 years ago
Reply to  AA

Well, not if the article refers to it as Al Amir St. or 22 February St. Pull out YOUR map and take a look; that’s also what mine says. And not a new driver here.

Aussiegirl
Aussiegirl
6 years ago
Reply to  CeePeeEm

Considering that the signs changed on Thursday night they might have considered putting it in the paper on Thursday rather than 2 days later. Thank goodness for social media alerting us on Friday morning.

Paul
Paul
6 years ago

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. (A. Einstein)

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Online MBA holder?

Paul
Paul
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Why do you care to know?

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

LOL

Anis Ahmad
Anis Ahmad
6 years ago

A very good move… Fully support…

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

They should place LED speed limit signs that change the speed limit depending on what the police observes from their helicopters and the time of the day. It makes sense to make the speed limit 80 during the morning when cars turning to Salwa Rd. are jammed all the way out 1km on the expressway, but during other (free) times of the day people should be able to even go at 120km/hr provided there is no risk.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

That’s exactly what is being planned

Joe
Joe
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

oh wow!

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I travel that road at different times. It’s never not busy so in my opinion it should permanently be 80

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I like ‘managed motorways’ as a concept – i much prefer to be moving at a lesser speed, than one minute travelling at 90km/hr and the next being standstill.
You mention that you would like to see the police change the speed limit depending on the conditions. Out of interest, what if the police observed the conditions require a 30 or 40km/hr limit?

Joe
Joe
6 years ago
Reply to  Bo

We’re already driving at that speed (30-40) due to rush hour, so I dont see what point youre trying to make here…

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

They are planning to have the whole highway connected to a National Commend Center where is would be monitored 24 hrs… Emergency lanes would be opened at times of peak traffic to ease congestion and speed limits adjusted to the time of day or weekend.. Also several police parking spots will be placed where tow trucks would parked 24/7 with clean up crews so to quickly open up closed lanes due to traffic accidents …

Also all buses, trucks small and big, food transport vechilces and such will not be allowed to used to road during peak hours

Mike
Mike
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Source?

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

It is unfortunate they have to spend money doing this because they made a crucial mistake in building it to begin with. They built it to accommodate the traffic at the time and not the projected traffic/population. I hope with future highways they study other conjested cities’ solutions to traffic to bring the best solution here from other experiences.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

Is there Qatar-based traffic advisor…? A M.I.T. graduate? Really?

“If the signs say 80 kph, you should take that as your maximum, and drive accordingly,” he said. The discovery of hot water!

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

lame as usual

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

And stupid as usual, the lameness is expected by now.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

okay chill

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

What is the speed limit between the speed cameras? Mr. Landcruiser…

Good move – gives more time to react to the ‘drivers’ we have here

Need to reduce the speed of E ring road to 80 – 100 is too fast for a dual carriage way. No central barrier as well.

Need speed limits in resident areas as well – have ijits speeding outside my compound gate.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

That road was obsolete the day it was opened. Need to build for the future, like the Emirates does, not for yesterday.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

“A Qatar-based traffic advisor told Doha News that drivers should follow the new limits and drive accordingly, to avoid getting a speeding ticket.”

Where can I get this job, I have more ground breaking information to release.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

I’m curious what he gets paid to issue such pearls of wisdom.

M_QTR
M_QTR
6 years ago

Good move, but most of drivers will only slow down on speed cameras and again push the gas paddle as soon as they get out of the range of radar. and go flashing light and tailgating vehicles in front even above 100 kmph.

Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago
Reply to  M_QTR

This will likely cause more accidents as speeding drivers will now have to slow to 80 km ph for the speed cameras.

carlsburg
carlsburg
6 years ago

The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Which best describes adding new rules and laws when the existing ones are not respected nor enforced and expecting a different outcome. It is not the lack of rules or laws, it is the absents of respect and enforcement of the existing laws combined with the entitlement attitude of local drives that is the primary factor in the mounting accident rate. Until law enforcement removes their collective heads from their smart phones and finds a back bone and adequate testosterone to stop, cite and arrest those driving too fast, blocking roads while cutting queues and driving recklessly the accident rate will continue or grow. The fix lays with the Traffic Police acting in the best interest of the County to enforce existing laws and good driving practices. It’s not the speed, it is the drives!

Heavy handed enforcement is the answer. What will it take for the government to wake up and say “enough” to the carnage!!!!

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

The guys making the tweets in the article – they need to get off their Twitter account and read the news (online or paper). Gulf times had a front page article on the change 2 days back – although they referred it to 22nd Feb road – which is correct.

http://www.gulf-times.com/mobile//qatar/178/details/424356/accidents-prompt-lower-speed-limit-on-feb-22nd-street

round-abouts
round-abouts
6 years ago

The real logic is the following. If they put a 100km/h sign, people will go at 120km/h. So to get people to actually go at 100km/h, they’re putting up 80km/h signs.

R_Chow
R_Chow
6 years ago
Reply to  round-abouts

Unrealistic and imposed traffic speed is dangerous – from many many researches done on this subject. I wonder if the authourities have heard about ’85th percentile speed’ for determining safe speed limits. This type of experiment using human beings is unheard of! On top of that you never mention that the speed cameras are calibrated at 10% higher speed limits to the public and expect them to adhere to the speed limits – this is ridiculous (even if people already know it).

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

I expected this one :

MEHAR ALI
MEHAR ALI
6 years ago

my ..500 QR ….GOING…..

zoeval
zoeval
6 years ago

and of course there’s always the option of developing a decent public transport system

J_QTR
J_QTR
6 years ago

wrong move, most of the people here dont know the driving rules, you get tailgated and flashed on only or mostly on the left lane which is the (((overtaking lane)) ((people get it in your head the left lane is meant for overtaking, right lane for driving on the speed limit and the left lane is for people who dont want to drive the speed limit))
every single day i see this on the express way people driving on the left lane doing 80 or even 60 when the speed was 100km and there is no car infront of them and 10 cars are just stuck behinde this car cause he doesnt want to change lanes (( why )) ((you dont own the road)) the road is for all other motorist .
other people stay on the left lane where they can actally move to the middle but dont just to piss you off , then they get get flashed on but still not move ((why)) this really makes other motorists including me mad, while others just switch lanes without even indicating and switching lane to the overtaking lane without turn signals could seriously cause accidents
now getting back to the speed limit 100 to 80 ( now people are going to drive 60 on the overtaking lane or the fast lane and am 100 percent sure they are going to cause serious accidents)
For the last time people (( you dont own the road )) give way to all motorists , respect them and be polite to them and you will have a nice day.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  J_QTR

The inside lane is for driving at or below the speed limit. The other two lanes are for overtaking. The middle lane should not be full when the inside lane is mostly empty. When you overtake another vehicle you should get back as soon as the maneuver is complete. You should not flash someone who is overtaking other slower vehicles- you don’t have some right of way, you shouldn’t be going over the speed limit in any caSe , its called a LIMIT.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

Schooled. Thumbs up.

AA
AA
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

Schooled. Thumbs up.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago

Is it just me, or is the signage pretty poor too?
With so many roads having different ‘normal’ limits and then all the construction work too instructing ‘temporary’ limits (although some road users view these both as more advisory limits), if i’m ever on an unfamiliar road and miss the first sign, it can seem like forever before there’s another sign letting me know the speed – and quite often a camera inbetween.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

Stop Flashing!! It is incredibly rude and annoying to be overtaking slower vehicles and having someone, driving way in excess of the speed limit, roaring up and flashing, when there is clearly no way to pull in until past the slower vehicles. How stupid, arrogant and rude can you be? You don’t own the road no matter how big your phallic substitute aka LC is. The more you flash, the closer you get, the more I will ignore you and drive safely to complete my maneuver without risking my life or the lives of the occupants of the vehicles I am overtaking. Get over it, you may live longer

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