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Thu 23 Oct 2008 08:31 AM

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New Saudi traffic system shake-up next year

Intelligent transportation system to be introduced in bid to combat congestion.

A major shake-up in traffic management in Saudi Arabia will be implemented next year, a senior official has announced.

The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) will be introduced to tackle the enormous increase in vehicles on Saudi roads, Colonel Abdulrahman Al-Miqbel, chief of Riyadh Traffic Department, said.

Addressing a conference on the challenges of traffic and transportation in the country's cities, he said the ITS will improve transportation safety and mobility, the Saudi Gazette reported on Thursday.

The ITS includes control and management systems, traffic detectors, variable message signs, and video surveillance cameras using a range of wireless and wire-line communications-based information and electronics technologies, he added. Vehicles in Riyadh make around seven million trips a day  compared with less than a million trips a day 20 years ago, and the figure is expected to grow to 15 million trips a day by 2021.

The conference was also told that a private company was to start issuing of tickets for parking violations in the city.

The company will start its business in downtown Riyadh on King Faisal, Tariq Bin Zayad, and Batha Streets but talks are still to take place to determined how tickets are paid and contested.

The symposium also called for a state-of-the-art bus and subway transportation service within two years to operate on 30 metre-wide streets across the city to help ease traffic congestion.

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