with Anas Hassan
Head of Roads and Transportation Unit
in Ramallah municipality, Palestine
Can you please introduce yourself and the Transportation and Roads Unit in the Ramallah Municipality?
My name is Anas Hassan, 32 years old, I have been working in Ramallah municipality – roads and transportation unit since 2009, during these years I have been working in different projects related to roads designs, traffic plans, safety auditing, and mobility planning projects.
As I’m today the head of roads and transportation unit in Ramallah municipality, also I’m a member in transport committee in Ramallah governorate, member in technical team for joint cooperation unit for the three cities (Ramallah, Al-bireh, and Bitunia), an external examiner for graduate students in Birzeit university.
Is there a National Transport Policy in Palestine? Is there any kind of coordination with the other Palestinian Munipalities on the transport governance?
There were few studies performed in the area. Over the past several years, the cities of Ramallah, Al-Bireh and Beituniya have undertaken several studies, but with limited scope, relating to transportation or strategic development covering different fields including transportation. A Traffic System Management (TSM) study for the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh was prepared in 1996, The study suggested a five-year action plan with key physical improvements for the traffic systems in the area and recommended institutional capacity building measures. However, some of the suggested improvements have not been implemented for various reasons, including financial constraints. In 2006 a Transportation Sectorial study was prepared as part of the study on Ramallah, Al-Bireh and Beituniya Metropolitan Area (RABMA), which also includes six nearby rural communities. The study identified transport and traffic as major issues facing the development of the area and suggested strategies to deal with these, including the establishment of new corridors and ring roads to relief the mounting traffic congestion within the centers on the cities, and the development of public transportation, among others.
What kind of mobility issues does the Ramallah Municipality have to face?
After second intifada , thousands had moved from the other Palestinian governorates and lived in the Ramallah area. This rapid increase in the area population hinders the ability of municipalities to continue providing high-quality and affordable services. The increase in the area’s population and economic activities resulted in the generation of considerable vehicular trips into an area that was already congested. The Municipality of Ramallah made several road rehabilitation and traffic improvements related to circulations, parking, and public transportation during the last few years. Despite this, traffic conditions, in general, have not considerably improved.
Which modes of transport do you have in Ramallah?
The city has become overloaded road network by the increasing number of privet vehicles and taxis. Analysis of the growth of the number of vehicles during the past few years shows that the average increase in the registered vehicle has reached 10% per annum, which is considered as very high and alarming. This corresponds to about 9 registered vehicles per 10households in the governorate, which is expected to be considerably higher and exceed one registered vehicle per household in the urbanized area. The majority of the vehicles on the streets are automobiles, forming about 60% on the average. Taxis and shared taxis comes second forming about 35%. The rest of about 5% is commercial vehicles and buses. The buses are considerably used for external trips, but the private automobile is heavily used for internal trips. Generally the existing transit system in the city can be described as a Para – Transit system with no fixed routes or fixed time , the system covering about 40% of the city residents .
The existing radial road network of the city suffers from high emissions and congestion levels due to the high level of traffic especially at peak periods which cause low level of service (LOS). This causes considerable increases in travel time, fuel consumption, pollution levels, besides travelers’ frustration.
Can you please introduce the ongoing projects in the urban transport network?
“ In such a small area with rapid population growth, BRT and active modes of transportation to use in order to ensure sustainable, realistic and livable city” , this inspirational quote is one of the strategic goals for the Municipality and this come form The Final study “Developing Spatial Development Framework Plan, Traffic and Transportation Plan” for the three cities project prepared in 2016, had identified, under the objective of improving accessibility and coverage, relevant strategies on enhancing regional integration to include three initiatives. One of these initiatives, which is related to the improvement public transport access, include development of three the public transport terminal stations outside the CBD area, establishing new transit system; high frequency system BRT from the external bus terminals to CBD area, as well as low frequency system serving the neighbourhoods travel demand, and applying Park and Ride system.
The operational condition of the regional and national public transport is deteriorating, Public transport vehicles entering the urban centre, including buses and shared taxis, suffer from, and contribute to, extensive delays due to congestion within the urban center.
The BRT system will contribute in :
- Enhance regional connectivity
- Reduce the congestion and associated environmental impacts, including GHG that contribute to climate change, on the main roads currently used by external public transport vehicles and within the CBD.
- Attract higher share of the passengers to use the new improved public transport system, which will include, as an essential component of it, the proposed new terminal.
- Save in fuel consumption as a result of reduction of the congestion levels.
- Improve safety and save in time lost in traveling as a result of reduction of the congestion levels and improved traffic quality, and thus improve the quality of life of the residents and travellers.
This interview was held 16/08/2017.