Times of Oman
Your government needs you - to help shape Oman's road safety future
October 11, 2017 | 10:20 PM
by Times News Service
The census will help officials in boosting connectivity and help make Oman a better country
 
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Muscat: Oman is about to undergo the biggest traffic census in its history, and the government wants everyone to take part. The smart-census will target traffic, safety and the roads network to future-proof the Sultanate’s transport systems and target areas of need.

Government surveyors will talk to people at bus stops, taxi ranks and in their homes and cars. The Supreme Council of Planning, announcing the strategy, called on all residents to cooperate.

“There is a need for a high level of participation by users of all modes of transport, households and businesses in answering detailed, yet simple questions about transport use and travel behaviour in the country.”

“Participation from all citizens and residents approached by surveyors is encouraged. This will make a difference and will inform how transport is planned and delivered in the Sultanate.” Road safety experts, business chiefs and residents have all welcomed the move.



Ali Al Barwani, chief executive officer (CEO), Oman Road Safety Association, said: “The Supreme Council is one of the highest authorities in the country after His Majesty, so if they are planning something like this, it will be very good for Oman in the future.”

The Supreme Council for Planning says it is looking for answers to the post-oil challenges in Oman, through the development of the Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS). The strategy will help shape a national framework until 2040 with regional strategies for all governorates. It will also include implementation programmes and proposals for a legal planning framework, a new planning information system and capacity building programmes. The National Transport Survey is starting next week, as part of the Oman National Spatial Strategy.

The Oman National Transport Model will be prepared to support the establishment of an effective transport system to enable sustainable development in the country and to ensure accuracy in planning and decision making.

The Oman National Transport Survey (ONTS) will be carried out over the months of October, November and December 2017 to generate accurate data for the transport sector. ONTS is being undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Royal Oman Police, according to the Supreme Council of Planning.

“The survey includes a range of field surveys to be carried out in all governorates, including interviewing commuters at various transport terminals (bus, airport, seaports, borders crossings), people at their homes, businesses, in their cars, in taxis or on buses,” the council announced.

Everyone using transport in Oman—be it at a harbour, airport, taxi rank or bus station, will have a chance to air their views.

The council added: “The information generated by the survey will be used to build a mathematical model of the transport network and transport use. This model will be used to identify and predict transport requirements for the future and will inform strategic decisions on where to build new transport infrastructure and where to encourage new forms of public transport.”

“The model will also address and provide suitable measures to manage current and future challenges in the country, such as a growing population and economy, road safety issues, dominance of the road sector in the current transport system and the need for wider travel options.

“It will also be used to define approaches to reducing the impact of transport on the wider environment and to define network enhancements to create stronger connectivity and the principal urban areas.”

Road safety campaigner Al Barwani added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to look at the traffic problems facing Oman, because accidents are unfortunately very common on the roads. I would ask all the residents of Oman to cooperate with the Royal Oman Police and the

government when they ask you questions, because they will be taking your opinions very seriously and will be using it to make Oman a better country, so it is very important to tell them how you feel.

“Road safety is the responsibility of everybody in this country.”

Sathish Nambiar, chairman, Indian Social Club, said: “This is an excellent move from the government, because it will help in solving many traffic problems at the ground level that you may not see from above. I would ask all residents to cooperate fully with the government because they are looking to build a better society.”

Lawrence Good, CEO, Mercedes Benz Oman, said: “I think this is an excellent initiative, provided it’s got a very good communication strategy behind it and it’s got good execution with it. I still see way too many people on their phones while they are driving, with their children bouncing around the car with no seatbelts on, but with a policy like this, it is important that it is also reinforced. I think it is a fabulous opportunity for people to have their say and help us build a safer and better society.”

Residents said the census will help authorities know where the traffic is most dense and where the demands are for wider roads with more and more people coming into Oman.

“This will also show where the paths for pedestrians are lacking as there are some roads where there is just no pathway for pedestrians,” Suresh, an Indian expat living in Oman, said.

“Getting a taxi or a transport is a problem in some areas. Hopefully, the government will look into this issue,” another expat said.

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