Effectiveness of Traffic Signals Infrastructure Management System in Kampala City
Agaba, Albert Villey Amooti
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Urban traffic signals placed at intersection of streets are normally congested during rush hour movements leading to increased travel times, travel costs, pollution and inconveniences to the road users. Such settings in developing countries are characterized by heterogeneous road user behavior that when confounded normally makes development of cities very challenging. This phenomenon presents a challenge that has received limited attention through research. The current study examined the effectiveness of traffic signals infrastructure planning and management for Kampala city in Uganda. The study was guided by three objectives namely; (i) assess the predicament of traffic light infrastructure poor performance; (ii) examine the management inefficiencies for traffic signals in the city; and (iii) develop a management strategy to abate the current impasse within the prevailing policy and institutional framework. The study used a sample of 173 stakeholders composed of 116 males and 57 females from different categories selected from seven signalized intersections out of a total of 24 in the whole city. Data were collected from both primary and secondary respondents using questionnaires and an interview guide. The results indicate that signal poor performance of traffic signalized intersections is ascribed to hardship to cross roads, avoidance of time consumption by users, peak hour rushes, load shedding, interference by traffic police, narrow links and poor motor cycling behavior. The planning and management systems for traffic signals is inefficient because of technical, road user and enforcement related aspects including poor organization capacity (lack of skilled staff and poor sensitization of road users); deficient institutional internal systems and corruption. An improved management strategy for assessment, design, operation and preservation of traffic signals in the city has been developed following the conventional phases of effective management. It is recommended that the institutions in charge of traffic signals in the city implement this pragmatic planning and management strategy. Further research should focus on integrated traffic signalization for the entire city and stock taking and appraisal of the signalization.