This paper concentrate on the problems associated with road congestion, solutions and recommendation, road congestion has other hazards that we may not be aware; the problem of road traffic congestion can be resolved through the use of road pricing, fuel levies and the improvement and expansion of both roads and the railway lines. The objective of this paper is to inform on the unrecognized problems associated with road traffic congestion and also to bring forth the possible solutions to road traffic congestion. The most practical and reliable method of solving this problem is the use of road pricing, however as we shall see in the paper the issue of improvising our roads such that we could shift boundaries and the direction of lanes would be a good solution and only if engineers and architectures prove otherwise, however the paper recommends that a mixture of all possible solutions should be used because as the saying goes together we stand but when we are single we fall, therefore I recommend that a mixture of all the possible solutions should be used.


1. Problems associated with road traffic congestion


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a) Environmental

b) Time wastage

c) Health hazard

d) Economic cost

1. Solution to road traffic congestion

a) Road pricing

i. Advantages of road pricing

ii. Disadvantages of road pricing

b) Fuel levies

i. Advantages of fuel levies

ii. Disadvantages of fuel levies


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c) Expansion and improvisation of rail way lines

i. Advantages of expansion and improvisation

ii. Disadvantages of expansion and improvisation

d) Elimination of roundabouts

1. Conclusion

2. Recommendation

3. References

4. Appendixes


Road traffic congestion is a situation that is characterized by high number of vehicles on a road that leads to low speed and longer time taken for a trip, road congestion has its negative effects on both the owners of vehicles and also to the environment, some of these negative effects include pollution, increased economic costs, stress and time wastage and increased health hazards to the individuals.


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Negative effects of traffic congestion:

The Environment:

Traffic congestion increases the time used for a certain trip, this means that the vehicles will be more likely to emit more pollutant gases into the atmosphere as compared to travel where there is less traffic. Pollution includes both air and sound pollution, air pollution will degrade the environment and some of these minerals are emitted which degrades the environment include sulphur, lead and carbon dioxide. Once the environment is degraded by these gases it poses some health hazards such as acid rain which may cause damage to property and also skin cancer.

Global warming is the major environmental effect that is associated with pollution, it is the current issue of concern and traffic congestion can be linked as a source of global warming.

Time wastage:

In times of traffic snarl ups too much is wasted that could have been used to conduct other economic activities, many business opportunities are lost due to this inefficiency caused by traffic congestion, it can also be associated with causing lateness to a person who may be urgently needed somewhere, it may also hamper emergency cases such as ambulances may be unable to reach hospitals on time causing even loss of lives.


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Health hazards:

People in traffic jams experience road rage, this leads to stress and other stress related diseases, lives may be lost in traffic jams especially during emergencies not only due to slow emergency vehicles but also to lateness of such professionals like doctors who may be late to attend victims due to traffic. Another health hazard is the exposure of commuters to the pollutant gases, the congestion of vehicles concentrates the pollutant gases and this poses great health danger. Skin cancer is associated with acid rain as a result of the pollutant gases.

Economic cost:

The amount of excess fuel lost during traffic congestion is far too much and this cost is borne by the owner, other cost could be associated with social cost such as the environment and also the cost incurred to repair vehicles which spend more time idling in traffic congestion, acid rain may also lead damage of property leading to unnecessary loss to the economy, the total economic cost is too high and strategies should be set in place to avoid this costs which are avoidable.

The economic and social cost of road traffic congestion can be diagrammatically represented as follows:

Marginal social cost

Marginal private cost


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F0  F1

Traffic flow

Congestion cost

The diagram by Button (1991) depicts the optimum traffic flow which is F0 and that F1 shows a traffic flow that brings about higher congestion cost compared to the traffic flow F0, at traffic flow F1 we have congestion and there is a welfare loss whose value is derived from the shaded


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area, therefore the most optimal point that maximizes welfare is the point where the marginal cost curve intercepts the demand curve D and this point is depicted by the transport flow F0. However the lower marginal private cost of congestion cost can be explained by the imposition of levies on road users which will force people to use public transport rather than use personal means and therefore their private costs will reduce.


Road traffic congestion problem could be solved through the use of road pricing, tax levies on fuel prices and the improvement and improving road and rail way transport, this solutions are individual analyzed below in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

Road pricing:

Road pricing refers to charges levied on road users, this levies are collected directly from road users through setting up infrastructures called tolls and the differentiation of pricing during peak and off peak hours would be a solution to road congestion because for one having the assumption that road users are rational and will try to utilize the roads during off peak hours due to low toll charges and therefore this would help solve the problem of congestion, another rationale concerning road pricing is that les people will use private means of transport due to the extra cost levied on vehicles and therefore they will use public means of transport.


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Advantages of road pricing:

a. It helps solve the problem of road congestion and therefore this could be reliable way of decongestion.

b. It is a source of revenue to road authorities and this revenue could be used to improve the existing roads and even expanding the available road infrastructure that will help decongest roads during peak hours.

c. It discourages private means of transport through the extra private cost imposed in form of levies and therefore in some way helps reduce the negative effects of congestion such as pollution.

d. It does not harm the poor because very few poor people own cars and therefore helps improve inequalities due this revenue that may be diverted to improve other facilities that may improve the welfare of the poor.

e. Creates employment in that the toll stations established will require personnel who previously were not employed and therefore would improve unemployment rates.

Disadvantages of road pricing:

a. However good road pricing is it cannot be used to resolve the problem of environmental degradation; the administrators will be less concerned about the environment.


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b. Will force middle income earners to use public means of transport which will make them feel inferior.

c. People may find the toll charges very negligible and may not respond to the levies imposed and therefore the problem of traffic congestion will still persist.

d. The process of setting up toll stations and employing a large number of people may tend to be cumbersome and may require high administrative costs.

e. The toll stations may themselves be a cause of traffic congestion in that it will require them to serve many vehicles at the same time and therefore will slow traffic.

Fuel levies:

The government may impose fuel levies that may ease the problem of traffic congestion, fuel levies will increase the retail price of fuel prices used by the vehicles and this will discourage people from using private means of transport and rather rely on public means of transport.

However this will have some disadvantages which include inflation and loss of confidence in the existing government due to such policies. The fuel levies can be diagrammatically expressed below

Quantity of fuel

Price of fuel


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Q1          Q0

Demand curve

Supply curve

When the fuel levy is imposed, the price rises from P0 to P1 and therefore the equilibrium shifts and our new quantity demanded shifts from Q0 to Q1.


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Advantages of fuel levies:

a. Will help solve the problem of traffic congestion in that levies will increase the price of fuel and therefore people will be discouraged to use private means of transport.

b. The revenue collected will be used to improve road infrastructure and also the expansion of the existing infrastructure.

Disadvantages of fuel levies:

a. From the history of fuel prices the price of fuel has being fluctuating upwards but the demand for fuel still remains unchanged.

b. When the price of fuel goes up then this could cause inflation in the entire economy


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because in all the economic sectors fuel is a direct or indirect input in production.

c. Due to the fact that the fuel price will cause inflation this will affect the entire economy and therefore affect the poor and therefore create more degrees of inequality.

Expansion and improvisation of existing roads and railway:

Another solution would be the expansion of road networks through increasing the number of lanes available, most of the time traffic congestion occurs in the morning and late in the afternoon, at this time in the morning the lanes towards a town centers are usually congested while the other lanes are usually idle, in the after noon still the traffic out of the town centre are the ones that are jammed, if only we would build roads that are adjustable in that in the morning vehicles can still use the other lanes that head in the opposite direction then this will save money and resources to build other roads.

We could also ease road congestion through establishing and improving railway means of transport, underground electric trains are usually faster than road transport and that they accommodate a large number of commuters at the same time, these railway stations should offer discounts to monthly payment of transport services where one pays for a mega rider ticket for one month that will be highly discounted.


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Advantages of expansion and improvisation:

a. It would solve the problem of traffic congestion.

b. Improvising adjustable lanes will require less resource than building other roads.

c. Use of railway lines would at a large extent reduce the cost intended to reduce congestion.

Disadvantages expansion and improvisation:

a. Expansion will mean that the government has to spend some large sums of money; it would cost a lot of money to construct other roads.

b. Shifting lanes may be very cumbersome and may be practically impossible, it may also cause confusion to drivers and may also increase accidents occurrence.


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Elimination of round about:

Another solution to road traffic is the removal of roundabouts in the road network, roundabouts are one of the factors that hinder traffic flow and they should be replaced with fly over where necessary, this would help ease traffic control, one disadvantage of this method is that it would require a lot of money to construct the flyovers and also it would contribute to traffic congestion during the construction period.

Encourage air transport:

Air transport is a means of transport that is not highly utilized, the government should come in and reduce transportation costs that are affordable to people and this will help solve the problem of congestion, low costs will encourage people to travel by air and this will result in less occurrences of traffic congestion, at the same time the rich and the middle income earners will prefer this means of transport and therefore the problem of inferiority of traveling by train is solved.


All the above solutions should be used at the same time and this should be referred as the use of a mixed strategy where all efforts to reduce road congestion will be used, this is the only best solution to congestion, although all the methods to ease congestion in one way or another require resources to initiate them, the initial resources are necessary because when the strategy is formulated this would mean that no other costs will be incurred and we will have reduced traffic congestion, the most unutilized means of transport is air transport, the government should initiate a strategy that offers air transport and cheap rates and this would mean constructing more airports, people will not feel inferior while traveling with air transport, in this case they will want to travel more by air.


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I. Encourage the use of air transport through reduced air ticket costs

II. Expanding the railway network and improving railway transport

III. The use of road pricing

IV.      Use of all the possible solutions

V. Expansion of roads and improvising roads to accommodate more traffic


Elimination of roundabouts and replacing them with flyovers where necessary


Imposing levies on fuel


Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (2007) Traffic congestion problems and solution, retrieved on 18th April, available at www.enwikipedia.org


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