Transport minister vows to ease traffic gridlock

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Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos pledges to significantly reduce traffic congestion on Cyprus roads with various measures and initiatives.

In an interview with CNA, Karousos said that traffic at the entry point of Nicosia could be slashed by 25% with the delivery of the first phase of the ring road, smart traffic lights and a comprehensive bus lane network.

He argued that flexible working hours for the civil service and schools would also improve the situation as studies have shown that such changes will improve traffic by 6%.

And he believes creating a train network is more feasible than a tram system.

“Traffic is a problem that troubles everyone, projects which are underway or will be carried out promise significant improvement”.

Karousos outlined measures and initiatives promoted by the ministry that address traffic gridlock.

He said the construction of the ring road in Nicosia, the introduction of smart traffic lights, the construction of a split-level roundabout on the Nicosia – Limassol highway, which will link the highway with Stavrou Avenue and flexible working hours for the civil service.

He added that these measures are divided into three categories: large projects which will decongest the entrance of Nicosia, technology on traffic management, and public transport.

Karousos said Road Safety is a significant issue with the ministry increasing the budget from €150,000 to €1 million per annum.

He argued traffic accidents have dropped by 33.7%, especially following the introduction of traffic cameras in early 2022.

On traffic congestion, Karousos said that the problem is exacerbated between 07:00 and 08:30 and in the afternoon hours when people return home from work.

The €75-million Nicosia ring road that should be completed by the end of 2023 will reduce traffic at the capital’s entrance by 25%, and improvements at the Hippokratous and Argiroupoleos Avenues will further facilitate decongestion.

He noted that introducing smart traffic lights would lead to further improvements, pointing out that studies have shown they reduce congestion by 10% to 35%.

The minister announced that installing smart traffic lights will begin in January 2023, while establishing a traffic management centre that will use smart systems is underway.

He noted that 80 and 45 smart traffic lights would be installed in Nicosia and Limassol, respectively, which will manage traffic using artificial intelligence and sensors.

This technology is used in the Ayia Fyla roundabout in Limassol, with data showing that travel time has been reduced by 50%.