Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos vowed that the traffic congestion problem in Cyprus can be significantly addressed or even resolved with the implementation of a plan involving various measures and initiatives.
In an interview with CNA Karousos said that traffic at the entry point of Nicosia, can be slashed by 25% with the delivery of the first phase of the Nicosia Ring Road, with smart traffic lights as of January 2023 and a complete bus lane network. Karousos also noted that flexible working hours for the civil service and the education system will also improve the situation as studies have shown that such changes will improve traffic by 6%.
Furthermore, Karousos said that the creation of a train network is more feasible than a tram system.
Karousos said the introduction of smart traffic lights will lead to further improvements, pointing to studies that show congestion has improved where smart traffic lights have been introduced
"Traffic is a problem that troubles everyone,” the Transport Minister said, insisting that the projects which are under way or will be carried out “are promising significant improvement,” or even a solution to the problem.
In his interview with CNA, Karousos outlined each measure and initiative promoted by the Ministry, noting these could address the problem of traffic congestion.
He placed special emphasis on the construction of the ring road in Nicosia, the introduction of smart traffic lights, the start of construction works for the uneven roundabout in the Nicosia – Limassol highway which will link the highway with Stavrou Avenue, the introduction of flexible working hours for the civil service and education, as well as the study on a complete bus lane network for the capital.
These measures, he added, are divided in three categories, namely large projects which will decongest the entrance of Nicosia, technology on traffic management, as well as public transport.
Moreover, Karousos stressed that Road Safety is a significant issue with the Ministry increasing the budget allocated to that purpose from €150,000 to €1 million per annum.
He noted that following the implementation of a series of actions and amendments to the legislation, traffic collisions have dropped by 33.7%, while he cited statistical data showing that traffic accidents have declined 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.
On Nicosia, Karousos pointed out that the €75-million ring road estimated to be completed by the end of 2023 will reduce cars at Nicosia’s entrance point by 25%, adding that the improvements at the Hippokratous and Argiroupoleos Avenues will further facilitate decongestion.
Furthermore, he noted that the introduction of smart traffic lights will lead to further improvements, pointing out that studies shown that where smart traffic lights have been introduced congestion has been improved from 10% to 35%.
The Minister announced that the installation of smart traffic lights will begin in January 2023 while the establishment of a traffic management centre that will use smart systems is underway.
As he noted, 80 and 45 smart traffic lights will be installed in Nicosia and Limassol respectively which will manage traffic using artificial intelligence and sensors.
He also recalled that this technology has been used in the Ayia Fyla roundabout in Limassol with data showing that travel time has been reduced by 50%.