Recently the university conducted a study on the impact of women driving in the Asir region. The study focused on the impact of licensing women to drive on the region. In addition, the study explored the current state of roads and related infrastructures like parking lots, interchanges, and roundabouts.
The study team involved a variety of governmental stakeholders including:
- The Asir Region Council;
- The General Directorate of Traffic in Asir;
- The Ministry of Transportation;
- The Asir Regional Secretariat;
- The University Agency for Projects;
- The Institute for Research and Advisory Studies;
- The Faculty of Engineering.
One inherent assumption of licensing women to drive is that there will be a significant increase in the amount of vehicular traffic throughout the region. The study was designed to provide an estimate of increased traffic flows and the resulting effects on related infrastructure. Of course, this information will be used for planning purposes for new and improved projects.
The primary methodology for the study was via empirical data collection through electronic resources. The pilot study was conducted in Abha, the capital of the region. The research was conducted under the supervision of Research and Advisory Studies Center Dean, Dr. Abdul Latef Ibrahim Al-Hudaithy. "We studied the potential impact of increased vehicle usage using the Sidra Intersection software package. The digital simulation models gleaned from the study indicate a net demand increase in roadway and related infrastructure usage of approximately 40%," said Dean Al-Hudaithy.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers and stakeholders compiled numerous recommendations designed to alleviate potential difficulties based on increased traffic to wit:
A. Asir Region Secretariat
- Establishing a transportation engineering administration responsible for strategic planning and evaluation;
- Establishing a female traffic safety committee;
- Improving the efficiency of traffic courts;
- Investing in the expansion of parking lots.
B. Asir Transport Unit
The Asir Transport Unit recommended the creation of a new risk and emergency management division with the following responsibilities:
- Preparing general evacuation plans for the road network;
- Establishing a department to measure behavioral trends that lead to accidents;
- Expanding the installation of surveillance cameras to assure compliance and measure road usage in Asir.
C. Administrative Recommendations
- Re-evaluating standards and testing procedures for driver certification;
- Training female leadership in police departments to take on traffic and safety responsibilities;
- Establishing a transportation engineering department in the Faculty of Engineering to improve transport planning throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
D. Ministry of Transportation
- Preparing environmental impact statements on infrastructure plans;
- Establishing a public website to collect feedback from residents;
- Building a regional urban transportation information system;
- Collaborating with the relevant governmental authorities on surface transportation planning and improvement.
The Governor of Asir, HRH Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz, thanked the university and its faculty researchers for their hard work and dedication in conducting this study and proffering thoughtful recommendations for improving transportation in the region.