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Istanbul Commuters Lose 3.5 Years of Their Lives to Traffic!

A recent report by the “Dataritim Data Research Group,” comprising academics from four Turkish universities, has shed light on the significant impact of traffic congestion on the lives of Istanbul residents. The study, which analysed Istanbul’s traffic over nine years, reveals that city dwellers spend an average of 3.5 years of their lives in traffic. This staggering figure is further emphasised by the finding that commuters who face traffic twice daily spend nearly seven hours weekly in transit, equivalent to a full day’s work.

Dr. Serkan Gürsoy, a research group member, highlighted the multifaceted nature of the losses caused by traffic congestion. These losses extend beyond mere time wastage, affecting energy, health, economy, and overall quality of life, thereby hampering the city’s development. The traffic situation in Istanbul is not just a daily inconvenience but a significant obstacle with broad-reaching implications.

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Moreover, traffic congestion in Istanbul is ranked as the third most significant urban problem after issues related to earthquakes and economic challenges. This congestion severely restricts mobility, impacting access to essential city amenities like work, education, healthcare, and recreational spaces. It also leads to increased costs and contributes to social inequalities. Dr. Gürsoy pointed out that traffic can limit or expand the life experiences of city dwellers, potentially leading to disparities in personal development and societal progress.

Addressing traffic problems requires a nuanced understanding and clear identification of the issues. The research group emphasises using smart technologies to uncover these problems, intensify measurements, and reduce costs, adhering to the principle that effective management stems from accurate measurement.

Personal accounts from Istanbul residents highlight the daily struggles with traffic. For instance, Rahmi Ertekin and Mehmet Güldan describe spending 2.5-3 hours on buses, with travel times significantly reduced when using the metro. Suggestions for improving traffic include implementing alternate-day vehicle usage based on license plate numbers and integrating the Metrobus system into the subway network. Additionally, Eren Tonbaş, a commuter from Ümraniye to Beylikdüzü, mentions spending 1.5 hours in transit due to frequent breakdowns and transfers in the Metrobus system.

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Cumhur Kavdır, another Istanbul resident, spends about three hours in traffic daily, halving this time using a scooter during good weather. Özgenur Kardoğan, who travels from Kartal to Ümraniye for work, experiences heavy traffic just minutes after starting her journey. These experiences underscore the necessity of enhancing public transport and reducing private vehicle usage to alleviate traffic congestion.

In summary, the traffic woes of Istanbul not only rob its residents of valuable time but also have profound implications for their health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life. Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach, leveraging technology, and rethinking urban transport strategies.

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Further Reading

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