Islamabad is one of the most beautiful cities of the world with 2.2 million population but it became very congested city in terms of population and thereby transport vehicles. It is difficult to calculate but almost everyday there are around 100,000 vehicles (from two to multi wheels) that are commuting on the roads of the city. This number is sky rocketing on every day. We do not know when there is an end of the increasing number of people and thereby vehicles in the city. However, it is clear that this number will may double in next ten years adding another half million vehicles. It means the current roads infrastructure that we have in Islamabad will have no space for such a huge volume of traffic. Currently, Islamabad has one of the best road infrastructure in the country and one may can compare it with the rest of the world cities. Road length and width may be very high as compare to the many world capitals but the city lacks citizen’s discipline. This discipline is not limited to the usage of the roads only but other civic amenities as well.
The road with its width is very higher than any other cities I visited. I never realised that those capitals have such level of huge number of road construction as it is happening in and around Islamabad. One can see a road construction is going on and this road construction is on the cost of deforestation. The city administration as well people are cutting thousands and thousands of trees in every year in order to widen the road or for the domestic usage. Meanwhile, the current road infrastructure is already almost full. Capital Development Authority (CDA) is widening it every year and the results are that all these roads are insufficient for the next 5 to 10 years. Another 100,000 vehicles would be adding on the roads of Islamabad only in next 5 years with a total volume about one million vehicles in Islamabad. Already, the city has over 2.2 million population that would be adding up another half million people in next 10 years due to the high volume of urbanisation. Consequently, there will be a need of more roads due to the overpopulation. This city has tonnes of carbon emissions from vehicles every year in the city.
Islamabad is already prone to become the victim of the smog just like Lahore. Nobody has planned or even thought that there would be a strong control on the carbon emissions due to vehicles or other sources of the smoke. The city is witness of the environmental degradation mainly due to the vehicle smoke.
What is the solution to control the vehicles and road expansion? One of the solutions is that the world has given by using available resources with optimum and sustainable way. The city of Islamabad as well as other metropolitan cities have a metro system. Islamabad also planned orange, blue and green lines bus system with a dedicated line across the city and with a centrally control and command system. This bus system will enable millions of the commuters to travel every year as it is already happening in many cities of the world. This public transport can be the cost effective. It will also save the time of the computers. They may enable the city to have a quality of life and well-being of the citizens. It is not possible until unless the government of Pakistan have a strong political will to construct the bus system and run it effectively. CDA can provide wellbeing and good public health to its citizen with a reliable transportation to its citizen.
Sustainable and reliable transportation can be provided by using the smart technologies in order to secure the public safety on road. Safety of the road is the responsibility of the state institution. They are responsible to take the road safety a very serious business and as well as the transportation as a sustainable measure to maintain the quality of the life of people. It is are very serious the business and it should be dealt on war footing so that there is the quality of life for the citizens of the city. If there are not smart solutions with a huge population, the city of Islamabad as well as other metropolitan cities of the country would not be able to entertaining the more citizens coming into it. Even already living people would also be the victim of the road congestion, traffic jams, road crashes, environmental degradation, deforestation and high level of smoke and thereby generating the huge volume of the smog in the city of Islamabad.
If the pace of the vehicle addition continues, the citizen of Islamabad will be unable to go into the foothills of the Margala mountains in near future and enjoying the beauty of the city because the visibility of the city is already fading due to the level of the smog. Unfortunately, it is a matter of concern there the city administration as well as the government of Pakistan is unable even to visualise the seriousness of the smog problem in the city.
It is also equally essential to mention that there must be a strict control on the expansion of the city because the city has already huge number of people living and thereby a huge volume of vehicles is on the road in it. If no control on the increasing population, urbanization, density of vehicles, Islamabad would have deteriorating quality of life in future.