2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference
Dr. Gordon Lovegrove, University of British Columbia, Canada (Presenter)
Kuwait is one of the fastest growing developing countries in the Arabian Peninsula region and is undergoing challenging transportation issues. This rapid growth is expected to continue because of government initiatives aimed at transforming Kuwait into a financial and commercial global investment hub. Kuwait’s rapid growth has already increased the pressure on the existing transportation system. Moreover, the current and future construction projects focus on increasing road capacity, whereas sustainable solutions must consider many interrelated environmental, social, cultural, and economic factors. In reviewing related literature and reports, little in the way of public participation or cultural factors has been found in Kuwait. The research providing the basis for this paper was intended to fill the knowledge gap surrounding the socioeconomic aspects for a comprehensive and sustainable solution, including a better understanding of the culture, and status surrounding the transportation system in Kuwait, and a better understanding of the motivating factors behind users’ choices. By collecting the necessary data, this study provides a primary database towards implementing more efficient and effective public transportation solutions. The objectives were to 1) investigate Kuwaiti’s awareness of transportation problems, 2) examine Kuwaiti’s perceptions of daily traffic congestion and how it affects them emotionally and physically, and 3) study Kuwaiti’s attitude towards using public transit (currently buses). An online survey was used to examine these factors, and a sample of five hundred transportation system users was obtained. The primary findings showed significant associations between the use of the public bus and users’ nationality, gender, age, education, and income level. Men are 2.6 times more likely to use buses, and non-Kuwaiti residents are 6.4 times more likely to use it. In relation to the perceptions of daily traffic congestion, findings indicate that with the increase in travel time, commuters, in general, developed more negative feelings, such as exhaustion and stress. The sample population, by a great deal, is aware of current local transportation problems and future transportation projects. The results of this study fill a gap in the knowledge of socioeconomic and cultural factors that may influence the success of sustainable transportation solutions to the traffic challenges in Kuwait. It is recommended that officials use this new knowledge on cultural factors to develop integrated land use and transportation plans of the urban areas in Kuwait and to develop more effective and sustainable transportation demand management policies.