A freeway or corridor is a long stretch of road connecting various large and small streets intersecting it at various spots. They provide a non stop, comfortable and an easy access to the road users without delays and with less vehicular fuel costs with the presence of grade separated junctions including flyovers and underpasses.
Freeways and corridors are free of regulatory signals or stop signs hereby allowing the vehicles to adopt higher traveling speeds. That is why the corridors are also most commonly known as Signal Free Corridors. Corridors aim at managing traffic, minimizing disruptions and reducing inconveniences experienced by motorists and other road users while traveling.
The interconnection of freeways or corridors by other roads is typically achieved with grade separated facilities in the form of either underpasses or overpasses. Freeways / Signal Free Corridors usually have footpaths attached with it to provide a safe place to walk for the pedestrians. Other than that specialized pedestrian footbridges or tunnels are also provided at various spots along the corridors after careful and detailed study of the pedestrian movement involved at the spots.
These facilities enable pedestrians to cross the freeway at that point without coming on the main roads and risking their lives as the vehicles are moving relatively faster along the signal free corridors. However, these facilities are rendered useless and a waste of the funded money when the pedestrians prefer to cross the busy corridors at grade risking their lives and also the lives of the motorists. Not each hale and healthy citizen is willing to climb the tiring steps of the pedestrian bridges and cross the street safely. This scenario is quite evident in Karachi where the citizens lacking basic civic sense risks their lives and jump off the heavy new jersey barriers installed along the medians of the corridors in order to prohibit road crossing across the streets.
Karachi experienced a vast development in its infrastructure in the last five years with the emerging concept of the signal free corridors. Three corridors have already been completed in these few years and two more are currently in the under construction phase. Though not a permanent solution to the city's ever-growing population and traffic problems, the signal free corridors have eased the traffic problems temporarily for at least ten years. Although the sophisticated and well designed signal free corridors allow for easy, smooth and uninterrupted transitions between busy arterial roads they do have a few drawbacks and shortcomings that need to be looked into. The road safety situation which has now worsen greatly after the construction of these signal free corridors should be considered and proper safety provisions should be devised to overcome this hazard.
Advantages of Freeways or Corridors
- Improve the availability, connectivity and ease of access to all road users
- Improve the economic development of a city
- Improve and support quality of citizen's life
- Improve the environmental conditions with less congestion possibilities which results in higher fuel emissions increasing pollution
- Lesser time costs
- Lesser possibilities of delays, congestion, bottlenecks and road jams
- Meet the future traffic requirements up to a certain level for a certain time period
- Large number of traffic guide signs as the higher speeds reduce decision times
Disadvantages of Freeways or Corridors
- Higher and occasionally non existent speed limits
- Worsen the road safety conditions as an abrupt
- Higher accident costs
- Higher construction costs
- Not a permanent solution keeping in view the city's ever growing traffic related problems and requirements
- Higher frequency of wrong way movement as the u-turns are lesser in number at located at far away distances.