By Khaled Neimat

AMMAN – With almost a million cars expected to enter Kingdom this summer, concerned authorities are gearing up to tackle the challenge.

Both the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and the Public Security Department’s (PSD) Traffic Department have drawn up plans to deal with road congestion, officials said on Tuesday.

Khaled Hadadin, director of the GAM traffic department, said the municipality will install 15 new cameras next month in different locations in the capital to monitor any traffic jams.

This is part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the impact of the expected increase in the number of cars in Amman this summer, he added.

“We have already installed three cameras over the past couple of days,” Hadadin said, indicating that GAM is trying to align its plan with traffic police preparations.

“Our plan also entails opening new roads to reduce traffic congestion in certain areas and streets in the capital, and encouraging owners of empty plots of land to turn them into parking lots,” he said.

“However, all these preparations will mean nothing unless residents and visitors cooperate with our teams and with the traffic police,” Hadadin added.

Meanwhile, the PSD’s Traffic Department will launch a two-part plan to address the issue, according its director of public relations, Lt. Col. Maen Khasawneh.

The first part will be devoted to increasing awareness among residents and visitors, starting from the borders, to educate them on traffic violations, he said.

“We will draw their attentions to the most frequently committed traffic violations last year, including failure to wear seatbelts and using mobile phones while driving,” Khasawneh noted.

Traffic police will encourage people to use public transport instead of their own cars, particularly in shopping areas and festival locations, he added.

Under the second part of its plan, the department will increase the number of traffic police, working at full capacity during the summer, and deploying more accident investigation patrol cars and personnel to ensure swift handling of accidents whenever and wherever they occur, Khasawneh said, noting that these measures need the public’s support to achieve their objectives.

However, some taxi drivers in Amman expressed their concerns about the traffic situation over the next few months.

One of them is Abu Ahmad, an accountant who operates a taxi in the evenings to supplement his income.

“This year is going to be hard for us… Ramadan will be in August with high temperatures and more cars on the streets, so imagine our situation,” the 34 year-old said.

“We must all cooperate to ensure that our streets are safe and clean during the summer,” another taxi driver in Jabal Amman told The Jordan Times this week.

His sentiments were echoed by other public transportation drivers.

Agreeing with them, GAM and Traffic Department officials noted that “without common sense and cooperation the authorities will not be able to perform their duties properly”.