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Environmental & Socio-economic Studies DOI: 10.2478/environ-2022-0006 Environ. Socio.-econ. Stud., 2022, 10, 1: 68-76 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Original article The impact of urban morphology on transportation: a case study of the city of Al-Kut, Iraq 1 2 3 Ihsan Abbas Jasim , Laheab A. Al.-Maliki *, Sohaib K. Al.-Mamoori Department of Architecture Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Wasit University, Kut city, Iraq Department of Regional Planning, Faculty of Physical Planning, University of Kufa, Najaf city, Iraq Department of Environmental Planning, Faculty of Physical Planning, University of Kufa, Najaf city, Iraq E–mail address (*corresponding author): email@example.com ORCID iD: Ihsan Abbas Jasim: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9884-6009; Laheab A. Al-Maliki: https://orcid.org/0000-0002- 7819-797X; Sohaib K. Al-Mamoori: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8941-9550 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A B S T R A C T This study aims to cognize the current effects of land use decisions on traffic in the city centre and predict the future effects of these decisions. The researchers studied and analyzed the effect of changing land uses in the eastern part of Al-Kut city centre on traffic in the city centre. The study adopted the descriptive analytical approach based on the study area data a nd information. A field survey of the land uses that are most attractive to movement and another field survey of the traffic volume in the study area's main streets. The study found that the transportation problems in the city centre will be exacerbated in the future due to the inappropriate position of many activities in the past two decades. All these changes attracted many transport trips and thus increased the volume of movement in the area. Kut city's specificity exacerbated the problem as all the crossings between the two river banks are located in the city centre. This problem will be exacerbated in the future when Wasit University colleges are completed, and the number of transport trips to them increases and at completing the mall construction. KEY WORDS: land use, transportations system, traffic congestion, Al-Kut city ARTICLE HISTORY: received 23 November 2021; received in revised form 14 March 2022; accepted 15 March 2022 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Introduction WELLIK & KOCKELMAN, 2020; RYU ET AL., 2021). According to transportation theory, changes in the Land use and transportation are two sides of transportation system can be predicted due to the same coin. Land use affects transport and vice changes in urban land use (WEGENER, 2021; WEGENER versa, so decisions that affect one of them affect & FÜRST, 2004; DOMINGO ET AL., 2021). the other (HARDING ET AL., 2018). The relationship There are direct and indirect effects of land strength between land use and transportation is uses (LITMAN & STEELE, 2017). Land use affects evidenced by the fact that land uses are a generator the city traffic is one of the indirect effects, as of traffic and transport in the city (AHMED ET AL., 2020; there is a relationship and mutual influence between SERRANO-LÓPEZ ET AL., 2019). Any change in the land roads and land uses (XIE ET AL., 2019). To put it use is reflected in turn on the patterns of traffic another way, highways attract land uses and movement, as the type of land use give different direct urbanization; at the same time, the road types of transport trips (and then traffic in general, follows populated areas as roads lead to urban and if the land use changes, the transportation settlements and do not rely only on tchem system in the city will change as a direct result (NEWMAN & KENWORTHY, 1996; AZIZ, 2018; JIANG (ADOLPHSON & FRÖIDH, 2019; SHEN ET AL., 2020; ET AL., 2021). The city creates roads, but the roads create problem. Moreover, the informal activity during cities or promises to create them, and change the the peak hour also puts pressure on the existing city shape. The city's urban growth is related to traffic (HASAN ET AL., 2018). SHEN ET AL. (2020) the traffic movement axes that connect the city with confirmed that the reconstruction of land use urban complexes (PERVEEN ET AL., 2020, ANJOMANI, parking reform provides a more efficient way to 2021). So, the relationship between land use and alleviate congestion by coordinating the density the transportation system is a mutual relationship of of lots and spaces in residential districts (SHEN ET influence and interaction (ZHOU & GAO, 2020; HOLZ- AL., 2020). Other studies like FRANK (2000), LITMAN & RAU & SCHEINER, 2019). STEELE (2017), and BRINKMAN (2016) had been Transport and the land occupy great importance conducted to investigate this relationship. for their role in the cities development, growth, Al-Kut city centre suffers from many traffic and interaction, besides the performance of other problems, which will get worse in the future . land uses in the city such as residential, commercial The research aims to study and analyze the impact and industrial uses (ZHANG ET AL., 2021; NIKITAS ET of some new activities that attract traffic in the AL., 2020). study area on the movement of traffic and to predict Roads are not only used for transportation and their likely future impact this effect in the future. movement but are considered areas that gather The research assumes that this problem results around and extend various urban activities (the from a change in land use in the southern part of activity that determines the use of the land, the city centre, which took place without adequate which is the commercial, educational, industrial, planning for the effect of associated traffic changes. administrative and other activities) inside and 2. Methodology outside the city (CERVERO ET AL., 2017; CARROLL ET AL., 2021). As the land uses affect transport systems, whether 2.1. The study area (Al-Kut city, Wasit province) in size, types, density, portability, flexibility, locations, frequencies, designs, carrying capacities, and the Wasit province is located about 170 km southeast size of their service accessories, these systems, on of Baghdad (Fig. 1). Al-Kut city, the province centre, their part, show an impact and interaction that is is situated at the confluence of the Al-Gharraf and no less important (MA ET AL., 2018). Transportation Dujaili rivers, which are the two branches of the systems may have a greater influence on land use Tigris River (MOHAMMAD, 2014; JASIM ET AL., 2021a). The city (as the legislative and executive local since roadways are prone to less change over government of the province) is linked to its time than land uses (CHANG & MURAKAMI, 2019; YEO ET AL., 2021). administrative units and other governorates. This The relationship between land use and location has made it a city of diverse relationships. transportation is called the transport-land uses Its location is on the road network linking cycle (KARIMI ET AL., 2019). When transportation Baghdad and the southern governorates, especially lines reach a region, it becomes more attractive Basra, through two routes, the first via Mesan and for urban uses, as developed area, after which activity the second via Nasiriyah (Fig. 2). increases and the number of transport trips rises. Al-Kut city covers about 55 square kilometers This increasing demand causes an extra load on positioned between the two banks of the Tigris river, and its land uses are distributed among various transportation services. The increased transport types of activities (i.e. commercial, educational, trips are addressed by increasing the supply of accessibility services (ZLATKOVIC ET AL., 2019). As the industrial, and other activities) However, the consequences of accessibility to land use rise, this northern part (which includes the centre and the cycle is repeated. Many studies have investigated study area) is characterized by being more effective the land use effect on the transportation system; in administrative, service and commercial activity for instant, XUEGANG, ET AL. (2021) identified the than in the southern part (AL-MAMOORI & AL- relationship between high-speed transportation and MALIKI, 2016). land-use efficiency in the Shandong Peninsula, The Tigris River flows from the north of the city and splits into two branches after Kut Dam (Fig. 2). China. The study confirmed that high-speed These waterways divided the city into many parts, transportation positively correlates with land-use efficiency (CUI ET AL., 2019). Moreover, HASAN ET AL. which negatively affected the traffic. The bridges (2018) investigated the impact of change in land that connect the parts of the city exacerbated the use pattern over the overall transportation system traffic problem because the transport trips between and concluded that the improper distribution of the banks will pass through the center. land use is a major issue of Rajshahi transportation Fig. 1. Location map of Al-Kut city perpendicular short streets to achieve easy access through increased connection points between the river banks (JASIM ET AL., 2021b). This network contains two main traffic axes that represent the largest traffic flow: 1) The first axis: is the main road carrying traffic flow from and to the northern entrance (Baghdad side). It is considered to be a critical junction for traffic flow from outside to inside the city and vice versa. This road ends at Al-Mutanabbi intersection which begins to distributing the flow of traffic towards the internal road network. Badra Road, which carries traffic flow from the northeastern parts of the governorate, especially the border crossing in Badra, meets with this axis, and their traffic movement merges. 2) The second axis: is the axis of traffic flow coming to and from the eastern entrance to the city, and it also ends at the intersection of Al-Mutanabbi, after which, the internal road networks distribute Fig. 2. The study area with the regional roads the traffic flow to all parts of the city. The most important of them is the traffic flow crossing the 2.2. Transportation system in Al-Kut city centre city through the bank of the Tigris River, which meets the traffic coming from the south through The Road network. The effects of the Tigris River the Nasiriyah-Basra entrance to the Tammuz and its bends on shaping the city's streets pattern are intersection via the Karama Bridge. This bridge evident and keen be seen through the roads map represents the main crossing between the two of Al- Kut (Fig. 3). The roads are characterized by the banks of the river. Moreover, is the line of traffic abundance of intersections and short horizontal flow through the city exits and entrances with its sections of streets, forming a network of adjacent provinces. The most important of which is the transit traffic flow (which is the inter-provincial traffic that passes through the city( to the city of Kut across the bank of the Tigris River to meet This flow with traffic coming from the south of the city through the (Nasiriyah-Basra) entrance to the Tammuz intersection via the Karama Bridge, as this bridge represents the main crossing between the two banks of the city and the traffic flow through its exits and entrances with its neighbourhoods from the governorates. In addition to the Karama Bridge, there are three bridges: The Iron Bridge, over which traffic passes from the internal network to the city centre (Fig. 2), and Al- Kut Barrage, which carries the traffic flow from residential neighbourhoods to the city centre, in addition to transferring the traffic from the rural parts to the direction of Numaniya. This indicates that the heaviest irrigated flow is within the northern part of the city because it contains the most basic activities. The movement joint between Fig. 4. Al-Kut city centre with its bridges the two parts of the city is mainly through the Karama Bridge as Al-Kut Barrage crossing is not Public transport movement in the city of Kut. designed to transport high-density traffic flows. The main terminal is located in the commercial The iron bridge crossing was constructed as a centre. Most of the transportation lines go to the temporary bridge on a non-main axis and lacked largest part of the city in the north, and there are the approaches to accommodate a large traffic up to nine transit lines. Near the Al-Karama Bridge, flow (Fig. 4). part of these transit lines crosses this bridge, while the rest go toward Al-Naseej Street; after that, they are distributed from Al-Mutanabi Square towards Maysan and Baghdad Roads. Another transit line starts from the terminal heads towards the Iron Bridge to cross to the other riverbank of the Tigris (Fig. 5). Fig. 3. Roads network in the city centre Fig. 5. Transit lines that start from the terminal in the study area Regional traffic in the study area. The transport its neighbouring provinces. Moreover, Badra Road services for the centre are for Wasit region and meets with this traffic axis and its traffic flow of not just for Kut city. Therefore, the routes for the vehicles from parts of the northeastern governorate, transport trips coming to it from the rest of the the most important of which is the border crossing region have been determined (Fig. 2). The largest in Badra, merges with the influx traffic movement traffic movement comes from the north from from the Baghdad entrance. Figure 7 shows the Baghdad entrance to enter the city towards Al- biggest congestion node in the city on this axis. Mutanabbi Square and meet with fewer transport The University entrance converge with the bridge trips coming from Maysan entrance and heading entrance with the streets towards the centre and to the city centre through Al-Naseej Street. However, the internal garage is noticed. Every morning, about the rest of the transport trips come from the ten traffic controllers try to handle the congestion. other city bank from Nasiriyah entrance through the Al-Karama bridge and the iron bridge. Less movement comes across the Al-Kut Barrage, meaning that all transport trips pass through the study area despite the apparent defect in the hierarchy of city streets (Fig. 6). Fig. 7. The biggest congestion node in the city on the first movement axis 3. Results 3.1. Land use decisions The projects that have been implemented in the past two decades or are still being carried out so far will be considered. These projects led to a change in the land use, and thus caused the attraction of a large number of traffic movement Fig. 6. The road hierarchy in the study area and exacerbated the traffic problems in the city center and the whole city as well. Traffic passing through Kut city. Kut city is located (1) Wasit University: the first college, the College on the main road that connects Basra (the main of Education, was established in 1996, and it was port in Iraq) and Baghdad (the political and affiliated with the University of Al-Qadisiyah, commercial capital of Iraq), and the rest of the followed by the College of Administration and northern governorates. Most of the traffic movement Economics in 2000 and the College of Science in passes through the city centre, whether the traffic 2002. After that, Wasit University was established in is coming from the cities of Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar) or 2003, by starting with three colleges, and a major (Maysan), and through several axes (Fig. 2). what expansion began in the following years to reach passes through the study area is the axis of traffic fifteen colleges. The number of affiliates (students flow coming from the southern entrance to the city and associates) reached about 6000 in 2000 and through Nasiriyah-Basra entrance to the Tammuz increased to 20,000 by 2020. intersection via Karama Bridge and then towards (2) Al Kut Stadium: is one of the Olympic Baghdad city. This bridge represents the main stadiums and has a capacity of 20,000 spectators crossing between the two banks of the city and the (Fig. 6). It was inaugurated in 2018 after the old traffic flow through its exits and entrances with Kut stadium, built in the 1950s, was demolished of the university between the most important (IHSAN ET AL., 2020). The stadium provides services to bridges connecting the two banks of the river. a range of people beyond the Wasit Province due This area of congestion is the largest in the city. to the lack of Olympic stadiums in Iraq, so matches between neighbouring provinces are held there. 3.2. Monitoring and comparing traffic in the region (3) The commercial centre is part of Kut city centre but is government-owned (Fig. 8). It was The Urban Planning Directorate statistics surveys demolished because it was old, and a new design for the year 2008 (Fig. 9 and Table 1) were used was prepared for the construction of a modern to monitor the increase in traffic flow in the commercial complex in 1990. However, the streets within the study area or surrounding it. conditions of war and the economic blockade that They show the traffic movement in these streets Iraq experienced led to the postponement of in both directions. Later, surveys of traffic flow these projects. Only a few parts of the proposed were conducted in 2021, and by comparison, the design for the area have been implemented, and a increased congestion in the Kut city centre is large part of it has remained empty. clear. The percentage of traffic change between 2008 and 2021 is presented in Figure 10. 4. Discussion The congestion has increased in the city centre, and this congestion can be explained by many reasons, the most important of which is the expansion of the commercial centre because of the city expansion in addition to the increase in the purchasing power of citizens and the increase in the demand for goods and services. The second important reason is the emergence of activities that attracted traffic, and these are: (1) Establishing Wasit University and its increase in size over time. According to the university's data, the number of university affiliates is still increasing. This has caused congestion, especially during the Fig. 8. Land uses in the study area with the main traffic routes morning rush, where the participants were late by a quarter of an hour or more to enter the university. (4) Al-Azza Bridge: Is a concrete bridge that was (2) The terminal and the unfinished commercial inaugurated in 2011, and connect the two banks centre border the university and shares the same of the city, south of the city centre, with the traffic lanes. As it is clear from the previous plans neighbourhood of Al-Azza (Fig. 3). The bridge for transit and regional traffic join with the same location caused additional problems because the traffic routes, and this is the reason for the current transit trips passing through it penetrated the congestion in the city centre in general and the city centre and the study area, especially when nearby areas. Al-Karama Bridge is closed for maintenance. (3) Al-Kut Olympic Stadium causes transport (5) The city centre is considered to be one of the paralysis when any activity occurs due to the city's busiest areas due to the dens concentration of large influx of traffic and the lack of local parking. activities that attract traffic movement (as indicated It would have been better if the stadium had been by the land use maps). When the city centre expanded moved outside the centre and left this space for the concentration of activities there also increased. the university. One of the factors that has led to poor traffic flow (4) Population growth, the city expansion, the is the centre's location on a peninsula, as the river increase in income and the increase in commercial wraps around the centre, forming a natural activities have led to the growth of the commercial obstacle to movement other than over bridges. centre; thus, the increase in the number of transport Moreover, the establishment of Wasit University trips, and a large part of these traffic are from the in the city centre, between the commercial centre share of public transport. and the river, led to significant congestion in the (5) Other, less important factors, such as the axes near the university, especially at peak times increase in transit trips for medical services, due in the morning and around noon due to the location to population growth in the region. The same applies to the increase in public services and the rest of the The results agree with many similar studies educational services. Also, the transit traffic increased that link the proper land use planning to flawless with the increase in the volume of trade exchange transportation systems (XIE ET AL., 2019; PULUGURTHA through Badra crossing the border and the increase ET AL., 2013; VAN WEE, 2011). in travel between Basra and Baghdad. Fig. 9. Traffic flow (car/day) in the streets surrounding the study area in 2008 and 2021 Table 1. Traffic flow (car / day) in the streets surrounding the study area in 2008 and 2021 (Source: Urban Planning Directorate in Wasit) No. Station Number of Number of cars in 2008 cars in 2021 1 47032 Al-Naseej Street 25134 2 14173 Amusement Park 7402 3 28065 Al-Mauared Street 15403 4 33810 Al-Rabee Street 17580 5 9714 Al-Kaz Street 4736 6 19098 Karama Bridge 5479 7 19717 Province Street 14749 5. 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Environmental & Socio-economic Studies – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 1, 2022
Keywords: land use; transportations system; traffic congestion; Al-Kut city
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