News: Doha traffic chaos predicted for COP 18 event, residents urged to be aware and plan ahead

Doha, November 20 - Drivers should try to plan ahead and allow more time for their journey than they would normally during the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, according to organisers. Traffic in the Qatar is expected to increase noticeably during COP18/CMP8. To help residents and participants, as well as to cut emissions, the United Nations prevents all but the 194 head of delegation cars from driving to Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). In place of cars, organisers have put in place a system of free, efficient buses throughout the city that will transport official delegates, including the top level organisers, to and from the QNCC.

No roads will be closed in Doha during the Conference and the pre-sessions, except the roads immediately within the QNCC vicinity, but as a result, traffic is expected to increase during peak times. In anticipation of this, Education City, located near the QNCC, will be closed on November 26, the opening day of the Conference, to help ease congestion.“We think there will be three times during the day when traffic will be heaviest around the city. The morning, from 6.30am to 8 am, lunchtime, 12.30 pm to 2 pm and in the evening, from 4 pm to 6 pm. We would ask everyone to carefully plan their journeys and try to avoid the busiest areas if possible. These will be around the QNCC, the DEC [Doha Exhibition Centre] and the Corniche,” Alanoud Al Meghaisib, the head of the Accommodation, Transport and Volunteers department of the Organising Sub-Committee for COP18/CMP8, said.

 The COP18/CMP8 team is working closely with Ashghal, Qatar’s Public Works Authority, as well as the traffic department of the Ministry of Interior, to ensure that everything runs smoothly and to minimise traffic issues should they arise. While there is sure to be an effect on traffic patterns due to the thousands of visitors coming to participate in the Conference, COP18/CMP8 organisers are doing all they can to make sure that the disruption is being kept to a minimum. Apart from urging residents to avoid roads around the QNCC, the DEC and the Corniche during peak hours, the organising committee is suggesting that one way to cut down on traffic would be for people travelling around Doha to share cars.

For participants, only one car per head-of-delegation, which has been approved by the UN and given a special permit, will be allowed to drive to the QNCC. The other official participants must use the free shuttle service, which runs from 32 shuttle hubs set up around the city. A map and details of this can be viewed at

“The majority of participants will travel around the city on a fleet of buses, while the UN has permitted each delegation from the 194 nations attending COP18/CMP8 the use of only one car to travel to the conference,” Ms. Al-Meghaisib said. These permits are given primarily to the ministerial level car and are limited to one per delegation. All other cars will be barred from the QNCC, and UN accredited visitors must travel using the more environmentally friendly mass-transit system.


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