November 29, 2008

The free cost of Valet Parking in Jordan

Valet parking is a new trend in Jordan and to some people it's a must do etiquette. To some companies it might be an added value to their service. The question is what does it mean to the city?

I asked GAM if they give anybody permits for businesses who claim the ownership of the street curb, but they don't, even some businesses claim that they pay for the valet spots.

The problem has many dimensions. I don't support the whole idea, but if we want to imitate other countries it needs to be regulated, any claimed Valet Parking should be done through a certified operators, this way we make sure that the car is safe and the driver is qualified to drive.
I don't wanna suggest accommodating valet parking but GAM and We need to find a better solutions for the increasing problem of Parking in Jordan.

It does frustrate me when I see an empty parking spot along the street side being reserved for the business customers or a VIP personnel, while I have to circulate the blocks trying to find an empty spot! Last weekend I saw a whole street in Abdoun, arround Crums and Limon, full of unoccupied reserved spots while everybody was looking for a spot!!!

The street side belongs to all people, we payed for the ownership when we payed our taxes.
This matter took my deep attention when I was living in NYC, I first created a blog called: SHAME ON YOU PARKING ... ( That was my first blog: Shame Parking is a public awareness blog to promote better parking practices and better environment). What I did is taking a picture of a wrong parking cars and post it in the blog with the car number, and I send it my e-mail to NYPD!!! Crazy... but what was more crazy is taking a picture of a police officer car parking in a wrong spot and I post it under: Uncivil servants!!! but it's a free world there, I am not sure if I can do that here..hahha? After this blog I thought of finding a solution for car parking problems in NYC, so I created another blog: Spotforecast and tried to sell the idea : of finding parking spots from your cell phone.

Well, you wonder what happened? It needs investment in marketing the idea!!! anybody interested?

I didn't see valet parking on the street side in the US. The valet parking concept is based on taking the car to the parking lot and not to the street side.

It really frustrate me to see this in Jordan. We need to build a campaing against this practice.

November 28, 2008

Pedestrian Road Safety Partnership

My Speach at Jotrans 2008:

"I am delighted to speak at this strategic conference which represents a key convention for all agencies working toward the one thing that they all care about… building livable safe cities.
Successful transportation strategies endorse road safety education and promote programs toward further improving road safety outcomes, at all levels of every community

However, if we continue planning our cities for cars and traffic, we will get more cars and traffic; but, if we start planning our cities for people and places, we will get more people and places.

Streets are more than just car corridors; they are valuable civic spaces and resources that need to be wisely allocated. We need to start thinking about a campaign to re-imagine our streets as lively safe public places.

In 2007, 992 people died in Jordan as a result of 110,630 road accidents with an estimated monetary loss of 281 Million JOD. The average growth rate in the number of killed and seriously injured as a result of road accidents was 12% in the last five years.

January of 2008 witnessed an alarming rise in the number of lives lost to road accidents which caused a national call for action following His Majesty king Abdullah The Second’s directions that we must put an end to this trend.

In 2008 compared to 2007, the collaborative efforts of both the public and the private sectors resulted in a 12.1% decrease in accidents, 27.42% decrease in injuries, and 39.27% decrease in deaths.

We feel and We forget. We Hear and We Remember. We Do and We Understand.

We still have a very long way to go and the results achieved so far are a living proof that together government and people can address national challenges. Sustaining this positive progress is key and requires even more effective Public-Private Partnership.

Forming such alliances need a lot of commitment by all parties involved; each needs to understand the limitations and strengths that their side brings to this undertaking. They need to communicate with each other, ensure that all involved parties contribute to and benefit from the relationship in ways appropriate to their organizations, ensure that all partners participate on a more equal basis and to accept responsibility not only for their role in decision making but in the outcomes of the alliance as well.
Successful alliances were forged all over the world to tackle issues that were deemed of importance to the people of that country. The private sector and the non profit sectors played an important role together with the governments in raising the awareness on road safety, improving the infrastructure, instilling a culture of road safety among their community, financially supporting campaigns and activities promoting road safety, and training and building the capacity of individuals and organizations on road safety measures and related issues.

The RSCOE is an example of such a partnership between the Public and Private sector. Established in June, 2008 between the GAM, the GJU, Hikmat Road safety , and in October the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs joined this partnership.

"A livable city is a road safe city," the center main aim is to promote the level of road safety in Jordan and To Build World Class Road Safety Capacity by Integrating (learning, applied research, advanced know-how & tools) in an outcome oriented way to support the effective execution of the National Road Safety Strategy.

The Road safety center of excellence aims to: Certify Road Safety Officers, Study and understand vital issues, Develop Solutions, Influence implementation, and Publish standards and best practices

The center is introducing the concept of road safety audit into Jordan and plans to Make road safety audit a common concept where: practitioners are familiar with it , know how to do it, adopt a standard, use tools and methods, and are striving to become certified.

A road safety audit (RSA) is a formal safety examination of a future roadway plan or project or an in-service facility that is conducted by an independent, experienced multidisciplinary RSA team.

The RSCOE conducted the first workshop to certify Road Safety Officers that took place on the 3rd of August, 2008 for a period of 2 weeks and covered the topic of how to assess current roads and how to conduct a road safety audit. The workshop was delivered by two German Experts at the German – Jordanian University and was attended by 27 participants from various governmental entities related to road safety.

Each participant was required to prepare a comprehensive report on the results of their studies and site visits in addition to preparing an action plan for implementing future road safety activities. The participants are expected to take full responsibility for these initiatives.

Moreover, before the end of this year, the RSCOE is planning to launch the first Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines Manual that provides transportation agencies conducting a RSA and pedestrians with a better understanding of the needs of pedestrians of all abilities.

The pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines Manual provide an easy to understand comparison between what’s right and what’s wrong and provide a general listing of potential pedestrian safety issues.

The intent of the guidelines is to familiarize practitioners and citizens with potential pedestrian issues and to help them identify specific safety concerns related to pedestrian road safety.

Prompt lists are provided at the end of the manual to identify the types of pedestrian-related issues that the RSA team should be aware of to promote pedestrian safety in the audited project. Another successful partnership between the Public and Private sectors is the Safer Schools Program, 100 schools were designed inside & outside of Amman to improve road safety in their zones. The designs were completed in cooperation with Arabtech-Jardaneh design office. As of today, 74 schools were maintained to be safe for total number of 56,289 students. By the end of the Year 100 school will be completed, in Amman, Madaba, Balqa, Ma’an, Karak, Tafeleh, Zarqa and Irbid governorates.
While we continue working on the Safer Schools program, another program started to extend the efforts to build safer home Zones.

Today, the 23rd of November marked the opening of the first Safe home-Zone project “Haretna” in Al-Zuhour Area in Amman. Another cooperation between GAM, and HRS. The Project donation came from Al-Ard Company and designed by Turath consultants.
The center strategy is to “Train the Trainers” to become a road safety ambassador each in his agency.

In 2009 we will: Certify 100 Road Safety Officers, Build 100 Safe Schools, Build 100 Safe Home Zones, Develop and Publish more Road Safety standards, and build more partnerships.

We are Stronger, More capable, smarter, More righteous, More aware, better, more interactive, more creative, more practical, more solid, achievers, more effective, more trust worthy, more interesting, more stable, more sustainable, able to contribute more, more logical, more aware

Than Me Alone.
Thank you "

By: Arch. Emad A. Salameh
Road Safety Center of Excellence
General Manager

November 12, 2008

Amman Institute

Toward building the excellence of leadership and development, the Mayor Omar Maani signed an agreement with one of the World’s leading transportation research organizations, the Institute of transportation Studies (ITS) at University of California, Berkeley to collaborate on modernizing GAM’s transportation system.

The agreement signed by Mayor Omar Maani and Prof. Samer Madanat, the Director of ITS last July 2008 to will establish a research and training program for GAM. Research topics under consideration include: Clean Fuel Options for Public Vehicles, including buses and taxis; Pricing Strategy to Increase Public Transit Ridership; Analysis of Dedicated Bus Lanes in Amman; and Gender Considerations in Public Transportation.
Mayor Maani stated that he was very pleased to have GAM associated with ITS, because ‘…it will connect GAM to a recognized center of excellence in transportation planning & engineering; improving the mobility within the City is one of our priorities under the Amman Plan’.
The Amman Institute is a not-for-profit research institute established by GAM to advance the urban agenda for the metropolitan area and other urban centers in Jordan.
Amman institute is currently working on Amman Real Estate Intelligence Report. More about amman institute go to:

November 11, 2008

Road Safety Center Workshop

By Pro. Heckman, edited by Emad Salameh

Road Safety Center of Excellence aims to promote the level of road safety in Jordan and To Build World Class Road Safety Capacity by Integrating (learning, applied research, advanced know-how & tools) in an outcome oriented way to support the effective execution of the National Road Safety Strategy , the center's plan is to introduce the concept of road safety audit into Jordan and to Make road safety audit a common concept in Jordan where: practitioners are familiar with it , know how to do it, adopt a standard, use tools and methods and are striving to become certified. As a start the center began establishing a database by developing standards and guidelines for road safety auditing adopted from other countries but they were adjusted and modified to suit Jordan's regulations, then study-cases and examples were built and several sites in Jordan were visited by the center's teams and some examples were done with the help of traffic engineers from GAM , all of the cases and examples were documented into reports and as a second step the center launched a workshop named " Road Safety Auditing level 1 " ; the workshop took place at the facilities of GJU and on the streets of Amman from 3rd to 14th of August. Case studies of some relevant streets and intersections have been prepared in advance by local experts and students, organized by RSCOE.

The Center invited participants from ministries, municipalities and other bodies, and also non-governmental organizations – about 25 participants took the opportunity to be trained on a method, which is established in many countries all over the world. Two experts from Germany – an engineer for transport planning and safety and a traffic psychologist – have been invited to assist and to supervise the developmental processes during the workshop.

The workshop started with two days of theory with regard to safety risks due to the street design and operations and another two days of theory with regard to safety risks due to behavioral aspects of drivers and pedestrians participating in public traffic each day was divided into 3 sessions from 10 am till 3:30 pm (1.5 hour for each session).

The two experts based on research data, which have been collected in Germany and internationally, but confronted these data with the experiences of the local experts in the workshops. The adaptation of general observations, conclusions and points of view to the Jordan culture, traffic conditions and experiences was a constitutive element of the workshop tasks. Also the integrated perspective on both behavior and street environment was practiced. Both experts encouraged interaction spirit and the sessions were more like discussions and exchanging experiences among the participants and the experts and among the participants themselves.

On the second week three field trips were conducted to three different street s each one consisted of a site visit and a discussion session about the observations and the remarks that were taken on site ,The participants were divided into two groups each one was under the supervision of one of the experts and along the three days the participants were regrouped so that each one of them participates in different activity . And before the second field trip an introductory session about RSA was delivered to the participants. On site each expert divided them into subgroups and checklists and google maps with a copy of the report that was prepared before were delivered to all participants , then each subgroup was responsible of fulfilling a specific task.

On the discussion session the data from all participants is collected and discussed among each group by itself , then exchanged between the groups so that each participant understands other quests that he didn't conduct. The observations from the field are discussed among all groups and
critical safety issues are pointed out then initial solutions are proposed.

On the 2 days after the field trips all the data from the three site visits and all the results of the discussions were collected and all participants under the supervision of the experts built together
the final report of this workshop.

November 5, 2008

Transportation Conference & Exhibition

Amman Voice is participating in the First International Transport conference & exhibition for the middle east.

I will be speaking as the Road Safety Center of Excellence GM about " Pedestrian Road Safety Guidelines ", it's a great opportunity to speak infront of local, regional, and international decision makers.

My speach will be focusing on Pedestrian Road Safety and will deliver Amman Voice message and the Road Safety Center key missions and goals. Moreover, I will speak about the Pedestrian Road safety Guidline book that we were working on at the center for the last few months.