Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Qatar country profile

By Balakumar Arumugham, MSc Transport planning and Engineering, (2010)

I am currently employed by Duffy Consulting Engineers (DCE) as a traffic engineer. My main responsibilities are to work in traffic impact studies for projects in Doha and Abu Dhabi.  To develop a local transportation team (in Qatar), provide training to new recruits, liaise with clients and local government authority (Ashgal and MMUP) and to prepare tender and fee quotes are few of the other main responsibilities in DCE.  DCE is an Irish based civil engineering consulting firm established in 1992. DCE's operation in Qatar was started in 2011 and has been actively involved in Road Safety Audit and Traffic Impact Study projects since 2012. I worked with PTV Asia Pacific, Brisbane as a Transport Planner before I relocated to Qatar.

Qatar like many of the other Middle Eastern countries has a huge private transport mode share and much less or an almost negligible percentage of public transport share. This results in parking space demand and traffic congestion during peak hours.

In spite of strict traffic rules and severe traffic violation penalties, the driving behaviour continues to be aggressive with a high accident rate.  The concept of road safety audits and intelligent transport systems to manage traffic has been recently embraced by the government of Qatar. New metro rail services have been planned and several other measures to improve public transport patronage are being introduced.  

A new strategic transport model for Qatar has been developed by the Transport Authority and has been put to use. Existing and new roads are subject to a road safety audit to decrease the accident rate. Conducting a traffic impact study has been made as a compulsion for any new development, which benefits the surrounding area to adequately respond to the new additional traffic.  New public transport systems have also been introduced to reduce the car usage.

Our first few traffic impact study projects have been making a steady progress and the first few reports have been approved by the Qatar transport authority (MMUP). As a result, the MMUP has recommended DCE to several other firms which has resulted in a growth in business and to establish the firm's name in Qatar. 

The UK has been a role model to other countries with a good transportation system. To understand and adapt the common practices in the UK will help Qatar to progress towards achieving a sustainable transportation system. 

My advice to other people considering a job in this country is that Qatar is a rich country with massive investments in transportation and infrastructure projects. Fifa 2022 world cup is a major event in Qatar and has resulted in many new infrastructure developments. The probability to secure a dream job is more in Qatar. As most of the transport studies are detailed and extensive, the experience will also be very useful for your future career.

Winter (roughly 5 to 6 months every year) is very pleasant and makes the country filled with desert sand, a beautiful place to live. Qatar is a country with a high expat population rate and it exceeds the native. With Fifa 2022 world cup approaching, the current labour laws are expected to be made more employee friendly in the near future hence attracting more expat workers to fill in the skilled/ un skilled work force demand.