As one of the most overpopulated cities in the world, it's not a secret that driving in Cairo can often be overwhelming. Unfortunately, the chance of getting stuck in traffic at any time of day has become so inevitable that we have to calculate hours of delay due to traffic congestion into our daily schedules.
We could try to figure out the reasons behind the inexplicable congestion on the streets, but let's face it; what we really want is to avoid traffic altogether by knowing which roads to avoid and which is the quickest route to our destination.
Thankfully, a group of creative young Egyptians have developed convenient methods for that exact purpose! Instead of the daily reports that we may get every morning on TV or radio, we now can find out the status of traffic everywhere in Cairo through real-time updates; all you need is an internet connection.
One of the first and most popular traffic updates website is Bey2ollak, which is powered by Vodafone. Bey2ollak is available in web version and as an application for Blackberry and iPhones, and it can be viewed in a mobile-friendly mode from any other mobile brand. You can also follow Bey2ollak on Twitter for instant updates.
Wherever you are in
the city, you can check and update the street's traffic status. The website works
for both Cairo and Alexandria. The traffic status is rated in an amusing way;
varying from '7alawa' with a green symbol, meaning perfectly flowing traffic
and zero congestion, to 'mafeesh amal' in an alarming red circle, meaning you
should avoid that route if possible.
Due to the events that unfolded in Egypt during and after the revolution, the site has added two new options: 'el7a2ny,' which leads you to a list of emergency numbers such as the military police, the fire department or road emergency services that you can directly dial from bey2ollak’s application on your mobile phone. '5atar' is the second option, which marks a certain area as dangerous due to riots or acts of vandalism, etc.
The website is always updated, and you can include a comment into the rating to give more details about the route and the cause of the traffic jam.
Another website worth checking for traffic updates is Wasalny. The site is also available on twitter in addition to an application for Blackberry, Nokia and Android phones, along with a mobile-friendly website for iPhone and other mobile phone brands. Apart from updates on major roads with specific directions, you can view the blocked areas on a real map, and you can drag a car icon across the map to determine which route is ok to drive through and which should be avoided.
For every main road, the website gives you an estimated time that it will take you based on the speed of your car and the degree of congestion. Users can upload photos of the congested streets via their mobile phone cameras and add their own rating for the congestion.
What makes these two websites convenient is their simple designs, easy navigation and regular updates, making them essential parts of your daily commute across Cairo. Updating traffic status is a win-win situation; when you warn other drivers about an already crowded route, you’re actually helping the routes from becoming even more congested, and you’re saving someone else from being stuck in traffic.
Until we find a magical solution to Cairo’s traffic, all we can count on is honest advice from fellow drivers on the best way to reach our destinations.