Saudi Arabia Road Traffic in 2024 - All What You Need to Know

January 17, 2024
14 mins read
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Isn't it astonishing how intricately complex the urban traffic network can be? Think of it as a dance - sometimes harmonious, other times chaotic - with an array of elements composing the rhythm: average speeds, travel times, street names, even ID numbers associated with specific road segments. Each variable articulates the daily ebb and flow of our city's lifeblood—its traffic. But what if we could perceive this seemingly chaotic dance in a completely new light?

Our goal is to transform dry, complex traffic data into a story that resonates with you—the city dweller, the nine-to-five commuter, the policy maker, and the environmentally conscious citizen. If you've ever asked 'Why is the traffic always heavy when I commute?'—this article will offer you insights, rendered via comprehensive data analysis and relevant data visualizations. Expect to gaze upon scatter plots, maps, and heatmaps that shine a light on patterns invisible to the naked eye.

Decoding Traffic Data: A Deep Dive into Segment IDs, Speed Limits, and More

You see, traffic data is far more than mere numbers and charts. It tells a story: the movement of cars at rush hour, the quiet in the early morning, the sudden slow-down when school ends. Consider what segment IDs signify. Each segment ID refers to a distinct section of road in the city, functioning as a unique identifier. These IDs help us to track how traffic flows across different locations easily, and they can offer illuminating insights. For instance, a recurring congestion in a particular segment might suggest a need for road expansion or traffic light timing adjustments in the area.

Similarly, speed limits, while commonly associated with safety measures, also contribute to interesting traffic considerations. There is an undeniable relationship between speed limits and average speeds. Do cars typically travel at, above, or below the speed limit? This question carries implications for traffic management and even law enforcement strategies.

Street Name Speed Limit (km/h)
King Fahd Road 80
Northern Ring Road 100
King Abdullah Road 100
Eastern Ring Road 120
King Abdulaziz Road 80

                                                                Data for the table above was sourced from Riyadh's Department of Transport's Public Records.

And what about street names? You may wonder why they matter in a traffic study. Well, think about it. Some streets are invariably busier than others. By identifying these streets through their names, city planners can understand where traffic hotspots are and take steps to alleviate congestion in these areas.

Busiest Streets in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Street Name Average Estimated Daily Traffic
King Fahd Road 100,000
King Salman Highway 75,000
Olaya Street 65,000
Northern Ring Road 80,000
Eastern Ring Road 75,000

                                                                Data Source: Traffic Department, Ministry of Transport, Saudi Arabia

Moving on, average speeds and travel times provide a more direct reflection of the traffic conditions. Slower speeds or longer travel times usually imply heavy traffic, while faster speeds or shorter travel times indicate smooth traffic flow. By plotting these two variables on a graph, we're able to spot trends and anomalies that can inform the development of traffic relief strategies.

Time of Day Average Travel Time (mins)
Morning (6AM - 9AM) 32
Midday (10AM - 2PM) 25
Afternoon (3PM - 6PM) 30
Evening (7pm - 10PM) 20

                                                               Data for the table shown above was sourced from the Numbeo Traffic database for Riyadh.

Riyadh's Roadways: Understanding the Median Speed and Its Implications

Digging deeper, though, you may find that the story median speed tells about Riyadh's roadways is more intricate than it may first appear. For instance, while the average speed on a certain artery might be 50km/h, the median speed could be just 30km/h. A layman might wonder how this disparity occurs. Let me tell you, it's all about the distribution of speeds on that given road. If most vehicles move between 20km/h and 40km/h due to traffic jams during peak hours, then these speeds pull down the median speed figure.

This clear difference between average and median speeds has implications for both city planners and everyday commuters. In particular, identifying roads with a high disparity between their average and median speeds could denote irregular traffic patterns — like recurring traffic snarls during rush hours. The takeaway here is multifold: city planners can focus on improving those roads and perhaps formulate strategies, such as congestion pricing, to optimize the traffic flow. Commuters, on the other hand, can plan trips around the times these roads are less congested, ultimately saving travel time and reducing the carbon footprint.

Street Name Median Speed (km/h) Peak Travel Time
King Fahd Road 40 8:00 - 9:00 AM, 5:00 - 6:00 PM
Olaya Street 25 7:00 - 8:00 AM, 4:30 - 5:30 PM
King Abdullah Road 40 8:00 - 9:00 AM, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road 30 7:30 - 8:30 AM, 5:30 - 6:30 PM

Data for the preceding table is sourced from the Saudi Data Portal published by the National Information Center, Saudi Arabia.

Visualizing Traffic: Utilizing Data Through Maps, Graphs, and Heatmaps

Let's delve a step further, shall we? Having established the essence of urban traffic data, one might wonder - how do we transform such complex, chaotic figures into easy-to-understand, digestible information? The magic wand here is data visualization.

Road Links Length in Riyadh

When exploring Riyadh's many road links and their respective lengths, an intriguing pattern emerges. Understanding roadway length is crucial not only from a city planning perspective but also for comprehending the impact of distance on traffic flow.

Consider, if you will, a road link measuring 10 kilometers. During rush hours when traffic is at its peak, the sheer length of this road might be a contributing factor to gridlock. Shorter links, on the other hand, may not face the same degree of congestion over longer durations.

Let's translate this concept into visual representation.

Image Source: TomTom

Insight into the road length profile within any city grid can facilitate planning initiatives to mitigate traffic congestion at the root level. For instance, city planners, equipped with this knowledge, might choose to install more roundabouts or intersections on lengthier road links to help regulate the flow of traffic or improve public transportation routes.

So, next time you find yourself in a jam, spare a thought for the road link you're on. Is it one of the lengthier links in the city? Could it be more efficiently managed to reduce congestion?

Saudi Arabia Road Network

Imagine being at the heart of Saudi Arabia's bustling road network - the network that stitches together the nation's vast expanse. It serves as the lifelines of cities, the arteries and veins transporting people and goods, fueling economic growth and societal development. But what does traffic data tell us about the health of this vital system?

Diving into the intricacies of Saudi Arabia's road network, we can uncover a wealth of information. Data points unwrap layers of intricate traffic patterns. Unique segment IDs depict individual road sections with their own distinct characteristics. Posted speed limits guide our understanding of the intended flow and control of vehicles, while actual average speeds provide insight into how drivers experience and adhere to these rules. Moreover, data analysis on travel times can reveal the efficiency of different routes and their suitability to accommodate peak hour volumes.

Image Source: xMap

Consider a major thoroughfare like King Fahd Road in Riyadh. It's a lifeline for many commuters, with its segment ID unraveling stories of peak hour slowdowns, free-flowing midnight traffic, and everything in between. Looking beyond street names and IDs, we delve into speed statistics revealing the ebb and flow of traffic through different times of the day. This information is invaluable for city planners saying a lot about commuter pain points and the areas that need focused attention.

Median Speed by Road Class

When you think about it, "Median Speed by Road Class" might appear overwhelming initially. But don't worry. It's an exciting journey we're on, unraveling the mysteries of urban traffic patterns. And today's stop? Understanding how the type of roadway significantly impacts the average speed of vehicles, painted vividly through the parameter of 'median speed'.

So what exactly is the median speed? You may remember it from school as the 'middle' number in an ordered list. In this case, it's the middle speed in a list ordered by speed values. Notably, it's different from the 'average speed,' ensuring that neither super fast nor creeping slow traffic skew our understanding of the 'typical' speed.

Now, why is the traffic data divided by 'road classes'? Well, road classes, such as highways, arterial roads, and local streets, have distinct characteristics. They might have different speed limits, toll booths, traffic lights, and varying levels of congestion. By grouping the data according to road class, it becomes easier to make comparisons and identify patterns.



class 0


class 1


class 2


class 3


class 4


class 5


class 6


class 7


                                                                                The data for the above table was sourced from TomTom

Fastest Streets of Riyadh by their Median Speed

Processed traffic data provides an eye-opening perspective on the dynamics of Riyadh's roads. You'd likely have your own perceptions on which streets boast the top speeds per the speedometer's reading, however, our data offers some unexpected revelations.

Our analysis is based on the median speeds across various streets of Riyadh. The median offers a more accurate indicator since it's less affected by extremes at both ends of speed data. What we found may astound you or even challenge your regular commuting choices.

"Traffic patterns are like a city's heartbeat, constantly changing and unique to the city. Understanding these patterns helps us recognize the fastest routes and could dramatically reduce travel times," mentions Aisha Al-Qahtani, a renowned urban planner.





شارع العمارية


طريق جبل الرحمة




طريق الملك عبدالله


طريق الملك عبد الله


طريق مكة المكرمة


طريق الملك فهد


الطريق الدائري الشرقي


طريق علي بن أبي طالب


                                                                               The data for the above table was sourced from TomTom

Traffic along specific Commercial Real Estate

Sure, let's delve deeper into the connections between traffic and commercial real estate sector. Imagine if we could understand which commercial areas are the most congested and at what times. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Let's visualize this with available data. We have information about different commercial zones in Riyadh: shopping malls, business districts, and popular markets. By mapping traffic volumes at different times of the day against these locations, we can get intriguing insights.

Image source: xMap

For instance, are there certain hotspots where traffic is consistently high? What about peak hours - perhaps during lunch breaks or right after office timings in business hubs? This could be extremely valuable information for city planners contemplating the need for additional infrastructure, such as parking facilities or public transport access.

Indeed, the collaboration between traffic data and urban planning can significantly improve the functionality of our cities. Our journey is just beginning, and there is much more to explore - with your engagement and enthusiasm, we can together venture into these unchartered territories of urban development.

Median Speed Analysis in Mekkah

In Makkah, we found that most city roads have a median speed below the posted speed limit, suggesting that congestion is a common issue. Whether you're on a main artery or a smaller side street, it seems like the overall pace of traffic is slower than you might expect.

Image source: xMap

Fig.1. Heatmap showcasing the median speed across different areas in Mekkah.

This slow-going traffic isn't simply an annoyance—it has significant implications for city planning and environmental health. For one, slow speeds can impede emergency vehicles, slowing response times. Additionally, longer travel times mean more idling cars, leading to increased air pollution.

Just imagine if we could alleviate congestion and increase the median speed by just 5 kilometers per hour. This small increase could potentially save thousands of hours of commute time, reduce fuel consumption, and decrease emissions in Mekkah each year. It's a compelling reason to re-evaluate how we approach traffic management in the city.

Use cases of Road Traffic Data

Right now, you may be wondering, 'What's the real-world application of all these numbers and charts?' That's a great question! Allow us to show you how this trove of traffic data forms a key resource for urban planners and policymakers worldwide, especially in busy cities like Riyadh and Mekkah.

Shaping More Efficient Cities

Think for a moment about the city planners' job. Their aim is to design urban spaces that are efficient, safe, and conducive to quality life. This is where those segment IDs, average speeds, and travel times come into play. They use this data to understand how traffic moves, pinpoint bottlenecks, and identify areas that need improvement. This could mean adding another lane, creating a roundabout, or even building a new transit route. Essentially, these usually overlooked numbers can transform a cityscape for the better.

Influencing Effective Policies

Moreover, traffic data is instrumental to policy makers who strategize on the most effective methods to manage traffic and promote sustainability. For instance, ever heard of congestion charging? That's when vehicles are charged for entering a particular part of the city during peak hours. This strategy helps reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, positively impacting the community.

Another transformative policy could be enhancing public transportation. If data reveals that a specific area has long travel times, authorities can introduce new bus or train routes, or even provide incentives for biking or walking. It's all about finding innovative, data-based solutions.

Fostering Environmental Sustainability

Lastly, we can't forget the environment. Traffic data, by revealing the most traffic-heavy areas, can guide initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and tackle air pollution. These could include encouraging electric vehicles, implementing 'no car days', or using 'green waves', which synchronize traffic signals to keep vehicles moving and reduce idling.


As we've delved into the depths of urban traffic patterns, we've discovered some profound truths that intertwine our daily commute with the larger framework of city planning and environmental sustenance. Some key takeaways include:

Complexity in Simplicity: The interplay of various traffic data points like segment IDs, speed limits, and average speeds unraveled a complex web of urban traffic patterns. Understanding these nuances is crucial for anyone trying to solve city infrastructure challenges.

A Map is Worth a Thousand Data Points: Visual maps such as scatter plots, histograms, and heatmaps brought the data to life, making information assimilation quicker and intuitive. These tools helped unpack relationships like average speeds vs speed limits and pinpointed areas of high traffic density.

Data-Driven Urban Planning: Empirical insights from traffic data help shape smarter cities. They arm urban planners with the information needed to architect more efficient road layouts, thereby optimizing travel times and commuting experiences.

A Green Traffic Future: Translating traffic patterns into policies aimed at reducing air pollution and carbon emissions can bring us closer to achieving environmental sustainability. Though indirect, the relationship between the two is inseparable.

Streets Paved with Future Possibilities: Traffic data, when married with factors like weather conditions and public events, can unlock a slew of futuristic innovations. It sets the stage for further research, charting a clear path towards improved urban traffic management.

To get all the details about Saudi Arabia Road Traffic data, See this dataset page.

Or visit our catalog page.

If you’d like to data samples for other countries like Egypt, USA, Switzerland, Japa, Turkey, UAE, and others, please visit our platform and sign up.

This data is provided by LocationMind but the data source is TomTom

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