Dhaka City's Traffic Jam and Planned Solutions

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Since coming to power, the present government has been facing a number of big challenges, finding a solution to the chronic problem of traffic jam in Dhaka city is one of those. It needs extra efforts to check the traffic congestion in the capital city that kills unlimited manhours and saps commuters of energy and working ability every day. The financial losses are beyond measurement though informal studies estimate the same at several hundred billions of taka.

Taking the problem into account, the present government since its coming to power has been showing its desire to resolve it. It has taken up major projects to ease the unbearable traffic gridlock of the city. Despite all its efforts, the city people are yet to get the minimum respite from the problem.

Losses caused by traffic jam

A study conducted by the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport states that 200 billion taka is lost every year because of staying longer time, 8.15 million working hours, on the streets because of traffic jams every year. The loss of business hours constitute 40 per cent of the total working hours lost. Both public and private transport operators and freight industry also suffer losses for losing trips per day. Traffic jam reduces speed of motorised vehicles from 40 kilometre per hour (kph) to on an average 15 kph. Loss of different modes of vehicles including buses, mini buses and CNG three wheelers and paddle-driven rickshaws for losing speed is estimated at Tk 12 billion a year.

Another study of Roads and Highways (RHD) done in 2009 also estimated loss of fuel worth Tk 96 million that the motorised vehicles burn staying longer than required time in the streets. Each vehicle faces killing of on an average time of 7.5 hours. On an average 2500 vehicles can run only 15 kph as against its 50 kph during the traffic jam free roads.

Extent of traffic jam

All the street users in most cases blame each other for deteriorating the traffic jam in the city. The bus operators blame private cars while the latter do the opposite. But experts say uncontrolled and unplanned plying of motorised and non-motorised vehicles in insufficient road, insufficient mass transport facilities, lack of coordination among transport related agencies, illegal occupation of roads, footpaths, unscientific signal system, haphazard parking and inadequate parking facility and frequent intersections are among many other issues responsible for the city's gridlock.

The RHD study says that light to medium vehicles occupy 65 per cent of the road followed by buses and trucks with 20 per cent. Only 15 per cent road capacity was used by CNG auto-rickshaw.

Dhaka Urban Transport Network Development Study (DHUTS) conducted under the Dhaka Transport Coordination Board (DTCB) in 2009 also found 22 intersections responsible for making the city traffic volume unmanageable.

The city's highest traffic was counted at Sonargaon intersection where 10,799 vehicles move per hour in the morning and 9800 vehicles in the evening.

From New Market and Gulshan-2 intersection crossing experience, the study shows the queue of vehicles stretches up to more than 200 metres from the crossing points, On an average queue goes 90 metre in the morning and 250 metre in the evening.

Traffic volume in Shahid Tazuddin road is 53,961, followed by 42,272 in Saidabad road and 32,658 in Sonargaon from 6am to 10pm.

About 50 companies operate over 6000 buses in the city with ownership of over 1200 people. But some 50 big schools are also held responsible for causing the traffic jam early morning and some other specific time and location. DMP says traffic police work 3 to 4 hours to tackle hundreds of private cars that enter the school zones, mostly Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani to drop and pick up school and college going students from various parts of the city. A single girls' school cum college at Baily road...
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