Traffic Jam in Dhaka City: Challenges and Possible Solution
January 15:2008 (12:30 pm)
Mr. President- American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamu Alaikum and Good Afternoon
Let me first take the opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to ‘American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh’ for inviting me here in this programme. It’s a great pleasure and honour for me to be here to share my experiences on ‘Traffic Jam’ which is one of the burning issues for Dhaka City.
In my speech, I am going to highlight- important causes of traffic jam in Dhaka City, challenges we are facing to address the issue, our achievements and finally I am going to make a few recommendations. I would appreciate, if you please supplement me with your valuable and intellectual inputs at the end of the session.
Reasons behind traffic jam
(a) City lay-out (master plan) and over-population: The causes of traffic congestion in Dhaka city are multifarious. Starting from the city itself, it is observed that the skeleton, structure and lay-out of Dhaka City are not well-planned and well-directed. Dhaka is also a highly populated city. More than one crore people live here and the figure is increasing day by day. This huge population acts as an auto-catalyst of traffic congestion in Dhaka City.
(b) Inadequate and unplanned roads: Dhaka City has very inadequate road networks. For a standard city, where the minimum road requirement is 25%, Dhaka has only 7.5% road of its total area. 30% of this 7.5% road is also occupied by the hawkers, salesman and shopkeepers. A significant portion is occupied by construction materials and waste-containers of the City Corporation. As a result, vehicles do not get sufficient space to move on.
Besides this, in most cases roads are serpentine rather than being straight. This ultimately breeds a number of unnecessary junctions where vehicles automatically slow down. Again, these roads are also not well constructed and regularly repaired. City Corporation, DESA, WASA, BTTB excavate the roads randomly without any integrated and central plan. Lack of proper maintenance causes the vehicle to stop without any prior notice. During the rainy season the situation becomes more critical while the roads go under water due to heavy rain.
(c) Heterogeneous vehicles and inadequate public transport: Dhaka is a city of heterogeneous vehicles. Human puller to latest model automobile, mechanical to non-mechanical, slow to fast-moving, nothing left on the road of Dhaka. It is quite difficult to control all these vehicles on the same road as they have different speed capacity. Besides this, public transport system in Dhaka city is not adequate and properly-routed. Instead of big and spacious buses, presence of large number of mini-buses and private vehicles can only contribute to carry few passengers, but not to reduction of traffic congestion.
(d) Rail crossing: Everyday we are experiencing movement of 74 trains to and from Dhaka. On an average, it takes five minutes to get the clearance for each crossing. Thus in one crossing, everyday the vehicles stop for six hours that is really difficult to offset.
(e) Insufficient parking arrangement and road blockage: Limited parking arrangement is another major cause of excessive traffic in Dhaka City. It has become a regular practice to park the car on road. Even during rush hours, people are seen loading and unloading their vehicles on a busy road. City transports also stop here and there without any valid reason. The three major bus stations, Sayedabad, Gabtoli and Mohakhali do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all the buses operating from here. A recent addition to road blockage is the long queue of vehicles at CNG stations, which is really difficult to overcome.
Challenges we face