Traffic jam is very hard to tell about the causes of jam in Dhaka as it does not follow any pattern. It is a common practice in Dhaka to blame rickshaws as the only reason for creating traffic congestion. But in reality there are several of reasons behind this problem. Effective reasons include:
Significant increase in population and also in all types of vehicles All of the major export oriented Industries, corporate offices, significant number of Export Promotion Zones, the head offices of almost all Multi-National Companies, higher educational facilities and even the major International Airport of the country, all are located in or around the greater Dhaka city. Thus the city controls the economic development of the whole country. For these reasons, most of the rural-urban migration of Bangladesh is towards Dhaka City and it constitutes about 60% of Dhaka’s increasing population. Dhaka, at present, is one of the top most populous cities of the world. At present the greater Dhaka has about 10 million population. The city’s urbanization rate is one of the highest of the world and it is projected that by the year 2010, Dhaka will be the sixth largest city of the world with 18 million population. The increasing population obviously increases the demand for more vehicles on the streets. Also they can easily provide the necessary labor force, especially for the informal sector rickshaw pulling. The more the traffic, the more will be the congestion, as the city has very limited infrastructure.
Heterogeneous vehicles and inadequate public transport:
Dhaka is a city of heterogeneous vehicles. There are both motorized and non-motorized vehicles occupy the same streets at the same time. 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. Most of the rickshaw “pullers,” or drivers, do not have any training and they are not even aware of the traffic rules.
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.
Insufficient number of traffic police and traffic signals, flaws in traffic markings, violation of traffic rules and regulations etc. can also be cited as some of the main reasons for traffic congestion in this city. Some points are discussed here: Violation of Traffic rules and regulations a. There is a lack of education and consciousness among the citizenry about the traffic rules. b. People who come to the city from villages for employment, rickshaw pulling becomes the most easily available job for them. They do not need any formal training to start this profession. In most of the cases, they do not even take a legal license. c. Most of the time, the pedestrians crosses the busy streets even if there is no crosswalk. People do not usually use the over bridges or underpasses, which are constructed in the important and busy intersections of the city. d. The buses do not stop at the bus stops, they stop just at the intersection points, and rickshaws always follow them. As a result, the intersections of the busy roads always remain crowded by the people and different types of vehicles.
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. Most of the new shopping centers or commercial buildings do not have adequate parking facilities. People have to park on the roads, which ultimately narrow down the effective width of the roads to a great extent. Before the approval, many building projects show that they will provide parking facility in the basement. But after getting the authorization to construct a project, the builders or owners usually do not follow the proposed plan properly. 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.
Every day we are experiencing movement of 74 trains to and from Dhaka. The existing “intercity rail line” passes through the four important Central Business Districts and a number of important and busy roads of Dhaka City. When a train passes, lots of vehicles have to wait near the rail crossing, which causes serious traffic jam at the interval of every 15 minutes as an average.
Every day at least one or two street processions or protests occur in Dhaka because of the all-time political instability of Bangladesh. These processions slow down the traffic flow of the important streets during the peak hour.