Overhaul of the capital’s chaotic roads to follow
The government is set to begin a traffic survey of Dhaka within the next two months with the aim of finding a solution to the capital’s perennially congested roads.
The Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) and the Traffic Division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will conduct the survey, according to police and government sources.
“The traffic survey of Dhaka will start within a couple of months, once a detailed plan is finalized by ARI,” said Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) Md Munibur Rahman.
“We will conduct the survey to improve the traffic management system,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
The ARI has been working on the technical and financial proposal for the survey since July.
“The proposal, including a detailed plan for the traffic survey, is almost ready for submission to the Home Ministry, '' said Prof Md Hadiuzzaman, director of ARI.
“We will conduct the survey to assess the capacity of roads and the number of vehicles on them. We need to figure out how many vehicles are travelling within the city and through it, or making regular trips between destinations,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
It is still unclear how long it may take to complete the survey.
The survey is not a solution, but it is integral to finding out how best to deal with the capital’s traffic problems. It is impossible to find a solution to the traffic problem without an idea of how many private cars, public transports, and auto-rickshaws the roads can support, the ARI director added.
“Many cities, like Singapore and Bangkok, have 8-12% road network coverage, but their transport systems run relatively smoothly. Dhaka has 8% road network coverage, but poor management results in more gridlock,” Prof Hadiuzzaman said.
In March 2019, a committee led by transport sector leader and former minister Shajahan Khan made 111 recommendations to reduce crashes and bring discipline to the country’s transport sector. One of the recommendations was to solve the traffic problems in the capital.
The same year, the government formed a taskforce led by the home minister to implement the recommendations of the committee. This year, the taskforce decided to begin work on the traffic survey.
Traffic congestion in Dhaka eats up about 3.2 million work hours every day and the average speed of vehicles during rush hours is about 7kmph, according to a 2017 World Bank report.
Various government agencies, including the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, and Dhaka city corporations, have taken initiatives in the past and failed to find a solution to the traffic gridlock of the capital.