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Wednesday, January 10, 2018 11:17:13 PM
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Commuters stranded for traffic jam

Present average speed of vehicles 6.3 kmh, it may fall to 4.7 kph by 2035; Per day waste 90 lakh working hours, estimated loss at 300 crore

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Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
The commuters now feel completely helpless to move from residences to offices and other destinations as their transports almost remain stranded on roads and streets during the common traffic congestion across the capital and its entering points.
The sufferings of dwellers of Paltan, Baridhara, Hatirjheel, Gulshan-1, Shantinagar, Kakrail, Rampura,  Dhanmondi, Kolabagan areas shelter during the office hours as the traffic system has already collapsed for construction  work of roads and flyovers and mismanagement of traffic rules.
The average speed of vehicles is 6.3 kilometers per hour (kph) recently and it was 15 kmp/h in 2003 and 13.7 kp/h in 2010, reports media.
A recent World Bank study shows that Dhaka's average traffic speed has dropped from 21km/h to 7km/h in the last 10 years, slightly above the average walking speed.
Another study conducted by the Copenhagen Consensus Center says that the speed in Dhaka is now 6.4km/h, and if vehicle growth continues at its current pace, without substantial public transport, the average speed may fall to 4.7km/h by 2035.
Traffic gridlock waste 90 lakh work hours per day and its estimated loss is almost 300 crore per day, another statistics report showed.
The traffic jam mainly originated from pressure of excessive vehicles, violation of traffic system, dysfunctional of digital signals, illegal occupying of footpaths, invalid parking, wrong design of roads and sight establishments and expiring time-frame for building or repairing installations.
The traffic suffering also intensified several times than that of normal days if any rally or public gathering or mob demonstrations held and road clearing the smooth plying of cars-convoy for the VVIPs  and VIPs blockading the city's roads and intersections.
The road water-logging, street collapsing and other natural climax might be considered   as the extra causes of  traffic jam in the city.
In this context,  Dhaka, a city of 13 million people and only 7.5 per cent road of its total area (for a standard city, the minimum road requirement is 25 pc) of which 30 pc is occupied by hawkers, salesman and shopkeepers,  is presumably destined to be a slow city, said the sources of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakha (RAJUK).
After that in year 2004 by the fund of World Bank Dhaka City Corporation has installed four types of traffic signals at 59 intersections along the major corridors in Dhaka. At present there are 70 signalized intersections in Dhaka City, they said.
Currently, around 21,00,000 buses run through Dhaka city on 165 routes and are owned by nearly 2,000 small businessmen. Even around eight lakh rickshaws also plying in the city, DMP source said.
The Dhaka North and South City Corporations are implementing a digital signal system. The project is being implemented under the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment (CASE) project funded by the World Bank.
The traffic police will be given remotes to control the lights under the new system and will be able to decide when they change to green or red.
Water transport
The government has already started the water taxi service in Hatirjheel linking Moghbazar, Rampura and Gulshan. The service will be extended to Gulshan-2 and Baridhara.
The CASE project, currently under implementation, will cost an estimated Tk 15 crore. It includes installation of solar panels where the existing 70 traffic signals are located, with 30 intersections in DSCC area and the rest 40 in DNCC area.
 "The government has massive plans for Dhaka city to increase traffic speed and improve living standards in an integrated way," said Road and Bridge Division Minister Obaidul Quader.
Professor Nazrul Islam, Chairman of Centre for Urban Studies, said: "Since urbanisation and traffic management in Dhaka are completely unplanned, the problems are not going to disappear soon. It might get worse in the future if the government doesn't take effective steps for decentralisation."
Prof Shamsul Hoque of Bangladesh University of Science and Technology (BUET  and transport expert, said  "Even though Dhaka represents only 1% of the country's total area, it contributes over 36% to the GDP and creates 44% of the country's total employment."
 "The government has already wasted a massive amount of money by introducing automated signal system, but that did not work because at different times of the day, the traffic varies. So when one side is completely gridlocked, the other side can have very little traffic. The semi-automated remotes can solve these problems.
Professor Dr Sarwar Jahan, Department of Urban and Regional Planning at BUET, said : "If the government doesn't take strict measures for decentralisation, none of the tools like overpass, underpass, elevated expressway and metro rail will produce the desired result in reducing traffic congestion."
"Several meetings were held with the CASE Project and they promise to implement the project soon, but already two years have gone by," said Mosle Uddin, Additional Commissioner of DMP Traffic.
 "We have already begun projects to improve Dhaka's traffic gradually. The improvement will be seen within a short time after the completion of the metro rail, Rapid Transit Bus and other projects," he said.
DMP Joint Commissioner (traffic) Mir Rezaul Alam said, it is impossible to control traffic on all Dhaka roads with only lights and timers because all the equipment do not function properly.

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