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Signal plans, rules for traffics collapsed

City tailback aggravated

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Traffic police manually controlling signal system as most of the auto signal system in city is disorder. The photo was taken from Shahbagh intersection on Monday.

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11th-Sep-2018       
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Md Joynal Abedin Khan  :
The tailback has become a common phenomenon due to failure of the plans and rules to establish the discipline on the city streets.
Most of the  traffic plans could not be executed due to inadequate roads (exists eight percent only against 25 per cent). Absence of separate lanes for different speed based vehicles and automatic digital signals, occupation of  roads and footpaths, allowing commuters walking across the roads halting transports and cars have made the situation aggravated, South City Corporation sources said.  
Besides, the both city corporations' effective pilot project based digital traffic signals and automatic traffic signals collapsed for lacking of proper monitoring system and practical test based for Dhaka, they said.
Unfit, date expired and illegal vehicles are also blamed for traffic jam in the city as such these transports sometimes are found standing on city roads for engine inactive and other instrumental glitches, said a traffic sergeant seeking anonymity.
Besides, traffic police personnel allegedly take stand against effective digital traffic system for personal gains, said an official of  Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
The newly launched Uber, Patha transports' reckless driving is new pain for commuters as they are busy for more trips to earn commission money, said Afia Sultana, an employee of Janata Bank.
"In all modern cities, traffic is controlled through automatic signal lights and not manually by police. We wanted to introduce the same system here," Rafiqul Islam,  private university teacher in the city.
However, many blamed a 'conflict' between police and the city corporations for the problem.
"The first two options failed as none of them is applicable for this chaotic city. You can't introduce a pre-fixed system when traffic flow is unpredictable in Dhaka," said Prof Shamsul Hoque, an urban traffic expert teaching at BUET's Civil Engineering Department.
He said the past initiatives were taken without properly assessing the ground realities: plying of mixed vehicles (motorised and non-motorised), movement of pedestrians, sudden changes in traffic flow on streets due to VIP movements and various programmes on the streets.
Professor Shamsul, who was engaged by the WB and the Dhaka South City Corporation to make the ineffective system effective, said, "The semi-automatic system will work only if city dwellers are educated about it and encouraged to follow."
The urban planner Khondker Neaz Rahman is not optimistic at all. "No initiative will work if the reasons for the previous attempts failing are still there."
"However, about 50 to 70 percent of the losses can be avoided through proper actions," said ARI former Director Professor Moazzem Hossain.
Around 74 percent of accidents in Dhaka occur when pedestrians cross the streets, he said
"If the city's traffic situation does not improve, the average speed of vehicles will come further down to four kilometers an hour -- even less than average walking speed -- by the year 2025," Moazzem added. He blamed narrow roads, illegal parking, occupation of footpaths and frequent diggings of roads for the traffic congestion.
Urban expert and former UGC chairman Professor Nazrul Islam said traffic jam is getting worse gradually due to rise in city population and number of small vehicles, and for lack of effective measures to control it.
"We have built over a half dozens of flyovers, but it is not a solution to solve the problem."  he observed.
Road Safety Foundation Vice-President Abdul Hamid Sharif said, 25 roads are necessary for freeing the city from traffic chaos. But it is 7.8 percent of its roads good.
Dr Mohammad Shakil Akther, a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Department at BUET, said: "The government should make the car maintenance highly expensive to discourage the use of those vehicles."
Farah Deeba, Associate Professor of Dhaka University's Clinical Psychology department, said, traffic jam impacts on the family life and social relations as it creates severe mental stress.
On February 19, to ensure hassle-free traffic in Dhaka, the government has taken various steps including the introduction of the rope-off method, automated signals, countdown timers and giant digital display boards. Now, the Traffic Division and the Dhaka City Corporation will introduce a new system called "Intelligence Traffic System" (ITC) to reduce traffic congestion. The necessary machines will be initially installed at Mohakhali, Gulshan, Paltan and Fulbaria.
Earlier, the World Bank in 2001-02 financed the installation of 70 modern traffic signal lights under 'Dhaka Urban Transport' project at a cost of about Tk 250 million to curb gridlock.
"Dhaka traffic came to a grinding halt since the morning to late night after we tried to control traffic with automated signal lights," said a Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Traffic ) south zone.

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