An integrated mass transport system with measures to reduce physical trips need to be ensured to make Dhaka a modern habitable city, speakers said at a discussion in the capital yesterday.
“A smart city shortens physical trips to workplaces through digital services and connectivity,” said Dr Shamsul Hoque, a professor of civil engineering department at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
For a dependable mass transport system, there needs to be comfortably wide pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths connected to the metro rail network, he said.
Besides, a modern city has to discourage the use of small personal vehicles by providing a dependable mass transport system to the city dwellers, added the transportation engineering expert.
United Nations Development Programme and Access to Information programme of the Prime Minister's Office organised the discussion at Bangabandhu Novo Theatre as part of an ongoing smart city campaign week to explore means to improve civic services in the capital.
Prof Adnan Zillur Rahman, chairperson of department of architecture at Brac University, said due to a lack of land use zoning, Dhaka dwellers have to travel unnecessary distances every day for their work and to acquire services.
Ensuring services within walking distance can heavily reduce excessive dependency on motorised vehicles. This would enhance mobility and reduce carbon emission in the city, he also said.
Prof Ishrat Islam of urban and regional planning department at Buet, said a wider use of information and digital communications technology would help reduce traffic gridlock in the city and thus save the environment.
Dr Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, among others spoke while Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan, chaired the discussion.