Although 93 percent of journeys in Dhaka are conducted on foot, by cycles, rickshaw or public transport, they are given least priority in transport planning, which is why the demand of private cars is increasing gradually, speakers said at a programme today.
In a webinar titled "Back to Walking and Cycling for Livable Cities", speakers said it is important to undertake functional projects that will take into account the needs of all city dwellers to create a pro-people city, ensure a walking and cycling-friendly environment and control private cars.
The webinar was part of a series of programmes organised by Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) -- with the help of 60 government and non-government organisations -- to mark World Car Free Day, says a press release.
The webinar was presided over by Executive Director of DTCA Khondoker Rakibur Rahman while Prof Samsul Hoque of Civil Engineering Department, Buet, presented the keynote speech.
Nilima Akhter, additional secretary of Road Transport and Highway Division, Nur Mohammed Mazumder, chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Brig Gen Amirul Islam, chief engineer of Dhaka North City Corporation and Saifuddin Ahmed, executive director of WBB Trust, among others, took part in the webinar.
In the keynote speech, Prof Shamsul Hoque said it is important to have alternatives to private cars and it is not enough to have public transport only.
"We need an integrated transport system prioritising walking, cycling, rickshaw, water transport and rail. We must focus on road infrastructure to have functional mega projects," he added.
Nilima Akhter said developed countries prioritised walking and cycling in urban transport planning, enabling them to control their traffic congestion.
Nur Mohammed Mazumder said they need to coordinate with DTCA and it is important to have programmes that ensure active and safe routes to school to control the usage of cars for school commutes.
Khondoker Rakibur Rahman said they will have a discussion with both city corporations about the road network, with RAJUK about land use and with traffic police about traffic management soon. "We will have specific planning and will implement those with coordination of relevant organisations," he added.