<i>Gridlock halts vehicles for 7.5 hrs a day</i>
Gridlocks in the capital halt traffic for 7.5 hours a day, earning Dhaka a bad reputation of being one of the world's most congested cities alongside exposing it to huge economic losses, according to a survey report released yesterday.
Roads and Highways Department (R&H) conducted the study.
The respondents said tailbacks are growing longer day by day while a government order refixing office timing yielded little success in easing traffic jam.
"Our study estimated that economic loss only in terms of fuel cost amounts to Tk 10,000 crore a year due to traffic jam," R&H engineer Shantosh Kumar Roy, who carried out the study, told BSS.
The amount is one-third of the country's annual development expenditure.
According to previous reports, Dhaka has only seven to eight percent road infrastructure compared to 25 percent needed ideally as per universal thumb rule, but the study said the 'intersection' or street management problems are intensifying the crisis.
"In a four-lane road, a single traffic signal halts an average 24,000 vehicles . . . We immediately need to construct overpasses to ease the situation alongside a campaign to reduce city population by distributing civic facilities elsewhere," Roy said.
The study report came a month after the police launched a 'clean street' campaign to ease traffic jam as the gridlock even halted the prime minister's motorcade on her way to office.
A police report last month suggested a series of steps, including construction of underground and overground railway and elevated expressways alongside efficient public transport systems as Dhaka's traffic jam exceeds its own records in recent period.
"Expansion of road networks and construction of other requisite infrastructures is crucially important," said a Dhaka Metropolitan Police report on the city's traffic situation.
The report suggested franchising of bus routes to introduce a modern public transport system, saying unhealthy competition among the city's 150 bus companies was one of the major reasons for the traffic congestion.
The report also stressed launching underground train and monorail system, elevated expressway alongside immediate steps to make major roads off-limits to rickshaws.