Look, listen, learn, and go
WHEN there are more travellers than transporters, when a larger vehicle will save space by replacing several smaller ones, and bring in other environmental joys lesser air and noise pollution, more greenery with roads occupying lesser space for number of persons moved mass transportation emerges as THE solution. Added to that is 'rapid', as of course time is of great meaning and consequence to particularly a city dweller.
For quite a few years now Dhaka has been bubbling with restrained enthusiasm with the prospect of having a mass transportation system, underground or over the ground it hardly mattered as the city traffic situation has been rapidly deteriorating what with the government trying every sauce in the larder to make travelling a little more bearable and, if possible, pleasant. The consequence has been a greater and louder demand for a modern system akin to that of other megacities.
We have had discussion on the topic on this page in the past. Architect Sujaul Islam Khan comes up with yet another encouraging proposal. Considering the huge costs and time involved, and our economic condition as well as the expectation of the people, the allowable margin of error is very minimal. Therefore, every idea, scheme, and proposition should be studied threadbare by the policy makers and decision givers at the very outset. The only thing not rapid about the system should be the planning and design part, which should be meticulously worked out.
Again, given our questionable record in evaluating human life, more specifically with regard to city provisions and construction works, it is essential to address associated issues such as safety, fire, noise, air quality, etc during construction and after commissioning of the mammoth project involving thousands of people round the clock. The experience of all other cities will be useful and that of an Asian city closer to home Bangkok with similar soil condition, population density, and built-up infrastructure will be especially pertinent.
It will be useful to remember that the transportation problem cannot be resolved by linear means, such as the introduction of one hundred buses, double-deckers and all that. The scheme of Mass Rapid Transit (as the system has been coined) requires garnering all related modes of transportation bus, rail (under and over the ground), water so that the options are wide and effective.
The task will not be easy to say the least, but we have overcome greater obstacles. Look forward we must.