Private cars fill 70pc city roads
Public vehicles like bus; and cycling and walking must get priority over private vehicles to prevent perennial traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital, said environmentalists at a media briefing yesterday.
The Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) along with Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh arranged the briefing on the challenge of urban air quality and mobility management.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of CSE, said, "Use of the private cars must be restricted to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in cities like Dhaka."
Citing the findings of Buet, Anumita said walking makes 62 percent share of the daily total trips in the city, rickshaws 13 percent, buses 10 percent, three-wheelers six percent and cars only four percent.
However, private cars occupy at least 70 percent of the Dhaka road space, she added.
Increasing the present share of trips by buses to 60 percent is vital to address traffic congestion and air pollution in Dhaka, she said.
The road space must be devoted in proportion with the number of people using it, but not as a privilege to the number of cars, Anumita observed.
Use of cars in the core city area must be restricted with adequate parking charge, various tolls and taxes at a higher rate.
Introduction of the clean fuel (compressed natural gas) in the vehicles helped save 4,260 premature deaths in 2009 in Dhaka, said Anumita. But its low price has encouraged the use of private motorcars at a very nominal cost, she added.
While clean fuel like CNG should be dedicated more and more to public transportation modes, motorisation has to ensure utmost fuel efficiency.
Monoarul Islam, director general of Department of Environment, said of the 14 lakh vehicles in the city, two lakh are CNG-run.
Of the total vehicles running in Dhaka, 3.5 lakh are private cars.
Sabihuddin Ahmed, former secretary to the environment ministry, Mostafa Kamal Mojumder, editor of the New Nation, and Muhammad Jahangir, anchor of television talk-shows, among others, spoke on the occasion moderated by Quamrul Chowdhury, FEJB chairman.