‘Metro, expressway not enough to curb gridlock’
While the metro rail and elevated expressway alleviated congestion in certain parts of the capital, additional initiatives are required to address overall traffic jams, said speakers at a seminar yesterday.
They said the government should focus on expanding public transportation and increase facilities for pedestrians.
They were speaking at a seminar titled "Traffic Jam in Dhaka: The Impact of Metrorail and Elevated Expressway".
Bangladesh Utility Reporters Association organised the programme.
Prof Adil Mohammed Khan, president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said, "We're experiencing contrasting impacts of the mega projects: traffic jams reduced on some main roads, yet it is acute on alleys and lanes, highlighting the need for a comprehensive plan to alleviate congestion."
He said the implementation of Strategic Transport Plan for Dhaka (STP 2005-25) is yet in the primary phase. Dhaka is the slowest city in the world despite the mega projects, he added.
In the keynote paper, he suggested to extend the elevated expressway to Kutubkhali area from Farmgate. Additionally, he stressed the importance of enhancing public transport and implementing a disciplined traffic system alongside mega projects.
He recommended incorporating the low and middle income people's necessity in taking all plans related to the traffic system.
Kazi Md Shifun Newaz, assistant professor at the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Buet, said, "To maximise the benefits of the metro rail, certain actions need to be taken such as reducing private car usage in the city, improving the public transport system, and relocating rickshaws away from main roads."
"The traffic system ought to be developed in cooperation with buses and trains, with a crucial focus on overcoming obstacles on footpaths," said LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam.
He said the growth of per capita income among the populace has increased traffic jams in the cities.
"There is no possibility to reduce the traffic jam overnight. We are working phase by phase. You [people] should recognise the progress and propose realistic recommendations," he added.
He suggested implementing a policy where families are restricted to owning only one car.