Researchon Monograph: "Traffic Jam in Dhaka City"


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Researchon Monograph: "Traffic Jam in Dhaka City"

  1. 1. Abstract: Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh is one of the most populated and polluted cities in the world. It is now facing serious traffic problem along with drainage, housing, water, sewerage, gas and electricity. The traffic congestion cost is US$3 billion a year and the City losses over 8 million work hours daily. A number of mega projects are on the table as a possible solution and few of them are discussed at the higher level for quick implementation as a priority without undertaking any feasibility study. It is easily perceptible that there is no short cut way to implement large projects quickly. This is due to nature of work, funding arrangement and related formalities and it also needs proper investigation to select appropriate project for implementation. An attempt of quick implementation may lead inappropriate selection of projects which may not be helpful in reducing the problem and will not be the best value for money. Very few discussions are underway to maximize the utilization of the existing road reserve and infrastructures. Even no short to medium term plans are under consideration properly to alleviate the problem which can be done by ensuring the appropriate use of roads, waterways, footpaths and by improving the public transport system. It is suggested to initiate a number of low cost short to medium term actions/options - mostly by using own resources which will reduce approximate 30% of the traffic congestion and will indicate the need for appropriate long term solutions. The relevant authorities should work to implement a number of small scale projects immediately and progress proposals of large projects for implementation as long term solutions where needed to remove the traffic problems in a well planned way.i Chapter - I i 1
  2. 2. 1. Introduction: One of the most challenging/complicated issues in the present decade for Bangladesh is the traffic problem of its capital city, which is deteriorating day by day with the increase in population and vehicles. At present, Dhaka has a population over 14 million which is expected to be 24 million by 2021 (7% increase per year). It is one of the most densely populated and polluted cities in the world. This historic City always attracts people from other parts of the country as there are benefits to live in Dhaka for its renowned educational institutions, better business and employment opportunities. Apart from these advantages, it has serious problems with traffic, drainage, housing, water supply and sewerage, gas and electricity. Traffic Jam at Dhaka on rickshaw free road (left) and illegal parking - occupying almost 50% of the road and hawkers’ activities on footpath (right) The City is now experiencing severe traffic problem which records high in all considerations. The rapid population growth together with limited space available for new roads and other transport infrastructures has made the congestion problem unbearable to the city dwellers. It sounds terrible that the congestion cost is over Tk.19 thousand cores (approx. US$3.00 billion) a year in Dhaka and the City loses 8.16 millions work hours daily. The impact on the environment from vehicle emission due to traffic congestion can easily be perceptible which is yet to be determined. Over the last few years the transportation problem of Dhaka City has visibly been deteriorating steadily. Citizens constantly complain about the unbearable twin problems of traffic jam and air pollution. Democracy watch decided to address this problem through an opinion poll covering around eight hundred households randomly selected from several purposively selected neighborhoods of the city, representatives of middle and lower income areas. The questions asked focused mainly on three issues: (a) the nature of the problem as perceived by the surveyed residents, (b) their understanding about the causes of these problems and (c) their recommendations on solutions to these perceived problems. Some preliminary results from this survey were presented at a workshop, which was participated by persons associated with the formulation and implementation of traffic policies, rules and programmes. This Draft Final 2
  3. 3. Report benefits from valuable discussion and comments received at the workshop. The methodology of this survey is explained below in brief. It is easy to see that the study extended beyond a standard opinion poll and entered the arena of investigative research in seeking some explanations to perceptions as well as behavior. The findings are presented mainly in the form of self-explanatory tables with some introductory highlights and conclusions. A further extension of the survey is currently being completed to cover the very poor and the rich categories of residents as was recommended by several participants at the workshop mentioned earlier.ii 1.2 Historical Background of Dhaka City: Dhaka, formerly spelled as Dacca in English, is the capital and one of the oldest cities of Bangladesh. The history of Dhaka begins with the existence of urbanized settlements in the area that is now Dhaka dating from the 7th century CE. The city area was ruled by the Buddhist kingdom of Kamarupa before passing to the control of the Sena dynasty in the 9th century CE. After the Sena dynasty, Dhaka was successively ruled by the Turkish and Afghan governors descending from the Delhi Sultanate before the arrival of the Mughals in 1608. After Mughals, British ruled the region for around 200 years until the independence of India. In 1947, Dhaka became the capital of the East Bengal province under the dominion of Pakistan. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Dhaka became the capital of the new born country. ii ii. 3
  4. 4. 1.3 Objective of the Study: Traffic jam is one of many serious global problems in both developed and undeveloped countries. Dhaka City, the capital of Bangladesh and an area experiencing rapid population expansion and traffic jam. This paper will examine the Causes, effects that traffic jam have on Dhaka City and also the possible remedy. It will illustrate the following objectives: • To find out the causes of present situation of Traffic jam in Dhaka city. • To investigate the effect of Traffic Jam. • To discussion of possible way to overcome the Problem. • To understand how many people are affected from traffic jam. • To determine the factors causing in traffic jam in Dhaka city. • To determine the impacts of traffic jam. • To determine the impacts of traffic jam in job sector. • To seek and respondents opinions about traffic jam. • To Study traffic laws and rules. 4
  5. 5. Chapter - II 2. Research Methodology: This the program and my Research Monograph course short time, so I am try to best apply my knowledge and searching serve by internet, reading book, and following The Daily Newspapers Report the another working research papers. 2.1 Literature Review: Dhaka was founded in 1608 the capital of the Province by Islam Khan Chisti during the regime of Mughal Emperor Zahangir and it was at that time renamed Zahangirnagar. With the establishment of Mughal control over the region, Dhaka continued functioning as the capital of Bengal, Behar, Orissa and retained the status till 1717. In 1905, Dhaka Was made the capital of a new province comprising East Bengal and Assam. A great deal of construction took place to house the new administration. This was cut short by annulling the partition of Bengal in 1911. In 1947, the city emerged as the provincial capital of the then East Pakistan and embraced the historic movements and finally the victory in the War of Liberation. After independence, Dhaka became the capital of Bangladesh in 1971. 5
  6. 6. 2.2 Traffic Jam, Causes, Effect and over Come: Causes of Traffic Jam There are several of reasons behind traffic jam. Effective reasons are given bellow: 1. Significant increase in population and also all types of vehicles 2. Simultaneous presence of motorized and non-motorized vehicles on the same street 3. Traffic mismanagement 4. Violation of Traffic rules and regulations 5. Poor transportation planning 6. Poor infrastructure planning 7. Other Issues : • In adequate road network • Road sign and marking • Road intersections • Missing link road • Ring road • Increasing urbanization • Mixed traffic condition • No. of lateral entry • Trench cutting by different agencies • Disarray at Bus terminal • Railway level crossing • Illegal uses of foot path • Road side parking 6
  7. 7. • Bus stoppage near intersections • Roadside pedestrian’s movements and random crossings • Mixed land use pattern • Wrong signal design • Poor drainage condition 2.3 Significant increase in population and also in all types of vehicles: All of the major export oriented Industries, corporate offices significant number of Export Promotion Zones, the head offices of almost all Multi National Companies, higher educational facilities and even the major International Airport of the country, all are located in or around the greater Dhaka city. Thus the city controls the economic development of the whole country. For these reasons, most of the rural-urban migration of Bangladesh is towards Dhaka City and it constitutes about 60% of Dhaka’s increasing population. Dhaka, at present, is one of the top most populous cities of the world. At present the greater Dhaka has about 10 million populations. The city’s urbanization rate is one of the highest of the world and it is projected that by the year 2010, Dhaka will be the sixth largest city of the world with 18 million populations. The increasing population obviously increases the demand for more vehicles on the streets. Also they can easily provide the necessary labour force, especially for the informal sector [rickshaw pulling]. The more the traffic, the more will be the congestion, as the city has very limited infrastructure. 7
  8. 8. Chapter III Master Plan 3. City lay out (master plan) and over population: The case of traffic congestion in Dhaka city are multifarious, starting from the city itself it is observed that the structure and lay out of Dhaka city are not well planned and well directed.Dhaka is also ahighly populated city more than two crore people live here and the figure is increasing day by day. This huge population acts as an auto catalist of traffic congestion in Dhaka city. 3.1Wrong parking: Wrong parking of private cars and other vehicles contributees to a major part of traffic jam but if fines under the existing law for various kinds of wrong parking are not to high to control the offence. 3.2 Unplanned bus stoppage: As per law there should not be any bus stoppage with in 2 kilometres, but buses take and deliver passengers everywhere of the road. A vehicle is not allowed to stop or slow within on hundred yeards of an intersection but always the rule is being violated. 3.3 Simultaneous presence of motorized and non-motorized vehicles on the same street In Dhaka City, both motorized and non-motorized vehicles occupy the same streets at the same time. Their speed is different and that is why it creates chaos and congestion on the street. Most of the rickshaw "pullers," or drivers, do not have any training and they are not even aware of the traffic rules. Rickshaws have some positive points also. They are environment friendly vehicles. Some transport researchers of the western world are recently talking about Eco-friendly transportation trends. There are some cities like 8
  9. 9. Paris, which have introduced rickshaws on their streets in the recent years because of its environment friendliness quality. Another positive point is, rickshaw is economically very suitable for the middle income people, who can not afford to buy a car and also do not want to take a ride in a heavily congested bus. There is also a privacy factor. Bangladesh is a Muslim country and Muslim women usually prefer privacy. Rickshaw can give them this privacy along with the economic affordability. 3.4 Traffic Mismanagement: Drivers of buses, micros and private cars do not follow traffic rules, but present traffic law does provide for heavy fine and punishment in case of traffic rule violations. Besides this Insufficient number of traffic police and traffic signals, flaws in traffic markings, violation of traffic rules and regulations etc can also be cited as some of the main reasons for traffic congestion in this city. Some points are discussed here: 3.5 Effect of traffic jam: 1. Increase in fuel consumption 2. Increase in travel time cost 3. Loss of time 4. loss of life time of the vehicle 5. Environmental pollution 6. Increase mental dissatisfaction 7. Negative Attitudes about transport system in Dhaka city. 9
  10. 10. Chapter- IV Rules and Regulation 4. Violation of Traffic rules and regulations: There is a lack of education and consciousness among the citizenry about the traffic rules. People who come to the city from villages for employment, rickshaw pulling becomes the most easily available job for them. They do not need any formal training to start this profession. In most of the cases, they do not even take a legal license. Most of the time, the pedestrians crosses the busy streets even if there is no crosswalk. People do not usually use the over bridges or underpasses, which are constructed in the important and busy intersections of the city. The buses do not stop at the bus stops, they stop just at the intersection points, and rickshaws always follow them. As a result, the intersections of the busy roads always remain crowded by the people and different types of vehicles. 4.1 Improper Implementation of Traffic Rules: People usually do not want to follow the traffic rules, as there is no proper implementation of these rules. Even though traffic police is usually present at every nodes or intersections, they do not do their duties properly. Traffic rules are also very flexible. One can easily avoid the fine by giving bribe to the police. The deployment of Military Police on Dhaka’s road shows that if traffic rules are properly enforced, people must obey it. We had this experience experimentally more than three or four times in the recent years. 10
  11. 11. 4.2 Encroachment of roads and sidewalks: Street vendors, Hawkers and street front shop owners occupy above 60% of the 163-km footpaths of Dhaka City. The sidewalks are also filled up by construction materials, garbage or even temporary houses of homeless people or beggars. Very often pedestrians are forced to walk on the main roads instead of using the sidewalks because of these reasons. 4.3 Poor Transportation and Infrastructure Planning: Dhaka City had its first Master Plan when it was a province of Pakistan in 1959. But besides 3 or 4 exceptions, nothing was implemented from that master plan because of the political instability. Later after the independence, there were couples of Structure Plans, 2 year to 5-year plans. But it is a very common incident that people and also the authority do not follow those plans always. New developments are always taking place in Dhaka City without any coherent road system. More than 3000 big and small shopping centers have mushroomed on the main roads from the last 8/10 years. Lack of minimum required road structure and disproportionate road width comparing to the traffic load Dhaka City has very inadequate road networks, which are only 8 or 10 percent of the total city area, whereas the acceptable ratio is 25 percent. Greater Dhaka has a total road network of approximately 2230km of which 25% are primary roads. 11
  12. 12. The width of the roads varies from 6 to 40 m. The main roads are 15 to 25 m wide, newly built roads are 40 m wide while the roads in the older part of Dhaka are less than 6 m wide. Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP) has shown that the road hierarchy of Dhaka City is incomplete and in some major developed areas there is no road hierarchy. Old Dhaka and some other places of the city have major access problems and it will likely worsen as development intensifies. 12
  13. 13. Chapter -V 5. Reasons behind traffic Jam: (a) City lay-out (master plan) and over-population: The causes of traffic congestion in Dhaka city are multifarious. Starting from the city itself, it is observed that the skeleton, structure and lay-out of Dhaka City are not well-planned and well-directed. Dhaka is also a highly populated city. More than one core people live here and the figure is increasing day by day. This huge population acts as an auto-catalyst of traffic congestion in Dhaka City. (b) Inadequate and unplanned roads: Dhaka City has very inadequate road networks. For a standard city, where the minimum road requirement is 25%, Dhaka has only 7.5% road of its total area. 30% of this 7.5% road is also occupied by the hawkers, salesman and shopkeepers. A significant portion is occupied by construction materials and waste- containers of the City Corporation. As a result, vehicles do not get sufficient space to move on. Besides this, in most cases roads are serpentine rather than being straight. This ultimately breeds a number of unnecessary junctions where vehicles automatically slow down. Again, these roads are also not well constructed and regularly repaired. City Corporation, DESA, WASA, BTTB excavate the roads randomly without any integrated and central plan. Lack of proper maintenance causes the vehicle to stop without any prior notice. During the rainy season the situation becomes more critical while the roads go under water due to heavy rain. (c) Heterogeneous vehicles and inadequate public transport: Dhaka is a city of heterogeneous vehicles. Human puller to latest model automobile, mechanical to non-mechanical, slow to fast-moving, nothing left on the road of Dhaka. It is quite difficult to control all these vehicles on 13
  14. 14. the same road as they have different speed capacity. Besides this, public transport system in Dhaka city is not adequate and properly-routed. Instead of big and spacious buses, presence of large number of mini-buses and private vehicles can only contribute to carry few passengers, but not to reduction of traffic congestion. (d) Rail crossing: Everyday we are experiencing movement of 74 trains to and from Dhaka. On an average, it takes five minutes to get the clearance for each crossing. Thus in one crossing, everyday the vehicles stop for six hours that is really difficult to offset. (e) Insufficient parking arrangement and road blockage: Limited parking arrangement is another major cause of excessive traffic in Dhaka City. It has become a regular practice to park the car on road. Even during rush hours, people are seen loading and unloading their vehicles on a busy road. City transports also stop here and there without any valid reason. The three major bus stations, Sayedabad, Gabtoli and Mohakhali do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all the buses operating from here. A recent addition to road blockage is the long queue of vehicles at CNG stations, which is really difficult to overcome. iii 5.1 Types of Traffic Violations: Traffic violations are generally divided into major and minor types of violations. The most minor type are parking violations, which are not counted against a driving record, though a person can be arrested for unpaid violations. Next are the minor driving violations, including speeding and other moving violations, which usually do not require a court appearance. Then there are more serious moving violations, such as reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident. Finally there is drunk driving, also called Driving under the Influence (DUI), which is a classification onto itself. iii 14
  15. 15. All but the most serious traffic violations are generally prosecuted as MISDEMEANOR charges; however, repeat offenses can be prosecuted at the level of felonies. As misdemeanor charges, most traffic violations require payment of a fine but no jail time. State laws do not allow a judge to impose a jail sentence for speeding or failure to stop at a signal. However, more serious traffic violations, such as drunk or reckless driving, can result in jail time at the judge's discretion. The most common type of traffic violation is a speed limit violation. Speed limits are defined by state. In 1973, Congress implemented a 55-miles-per- hour speed limit in order to save on energy costs, but these were abolished in 1995. Since then, most states have implemented 65-mph maximum speed limits. There are two types of speed limits: fixed maximum, which make it unlawful to exceed the speed limit anywhere at any time, and prima facie, which allow drivers to prove in certain cases that exceeding the speed limit was not unsafe and, therefore, was lawful. Another common type of traffic violation is a seat belt violation. Most states now require adults to wear seatbelts when they drive or sit in the front seat, and all states require children to be restrained using seat belts. New York was the first state to make seat belts mandatory, in 1984. 15
  16. 16. Chapter – VI Effect of Traffic Violations 5. Effect of Traffic Violations: The effect of a traffic violation depends on the nature of the offense and on the record of the person receiving the traffic violation. Beyond the possibilities of fines and/or jail, other consequences of traffic violations can include traffic school, higher insurance premiums, and the suspension of driving privileges. 5.1Fines: Fines for traffic violations depend on the violation. Typically, states will have standard fines for a specific group of moving violations, with the fines increasing with the seriousness of the violation. Some states will also increase the fine if violators have other violations on their record. Courts will occasionally reduce fines on violations while still recording the violation as part of the violator's record. 5.2 Traffic School: Virtually every state allows perpetrators of a traffic violation to attend some sort of traffic school in return for the violation being wiped off their records. Traffic school generally consists of a 6-8 hour class that describes the dangers of committing traffic violations. Different states have different procedures regarding their traffic schools. Some allow traffic schools in place of paying the fine; others require payment of the fine in addition to the traffic school cost of admission. Some allow traffic violators to go to traffic school once a year, whereas others require a longer waiting period between traffic school attendances. Also, the type of violation may affect whether the violator is allowed to go to traffic school: the more serious the violation, the less likely the violator will be allowed to go to traffic school to wipe it off their record. Procedures for signing up for traffic school also differ from state to state: some states allow drivers to sign up with the school directly, others have 16
  17. 17. them go through the clerk of court or judge in order to sign-up. Most states require drivers to go to a specific location for traffic school, although some, such as California, now offer an Internet option that allows a student to attend traffic school without leaving the comfort of home 5.3 Suspension of Driving Privileges: A traffic violation not wiped out by traffic school will count against the suspension of driving privileges. In most states, suspension of driving privileges is calculated using a point system: the more points drivers have, the more likely it is their driving privileges could be suspended. Some states calculate the number of violations drivers have in a straightforward manner; if drivers reach the requisite number of violations within a certain time frame, their privileges are automatically suspended. Age can also be a factor in determining when a driver's license is suspended. Minor drivers typically see their licenses suspended with fewer violations than adults. All states entitle persons facing suspended licenses to receive a HEARING, typically in front of a hearing officer for that state's Department of Motor Vehicles. At that point, the person whose license is to be suspended may offer an explanation for why the violations in question occurred. The hearing officer usually has discretion in all but the most extreme cases (i.e. drunk driving) to reduce, defer the suspension, or cancel it entirely. 5.4 Insurance Premiums: Beyond the suspension of driving privileges, traffic violators typically can face higher insurance. Insurance companies will raise insurance rates for violators of traffic law. In many cases insurance rates will go up for as little as two violations within a three-year period. Different insurance companies follow different procedures. It is up to the discretion of the insurance company whether to raise rates as a result of a traffic violation. 17
  18. 18. Chapter - VII 7. Remedies and Recommendation: Dhaka City has very limited infrastructure. It can not support the existing people and vehicles on its roads. People of Dhaka City are facing Electricity shortage, Gas shortage and also Water shortage. If the most of the roads can not carry the traffic load now, what will happen after five years? Obviously the supply side remedies will come first. We have to increase the number of buses or improve the mass transport system if we want to attract the middle class people to move by bus. We have to increase the number of roads, the width of roads. 7.1 Supply Side Remedies: The Integrated Transport Network Plan for Metro Dhaka (1995-2015) has proposed some supply side remedies to overcome the traffic congestion of Dhaka City. 7.2 Road: a. Expansion and up gradation of public transport services, especially high capacity buses b. Construction of 217 km of Roads c. Construction of 25.8km of Link Roads to provide corridors to ease the intracity traffic movement. d. 25km of existing road widening program e. Construction of Over Bridges and Under Passes for easy pedestrian movement f. Construction of eight flyovers over the most serious congested nodes or intersections 18
  19. 19. 7.3 Railway: We have a long rail network throughout the Dhaka City. We have to use this line not only for long distance travel but also for inner city movements. Dhaka Integrated Transport Study (DITS) is thinking about the following issues: a. Upgradation of the Narayanganj-Kamlapur existing rail line: It can attract as many as 55000 potential passengers and thus reduce the load from the Narayanganj-Dhaka Bus Route and also from severely congested Gulistan Bus Station. b. Subway development program c. Development of an electrified commuter line extending to Tongi. 7.3. Remedies: 7.3.1 They can take more remedies such as: a. Increasing the number of high capacity public transports such as double decker [2 levels] buses b. Construction of by-pass roads for trucks and long route buses c. Construction of Parking Garages in the CBDs and near the busy shopping areas like Elephant Road, Hatirpool, etc d. Standardization of existing traffic management system 7.3.2 Demand Side Remedies a. More implementation of one-way traffic law b.Time segregation for different types of vehicles At present we have time segregation of vehicles only to a certain extent. For example, the load carrying Trucks are not allowed on the streets of Dhaka during daytime. They have to wait near the entry points of the city up to 6pm 19
  20. 20. everyday. This has also a negative impact. Those entry points become very congested everyday from 5pm to 7pm. We can do some experiments in terms of time segregation of different vehicles. Usually the roads are relatively less congested in the afternoons. We can allow rickshaws to some V.I.P roads [it will be explained in the next topic] at this time say from 3pm to 5pm. We can also allow rickshaws on these roads early in the morning [from 5am to 6:30am] and late nights [after 11pm]. a. Pricing on road parking in the heavily congested roads Even in neighboring Calcutta City, there are steep fines for vehicles that are parked at the side of the busy roads. We have to start this system immediately. a. Declaration of busy shopping streets such as Elephant Road and Gausia as ‘pedestrian’ streets for certain time periods of the day. b. Separation of motor vehicle bays and rickshaw bays in the busier ads, especially near the intersections 7.3.3 What should we do about the rickshaws? The Integrated Transport Network Plan did not tell anything especial about the rickshaws. What should we do about the rickshaws? Should we demolish them? Should we remove them from the roads? Dealing with rickshaws is the most critical issues. It is at a time a political, social, economical problem. Rickshaw pulling is a huge informal sector labor market. It is not possible to remove rickshaws from the streets of Dhaka, we have to accept it. We can demolish the unauthorized rickshaws. But it is also very difficult to do that, as our authority is not honest enough to do this work properly. During the 80′s, an effort started to remove rickshaws from some of the very important roads of the city. At that time, an autocrat ruler was in charge of the Government. So, there was no protest against it and it worked out successfully. But later we saw that although those roads did not have any rickshaws [they are called V.I.P. roads], still they faced lots of traffic congestion. This incident proves that rickshaw is not the main cause of 20
  21. 21. congestion. But it is also true that motorized and non-motorized vehicles can not go side by side on the same road. We can remove the rickshaws from the main roads, where speed is a very important thing to consider. Rickshaws can be present on the Arterial roads or Collector roads. There may be some streets where only rickshaws will be allowed, not the cars or buses. There might be some streets where both rickshaws and cars will ride, but in that case, we have to segregate two lanes for two types of vehicles. This strategy has been proved effective in some previous experiments for shorter periods. In the USA, average people can easily afford a car but most of the people of Dhaka can not. So, rickshaw will be a very important vehicle in future also for the persons who want privacy and do not want to ride public buses. If the public bus and metro rail can provide efficient services, people will gradually be attracted to them. The people of Dhaka City are used to ride by rickshaws for the whole of their life. So, it will also be very tough to change the behavior pattern within a short period of time. Removing rickshaws will also have a negative impact on our environment. If rickshaws are removed, we will have to provide enough buses, taxis, auto rickshaws [which use 2 stroke engines] and it will definitely worsen the situation in terms of environmental aspects, as all of the motorized vehicles of Bangladesh still use leaded fuel. Another major concern is the economic side of rickshaw pulling. We have to think about the numerous numbers of people who are engaged in this profession for so many years. We have to provide them alternative employment opportunity if we want to remove rickshaws from Dhaka’s streets. It will also be a serious political decision, because these rickshaw pullers form an important percentage of the voters in the political elections and they also maintain a strong political body themselves. Chapter - VIII 8. Alternative Way for reduce Traffic Jam: 8.1. Thinking Vertically 21
  22. 22. It is very tough to build new roads or to expand the width of the existing roads, as the city is too much congested. At this moment if we think about the supply of new roads or to improve them, we probably have to think to go vertically. We can build highways and over bridges to face the land constraint problem. 8.2. Changing the location of the existing Railway Station: As it is described earlier that the existing rail line makes a great impact on traffic congestion. We can change the location of Kamlapur Railway Station from Kamlapur to somewhere near the Hazrat Shajalal InternationalAirport. If we can do this, we can avoid the traffic congestion it creates every day at the interval of every 10/ 15 minutes. 8.3. Choosing the right route for Subway We have to think that building Subway is not the ultimate solution. In many developed cities [ex-New York City] or undeveloped cities [ex- CalcuttaCity] have subway system, but they also have severe traffic congestion problem. Still, a subway can attract many people of DhakaCity to use the public transport. The most important or crucial thing is to decide a suitable route for Subway. A proposal can be provided for the Subway route. If we can shift the Dhaka Railway Station from Kamlapur to somewhere near Uttara, we can combine the above two design strategies and make an effective plan. The map shows that the existing rail line passes through or near the main four CBDs of Dhaka City: Motijheel, Kawran Bazar, Mohakhali and Uttara. It could be the most appropriate Subway route also. As we have already got the land [under the Railway Authority], we will not need to acquire any new land or demolish any legal structure. We can build the subway track under the ground and can use the ground level as a main road or a highway, which will be solely for the motorized vehicles. It will work as a parallel road to the Kazi Nazrul Islam Road [OldAirport road] and can share the traffic load. One very important question may arise about the Subway. Is it feasible both economically and technically to build a Subway system in Dhaka? Although Bangladesh Government will hopefully receive both types of help from different countries, we have to think about the future impact of the loan we 22
  23. 23. will take from the other countries. Which one will be more feasible? A underground rail track or an elevated rail track? We have to do an in-depth feasibility study about this issue. 8.4. Other Policies: We have to do something about our existing land use pattern. For example, Mirpur Road is one of the most important and the longest roads of Dhaka. Earlier, even before 2/3 years, there were mainly residential developments on the both sides of this road. Recently it has been declared as a commercial street. Lots of shops and other commercial activities are constructed now on the both sides of it, which creates severe traffic congestion almost all the time. Similarly other residential areas of the city are transferring partially to commercial areas, such as Dhanmondi and Banani. These sudden or gradual changes in the existing land use create congestion and thus suffer the residents of those areas. We also have to have strict zoning laws so that the developers can not build high rise apartments [12 to 20 floors] in front of the 20 feet wide road. We have to ensure using the full width of the roads and the sidewalks by removing the street vendors and rehabilitating them. Our road and transport authorities rarely work comprehensively. It is very important to do some institutional strengthening between them. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to do some positive changes. The most important thing is to educate people and the children about the traffic rules and the negative aspects of disobeying those rules. We have to ensure the proper implementation of these rules; otherwise nothing will bring changes no matter what policies we take now or in future.iv 8.5 Selected Finding: 1. Perceptions on major problems: iv . 23
  24. 24. Altogether 37 problems were mentioned. They were given a score on a scale of 1-5 to indicate their perceived seriousness. Each of these problems was then ranked according to the total score given to it by the analytical group under consideration. Not surprisingly, traffic jam topped the list, followed by hijacking/terrorism as no. 2, load shedding as no. 3, environmental pollution as no. 4 and water crisis as no. 5. Surprisingly, hartals were way down among the bottom 5 (at no. 33), reflecting possibly both a shortness of public memory as well as a lack of concern or an acquired immunity at the mass level in respect of hartals. Changes in public perception about the seriousness of problems in civic life was also evidenced by the placement of load shedding at no. 3, which would undoubtedly have been put as the no. 1 problem about 2 years ago. Except for problems no. 1 and no. 2 there was variation in the rank order of the perceived problems based on income, occupation, education and gender. For example, environmental pollution was given more importance by the richer people compared to load shedding. Likewise, unemployment was more of a problem for the poorer categories. Interestingly, poor drainage was not mentioned in the list of 5 most important problems in the city. Clearly, for all the sampled respondents, there were far too many other problems to enter the list of 5. 2. Opinion about recent trend in the traffic situation in Dhaka city: About 10 per cent of the respondents had no definite opinion. Of those with definite opinions, about a quarter (24 per cent) thought there was some improvement (reference period November 2000), while over three fourths (76 per cent) thought there was a definite deterioration over the last few years. All professionals and labourers surveyed had definite opinions. While among professionals the proportion believing in a drastic deterioration was the highest (46 per cent) and definite deterioration fairly high (39 per cent), among labourers the opinion was more polarised between drastic deterioration (44 per cent) and marginal improvement (33 per cent). 3. Frequency and Purpose of Trips On average a household reportedly made about two and a half trips on a normal working day. This figure is believed to have been underreported and the true figure is likely to be about 50 per cent higher. There is variation in 24
  25. 25. the frequency of daily trips among the different neighborhoods of Dhaka city. The residents of Farmgate-Tejgaon and Motijheel-Kamalapur areas seem to make more frequent trips per day (2.8 and 2.7 ) compared to the residents of Rampura-Badda area (2.0). The office is the main destination of daily trips (about a third of all trips) followed by the business place (about a fifth). The variation in the relative frequency of the destination conforms to the well acknowledged predominance of office goers or business people in different areas of Dhaka city. For example, old Dhaka neighbourhoods like Nawabpur etc, are strongholds of business people, while areas like Azimpur, Mirpur etc are the ‘ghettoes’ of office goers. 4. Mode of travel: More than half (54 per cent) the daily trips by sampled respondents were non-motorized, ie by walking, bicycling or on a rickshaw which was the single most used (46 per cent) mode of transport. Of the remaining 46 per cent trips, the dominant (25 per cent) mode was bus (public or office).The much polluting 2-stroke engine scooter/tempos accounted for 13 per cent of the total daily trips. There was not much gender variation in the choice of travel mode. Variation among the occupational categories was more distinct. For example, professionals seemed to travel by rickshaws and private cars, while completely avoiding scooter/tempos. Purpose-wise: office travel is least non-motorized (49 per cent) while non-grocery shopping is most so (63 per cent).Rickshaws are most preferred for school trips (52 per cent), shopping (47 per cent), and college trips (46 per cent).Office travel is still mainly on rickshaws (42 per cent), followed by buses (31 per cent) and scooter/tempo (14 per cent). 5. Time and cost of travel: An average daily trip (one way) during the work-day reportedly took about 35 minutes. While an average daily trip over the week-end took around 41 minutes (subject to further verification). Variation in the time taken for an average trip was marginal between the income groups. The richer residents took longer (approx 39 minutes) compared to the poorer residents (approx 27 minutes). The average trip time for the professional women was reported to be the highest (approx 55 minutes).The reported expense incurred by an average household for daily travel was reported to be approx 22 takas. It was lower during the week-day (approx 19 takas) and significantly higher over the week-end (approx 35 takas), indicating more distant trips, possibly for leisure related activities. 25
  26. 26. Differences in expenditure on daily travel exist. Higher costs are incurred by the professionals (30 takas approx) and the higher income households (28 takas approx).The recent oil price hike has had a direct impact on the cost of travel. 6. The reported overall increase have been • approx 36 per cent on BRTC bus fares; • approx 23 per cent on private bus fares; • approx 36 per cent on taxi cab fares; • approx 32 per cent for other motorized vehicles. Overall, about 73 per cent of the respondents think another 15 per cent increase in oil prices would be unreasonable, while about 19 per cent thought it would be reasonable. 7. Challenges we face: (a) People are not law abiding: At this stage, I am going to mention a few problems that we always face to address the traffic issues. Most important problem that we realize ‘people are not law abiding, they do not want to follow traffic rules’. Pedestrians show less interest to use footpath, foot-over-bridge or under-pass. Similarly, drivers neither try to maintain the speed nor follow the lane. In most cases, as the punishment is nominal, they tend to breach the rules again and again. (b) Inadequate logistics: Our traffic management system is not automated and well-equipped. All the junctions are not facilitated with signal lights. Where there are lights, most often those remain out of order. Moreover, uneven flow of vehicles from different directions reduces the effectivity of traffic signals. Besides, we do not have sufficient vehicles to chase a car or bus committed an accident. (b) Shortage of Manpower: We do not have sufficient and well- trained human resources. Four thousand officers work in two shifts- morning and afternoon. Due to administrative and other involvement, only fifteen hundred officers can be engaged in one shift to control the movement of millions of people and vehicles in Dhaka City. This figure is quite insufficient to manage the existing traffic scenario. 26
  27. 27. Chapter - IX 9. Most severe problems while traveling 9. Most severe problems while traveling: The respondents identified, overwhelmingly, traffic jam as the # 1 problems (93 per cent) their daily travels. It was followed by pollution (62 per cent), higher fares (46 per cent), frequent accidents (26 per cent) and hijacking (26 per cent). Non-availability of enough vehicles was reported as a problem by only 16 per cent. 9. 1. Causes of traffic jam: Narrow roads, broken roads and unplanned repairs appeared as the 3 main causes of traffic jam. This again is the result of asking the respondents to name only 3 main causes. When asked about the contribution of different road users to the traffic jam problem, the rickshaw wallets were pointed out as a major culprit: 66 per cent thought they made very high contribution, while another 5 per cent thought they made moderate contribution. The truck drivers were next in line with about 50 per cent considering their contribution as moderate to very high. There were no significant variations in respect of the above findings between genders, incomes and occupations. 9. 2. Recommended measures for solving traffic jams: There were more recommendations on the software (i.e. legal framework, planning, management, etc) than on the hardware side (i.e. brick and mortar stuff).The single most recommended measure was one way roads (28 per cent). Interestingly, the richer and the professional households were less 27
  28. 28. vocal about it, while the labourers did not mention it at all. The demand came mainly from the businessmen and lower income households. The next most recommended (22 per cent) measure was to improve and enforce the traffic law. If one adds to that the recommendation of establishment and enforcement of sound parking rules (11 per cent), legal reform and enforcement emerges as the most recommended (33 per cent) measure. There was broad unanimity in this regards between the genders, incomes and most occupations except the professionals for whom flyovers were the second most mentioned remedy. 9. 3. Comments of the sampled residents of Dhaka city on the traffic police and recommendations for their improvement: Two fifths (40 per cent) of the surveyed residents thought the traffic police did not have enough authority over the control of traffic. There was variation on this among occupational and income categories. The professionals and the richer households on the hold thought the traffic police had enough authority. A large majority of the respondents (71 per cent) felt they had very little effectiveness in controlling the traffic. This view was comparatively stronger among the richer households, while it was universal among the professionals and the laborers. A larger majority of the respondents (78 per cent) felt the traffic police of Dhaka city were highly corrupt. This view was more pronounced among the professionals and the laborers. Most respondents (53 per cent) did not have any definite idea about how to improve the condition of the traffic police establishment as a whole; comparatively higher proportions of housewives and laborers fall into this category. Definite recommendations included improvement of administration and management (20 per cent), better training (13 per cent), increased salaries and facilities (8 per cent), increases in the number of traffic police (3 per cent) and better public awareness (1 per cent). A small minority (2 per cent) expressed complete exasperation (no hope). A smaller minority recommended the army to be brought in. Improved management was mentioned proportionately more often by the professionals. 9.4. Recommendations: However, it is understandable that resolving the problem of traffic jam in Dhaka city is not possible within a short time. It needs both short-term and long-term strategies. Short-term strategies may include re-adjusting the 28
  29. 29. school and office time keeping at least one hour difference, re-routing the public transport, reducing and replacing private transport with convenient and cheaper public transport, fixing different fare for rush and non-rush hour and finally keeping the foot-ways free from hawkers and shopkeepers. Long-term strategies, on the other hand, may be constructing long flyover from one end to another end of city, introducing underground rail service, undertaking co-ordinate and integrated strategies among different agencies working for city development, replacing rickshaws by assuring proper rehabilitation of rickshaw-pullers, constructing under-pass and foot-over- bridge in different important junctions and finally decentralizing the city itself.To reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka City, the most vital prerequisite that I feel, is the development of public consciousness. Unless and until we change our perception and develop a mind to abide traffic rules, whatever strategy we take, that will not work properly. I believe, our law-abiding consciousness, good-intention and sincere co-operation can remarkably reduce traffic jam in Dhaka city. These were all from me. At this stage, I would like to invite questions from you. I believe, your participation will make the session more enjoyable and will definitely enrich my understanding and knowledge. 29
  30. 30. Chapter –X 10. Traffic Management 10.1 Rickshaw -Complexities in withdrawal of rickshaw: (a) Huge employment (b)Vehicles for low income and mid level income group people (c) Environment friendly (pollution free) (d)No fuel consumption Recommendation: (a) Withdrawal of rickshaw phase by phase (b)At present may be allowed in pocket roads 10.2 Deployment of Army reduces traffic Jam: (e) Situation sustains for short time (f) Jam shifts from one place to another (g)Number of manpower increases 10.3 Cantonment -Traffic Scenario is better: (a) Limited vehicles run (b)Most of the people are disciplined as they are military representative 10.4 Limitations -Police face: (a) Manually operated (b) Not equipped with advanced technology (c) Not well trained human resources (d)Most cases Constable does not have arresting power (Sergeant required) (e) Nominal fine (f) (f) do not have vehicles to chase car or buses 30
  31. 31. 10.5 Achievements of traffic division: (a) Roads are free from human puller (b)One way roads (c) Controlled movement of trucks and long-route buses (d)Cases filed – 4 lakh 88 thousand (Year 2007) (e) Revenue earned – 16 crore 50 lakh ( Year 2007 ) 10.6 Areas to emphasize: We need integrated and holistic approach (a) Traffic Education (for mass people) (b)Traffic Engineering (infrastructure) (c) Traffic Enforcement (by police) (d)Traffic Environment (participation of all) 10.7 Vehicles of Dhaka City: Dhaka City has several types of vehicles. Income-wise the use of different transports is as follows: Higher Income Group: Car, Taxi Service, Micro Bus and other private vehicles Middle Income Group: Rickshaw, Auto Rickshaw, Bicycle, Motor Cycle, Carriage, Car, Bus, Minibus Lower Income Group: Bus and Tempo Goods Delivery: Truck, Pick up, Van, Human Driven Van 31
  32. 32. In 1998, rickshaws were the 38% of the total vehicles of the whole city. In 1999, there are 79619 Licensed Rickshaws in Dhaka. Till March 2000, this number has increased up to 88000. At present Dhaka have about 350,000 rickshaws, most of which are unauthorized. Chapter –XI 11. Opinion and Conclusion: 11.1. Finally My Opinion: Traffic jam in Dhaka Metropolitan City is spiraling day-by-day defying all efforts of keeping this menace under control. Learned experts on this subject have so far suggested various measures, but results are not encouraging. Some have blamed railway level crossings for interruption to free flow of road traffic during passage of trains, and have suggested shifting of Dhaka Railway Station from Kamalapur to Tongi or Gazipur. Such a proposal needs to be examined in details and then come to a conclusion whether railway is at all to blame or deserves appreciation for its contribution towards reduction of traffic jam in Dhaka city. Reducing dependency on Dhaka by creating Dhaka-like-sub-cities around of it could be one possible solution. I know that this is a lengthy and complex task to do. However, united efforts of both the citizens and the government and distributed workloads between the public and private firms and all walks of people can ease the job. 2. In the main roads such as Dhaka airport to Sadar Ghat(the launch terminal) slow-moving vehicles will not be allowed at any means, all the local buses needs to be removed. Yes, I know you will bring up then what’s going to be the alternative to this. The solution is to look around beyond your country and see what the innovative ideas or projects are being undertaken as to possible solutions to traffic jams in other major cities in the world. Yup, we aren’t the only nation facing these problems, in fact; developed countries have this problems too in spite of obeying traffic laws. That is other way of saying; we the Bangladeshis have no respect at all towards the traffic law. You can abuse me, I don’t care. That’s true. 32
  33. 33. 3. The possible solution that was touched on #2: Two-way main roads can be used as elevated express-way; by no way it is the conventional one. Because we’ve seen it works out pretty bad in our city. What needs to be done is that make something like double-Decker bus, instead of a bus the main road is going to be the bus. Theoretically, if one lane is about 20 feet wide then the width of the bus can be somewhere between 12-15 feet and the length is free to choose. In addition, it will be totally solar-powered. One of these proposed buses can carry up to 120 at the very least at a time. The speeds can be 120-150 MPH. since there’s no possibility of slowing down except at the stopping terminals. Government can earn a huge amount of taxes through this system. The Cost: At first, it may seem a lot, however, it is one-time cost since the buses will not need any conventional fuel or electricity. There’s nothing to be built especially as the roads are already been made only the first floor rail track. The specialty about these type of transportation system is that typical vehicles will run underneath and the bus on the top, eliminating the need for our local buses. Since the people traveling say from Tangi to Sodor Ghat will board on this bus, and will disembark on their respective stoppage terminal, much like our trains. All it’s needed to consider and discuss this probable solution to higher level, if needed international assistance in case of finance and construction can be sought. Hope to have fruitful comments and suggestions with respect to Dhaka city, and need someone who can take this to the proper authority for consideration. Dear readers, this idea is just a proposal so instead of making fun or ridicule, try to get your own or contribute and discuss. This is our city, we the new generation will have to dwell in it. Instead of waiting for government or finding their past faults, let’s find some urgent solution and make it happen for the better for us. 33
  34. 34. 11.2 Conclusion: Dhaka has now become one of the busiest cities around the world in terms of traffic jam. 5 years back, it was not as horrible as it is now and also it is also true, 5 years from now on, only God knows how the looks of the roads and streets of our beloved Dhaka city will be like. However, if no measures are taken shortly it is for damn sure that we will face the nightmare of traffic congestion. We have to admit that we have lots of limitations — the first being that unlike our population and ever-increasing accommodation projects building up, we do have a fixed area of city to dwell in. Many probable solutions have been thought of, however, due to other limitations we are unable to come up with definitive permanent solutions to this humongous problem. Efficient transportation is the key to any progress and development of a country for various reasons. I am not going to elaborate them since it is very well-known to all of you there. So, the main point is that we, the people have to come together rather than waiting on the Government to fix the problem for us. To make yourself understand the reason we have to do it is that, for instance, when a robber/ terrorist attack your house, you definitely will first try to save yourself and your family members from getting killed, during this time, your expectation that the police will come and save you and that you will not do anything is nothing but a plain matter of ridicules. So, instead of waiting on for the government to act, why not change your own fate and if the help comes to you then that’s a bonus. Hope to have fruitful comments and suggestions with respect to Dhaka city, and need someone who can take this to the proper authority for consideration. Dear readers, this idea is just a proposal so instead of making fun or ridicule, try to get your own or contribute and discuss. This is our city, we the new generation will have to dwell in it. Instead of waiting for government or finding their past faults, let’s find some urgent solution and make it happen for the better for us. 34
  35. 35. 11.3 Bibliography: 1. 2. congestion-in-dhaka-city. 3. %20By%20IG 5. 6.’s-traffic-jams-are-a-recipe-for-men.. 7. 8. 9. 35