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
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
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.
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
• 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
• To seek and respondents opinions about
• To Study traffic laws and rules.
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
2.1 Literature Review:
Dhaka was founded in 1608 A.D.as 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
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
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
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
• 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
(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
(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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
a. Expansion and up gradation of public transport services, especially high
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
f. Construction of eight flyovers over the most serious congested nodes or
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
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
b. Subway development program
c. Development of an electrified commuter line extending to Tongi.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
(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
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
(e) Nominal fine
(f) (f) do not have vehicles to chase car or buses
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,
Lower Income Group:
Bus and Tempo
Truck, Pick up, Van, Human Driven Van
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.
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.
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
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.
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.