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TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN DHAKA CITY, ITS EFFECT AND MEANS OF ITS ERADICATION
Introduction 1. The traffic jam at DHAKA is an increasing suffering of DHAKA

life. Over the last few years this traffic system of DHAKA City has visibly been deteriorating steadily and has reached to a nightmare proportions. Pretty soon walking to offices may be quicker than a car ride, the downside being that one could be suffocated on the way by the obnoxious fumes and sound from thousands of idling vehicles nonchalantly spreading poison into homes and communities. In a recent past a public survey showed that, DHAKA suffers as many as 37 public problems where traffic jam topped the list. Educational institutions, business establishments, government offices, in fact everything pays a price in terms of loss of time, patience and energy. By this, they lose their health and mental temperament as well. Even the dying patients are also not spared. This problem could even reduce the incentive for domestic and foreign investment and pose a serious threat to the country's growth momentum. Unless corrective actions are taken soon, there is a risk that this could sharply reduce the city's productivity. 2. The state of traffic system is a accumulated contribution of

many force and factors starting from an individual citizens irresponsible act up to the management system and the attention of the government itself. The population of DHAKA is about 16 million which is undoubtedly more than its capacity. And unfortunately, this number is in a high rate of increase. Naturally, the people need
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vehicles for their everyday movements. Thus the city is over loaded with traffic and overburdened with more vehicles on its roads than its capacity. Often WASA, T&T and DESA are found digging the road causing the siding the traffic jam on the roads. RIKSHAW the nonmotorized vehicle is another major cause of the traffic jam DHAKA city. Besides, Poor city management, low efficiency, and pervasive corruption are exacerbating the problems of traffic jam. 4. It is obvious that unless the road traffic issue is handled as

seriously as it deserves, DHAKA will soon be rendered immobile as a city and the country as a whole will start falling economically. Considering the above serious facts this paper aims to bring out the main causes of this serious traffic jam of DHAKA city with its effects and to high light some remedial measures with few recommendations. FEW FACTS 6. The City DHAKA. DHAKA is the capital and largest city of

Bangladesh. DHAKA was founded during the 10th century and it served as the Mughal capital of Bengal from 1608 to 1704. DHAKA was the trading center for British, French, and Dutch colonialism. Thats why a huge number of important establishments such as Parliament, Central Secretariat, two main Universities, BDR Headquarter, Army Head Quarter etc are situated at the heart of the city. Hundreds of schools and colleges are situated at different crowded places of the city. The main Airport of the country and Central train station is also inside the city and the main intercity train level crossings penetrate the city roads. So the amount of
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public movement and traffic on the road is also huge and this load is increasing day by day. 7. Population. The main problem in DHAKA City is its

population, which lead to many kind of problems. The population of DHAKA city stands at approximately 16.7 million. DHAKA is among the 6 megacities of South Asia which by this year (2010) will be included among the 20 mega cities of the world. 8. Most Affected Areas at DHAKA. The worst traffic-vulnerable

points include from Jatrabari, Hatkhola to Tongi Bishwa Road. Now-adays residential areas are also experiencing heavy traffic-jam. This is due to establishment of many schools, colleges, private universities and other educational institutions in those areas. Moreover, many offices, particularly private-owned offices and factories, are also located in the residential areas resulting in heavy traffic-jam. CAUSES OF TRAFFIC JAM AT DHAKA
General

9.

Urbanization Dhaka is consider the focal point of Bangladesh

centering which administration of whole country run. So people of Bangladesh are always heading to dhaka to meet official and other requirements. So day by day population matrix is going hight and high. This high density of population due to urbanization is one of the major cause of traffic jam at Dhaka. Road network and Structure

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10. The traffic problem of present DHAKA City is not developed overnight. It is the cumulative failures on the part of appropriate authority over the decades. Since Moghal Regime many structural plan was formulated for infrastructure development of DHAKA City. All these plans could not foresee the huge population influx in the city and was not properly implement. 11. Insufficient Road Space. The roads of DHAKA are narrow and insufficient for allowing the traffic to pass. Specially, the roads at old DHAKA are horrifying in this regard. The roads have got little wider gradually in northern areas yet falling much short to meet the requirement. 12. Lack Of Foot Over Bridge. At places the movement of

people on road is so unavoidable that it causes the vehicles to stop or slowdown. A good arrangement of over bridges could contribute much in solving this problem. 13. Broken Roads. Under the growing load of traffic, roads are

getting cratered and potholed. Roads with innumerable potholes, a cloud of dust, accumulated water in the ditches and smoke blowing over the commuter's face as vehicles pass by are features symbolic of the squalid state of the city in summer. These also slows down the traffic and causing a good jam. 14. Too Many Level Crossing. Traffic movement comes to a

grinding halt for at least 10 to 15 minutes each time when a train starting either from Kamalapur or bound for Kamalapur passes through any busy intersection. It is worth mentioning that there are
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about 20 rail gates within the city limits and 72 trains pass through these intersections during the day time. Law and policy 15. Poor Policing. Our traffic polices are mere poor infront of the requirement of the traffic. They are really understrength, poor trained, unfed, without sufficient logistic backup and finally corrupt. 16. Faulty Signaling. The signaling system at the crosses of

DHAKA is - the old. This manual signaling is not helpful in managing the incoming traffic. At places this signal system fails to cope up with the requirement of the time and the direction of the traffic. 17. Lack of Popular Laws. traffic have to The laws in vogue for controlling the with the population and the

commensurate

requirement of the situation. If the amount of population and vehicle cannot be controlled then the traffic control system and law will always fail. More importantly these laws have to be enforced and people are to abide by the laws. 18. Faulty Licensing System. In 2008 alone, about 14,000 cars

and another 5,000 personal passenger vehicles (jeeps and SUVs) were registered in DHAKA. The number of privately owned and operated motor vehicles registered in the five years to 2008 was double that of the previous five year period.

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Source: CEIC Asia database. Rumi Ahmed and Jyoti Rahman 18. Illigal Parking. Another major source of traffic jam is the unruly buses. They dont follow any time schedule and are waiting anywhere and everywhere. In many cases the bus stops have been placed either at the turnings and/or next to the traffic lights. Besides, there is nowhere left on the road in the roads of DHAKA that there is no parked vehicle. This irresponsible attitude of people occupies the space left for traffic. Faulty Management 19. DCC verses WASA, DESA and T&T. Few organizations like

DCC, RAJUK, WASA, DESA, TITAS GAS keeps on working on the roads of DHAKA. Unfortunately, these urban amenities do not have any coordination among them. Instead of working together, they wait for each other to finish and start their own job and they keep on
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excavating earth at places. 20. Shops and Hawkers. At places, be it a residential area or a market or an office area either hawkers or the extension of nshops have occupied the last bit space available for the vehicles to ply. There is none to look after the issue and help the city to remain jam free. 21. Special Situations. Traffic-jam takes serious turn during the

holy month of Ramadan, during rainy season and during special occasions like Bishwa Iztema, international trade fair etc and there is no contingency of the government to tackle these special situations. Other causes 22. Rickshaw. There are as good as four lac of rickshaw on the road of DHAKA when only eighty thousand of them are licensed by the DCC authority. Rest of the non-motorized human haulers are one of the major causes of traffic jam in DHAKA. They are slow in pace, occupying a lot of space and cause jam in the streets of DHAKA. EFFECTS OF TRAFFIC JAM OF DHAKA Environment and Public health 23. Air Pollution. Traffic-jam causes air pollution which affects the

respiratory tract, irritation, headache, fatigue, asthma, high blood pressure, heart diseases and cancer. 24. Behavioral Hazard. Experiments on behavioral science show
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that even insects demonstrate aggressive behavior when they are placed in a crowded situation. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to see that in a traffic jam of DHAKA pedestrians, the rickshaw-pullers, CNG drivers, van-walahs, and bus, truck and car drivers all vie for tiny spaces with noticeable aggression and utter disregard for others' right of way. 25. Lose of Efficiency. The cost of traffic jams is horrendous.

Other than being late in the offices, work places or on any scheduled appointments, mental disgust, exhaustion and loss of effective man hours is a colossal drain of the resources of the whole country. 27. Transportation and Attitude. As a scientific phenomenon

transportation is related not only with engineering aspects of road and vehicle, but also with social aspects like peoples attitude, their physical fitness, patience, expectation, social cultural etc and countrys economic reality and capability to spend. And in a city this traffic congestion is caused by the lack of patience of population as well as it it gradually it badly affects general attitude. National economy 28. DHAKA is the epi-centre of Bangladesh's economic

modernization. From a stodgy city of the past, the capital city has turned into a thriving business centre. When the rest of the world including our neighboring country India has taken care to speed up road construction by upgrading technology, we continue to pay scant attention. It's really bizarre to see a figure like 96 Billion Taka
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($1.53 billion) is being wasted each year due to traffic jams in the city. Steps Taken By The Government To Eliminate Traffic

Congestion 31. General. Recognizing the need of urgent road infrastructure development, Government of Bangladesh undertook many steps to solve traffic problem of DHAKA City. The government tried to solve this problem by making roads one way at places. Two fly-overs have been constructed at MOHAKHALI and SHAHJAHANPUR at DHAKA. Sometimes, the police are found really prudent in applying the laws. Even sometimes, military was involved to reduce the traffic congestion on roads. Besides, the government undertook many study and evaluation program on this issue. But unfortunately, people keeps waiting in to get rid of this monster crisis. 32. Removal of Rickshaws. Removal of rickshaws with time frame

from few selected roads is also a proposed plan. This three wheeler has already been banned at many streets of DHAKA and these streets have shown marked improvement in traffic condition. This has confirmed the removal of this NMV from the streets of DHAKA in the process of time. 33. DMP. DMP is the executive authority working to maintain

traffic discipline in the city. They are bitterly facing the horrific picture of traffic congestion of the city. They have already undertaken many test and trail systems at times among which many were brushed away by the overwhelming traffic congestions.
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34. Causes of Failure of the Government Attempts.

Many of the

government a4ttempts were proved to be failure because of many reasons like delay in implementation, rapid increase in traffic, nonadherence by the people to the said rules, lack of patience etc. REMEDIAL MEASURES TO ERADICATE TRAFFIC JAM FROM DHAKA Policy and law 35. Good Policing. It has been taken for true that the present strength of police really too small to meet the crisis. They have to be given more man, power better training and equipment and total traffic system can be made automated. 36. Parking Policy. A good and effective parking policy is to be formulated and made in to vogue. Any violation of these policy and rules has to be dealt with severely. The building code of the city has to be made such that it compels the owner of the buildings, markets, schools other all commercial and residential complexes to make adequate number of parking space for the vehicles of that building. 37. The Vehicle Licensing Authority. The vehicle licensing

authority to be made more active to ensure that no old vehicle beyond the age limit is given permission to ply on the roads. At the same time the vehicles get their papers updated and in doing so is identified for wrong paper and age. In doing all these the licensing authority can control the number of vehicle on road.
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38. Law Enforcement.

A determined and constant watch must be

kept on buses and other public vehicles to ensure that they use proper stoppages rather than stop anywhere at drivers' whims. 39. Change in Vehicle Culture. The corporate culture of

rewarding people with cars and the social culture of cars - being status symbols, need to be discouraged. The government can hire buses for public servants. Business houses can transport everyone from the CEO to the peon in buses. Structural development 40. Short Term Planning. term handling of the problem. a. High tax rate for private cars. There are two options here (1) (2) Manage the importation of cars . Levy higher taxes on private cars. The authorities should begin working

on the short term approach, for that can pave the path for a longer

On the first point, it is imperative to severely limit imports by tying the number of imported cars to the number of old and polluting cars that must be retired from the streets according to their year of manufacture. taxes should be raised to a point where it is uneconomical to own a car. b. Banning of Old Vehicles. Removal of old vehicles from the

streets is needed urgently. This can come about through making sure that no corruption is involved and that traffic
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personnel do not prove vulnerable to illegal gratification. c. Removing All Hawkers from Roads. The next step can be

freeing of the innumerable pavements in the city through a determined eviction of make-shift tea stalls, shop items put out on display and the like since these have badly impeded public movement. e. Immediate Repair of Broken Road. Measures may be

taken to ensure that the broken roads are repaired quickly to maintain the traffic flow normal. f. Foot Over Bridge. At places where more people are seen

crossing the road causing the vehicles to stop and get jammed may be provided with foot over bridges. This provides safety of the people besides reducing the traffic jam. 41. Long Term Planning. The concentration of traffic on the

roads of DHAKA shows all the sing of increasing in many folds in each year. So there is no alternative to a long term planning to address this issue. The long term planning may include the following things : a. More No of DHAKA bypass. These may include More number of roads CHANDURA PANCHDONA

encircling DHAKA to facilitate unwanted traffic flowing through DHAKA. connecting road, MIRZAPUR FARIDPUR connecting road etc.

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b.

More Number of Flyover And Underpasses.

Long

term planning of DHAKA traffic system may include more number of flyovers and underpasses at critical places of DHAKA. c. Widening Road Space. It is abundantly clear that there

are too many vehicles on the streets that usurp every inch of road capacity. Space constraint is critical and can be addressed in several ways: (1) (2) streets . (3) Allocate street usage to certain vehicles types at certain time slices in certain locations. d. Complete Banning of Non-Motorized Vehicles. NonWiden the roads to increase capacity. Reduce and replace the number of vehicles on the

motorized vehicles (NMVs) cause traffic jams. They do not follow traffic rules, clog up most intersections and slow down faster traffic by occupying valuable road space while contributing to tremendous inefficiencies. Improvement in Management 42. Removal of Few Public Institute Away From DHAKA. A big

piece of the traffic conundrum lies in DHAKA-centric development. The way out is to share development activities with other districts. a. Government can shift all wholesale markets, government

administrative offices Headquarters, University, DHAKA central


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jail, all industries, tanneries, to outside of DHAKA city. b. Industrializations should be based on upozila it should not

depend on metropolitan cities. Then rural areas will grow up step by step. c. Big business centre can move to COMILLA, FENI,

SHITAKUDO, MIRERSHARAI, CHITTAGONG, KHULNA, MONGLA, SYLHET etc or near it because thats are linked with export or imports. 43. Public Awareness. Public awareness is one of the most

important and effective tool or means for getting rid from this exhausting traffic jam from the roads of DHAKA. If people can be made responsible by themselves all the problem of DHAKA life will come to an end. Other Measures 44. Adjustment of Collective Timing. Segmenting the clock for

various purposes may help achieving reduction in traffic jam. For this the government may plan that all timings for offices, education institutes, Banking hour etc should start and close at varying times so that traffic load is distributed round clock. 45. Inter Organization Coordination. Policy makers, city

planners, researchers and the related directorates and offices must sit together and find ways and means to address the problem.
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Coordination among the DESA, T&T, WASA, DCC ect is very urgent and important. CONCLUSION 46. DHAKA, being the capital of the country focuses all our national activities and is the showground of national image to the international arena. It alone contributes 13 per cent of national GDP. In spite of its absolute importance in image building and economy, acute deficiencies exist in infrastructure for transportation and traffic system of the city. 47. Large numbers of old and defective vehicles are presently plying in the city street. The deplorable conditions of the roads in DHAKA City are further affected by narrowness, numerous bends, random political activity, unplanned installations, uncoordinated work of utility services etc. Traffic mismanagement is another major cause of congestion in the city. Most of the drivers drive vehicles in a competitive mode violating lane discipline. Traffic police are reluctant and their number is also inadequate to control such activity. 48. Traffic congestion results in stalemate of city life and generates anger and frustration among the dwellers. It too incurs huge financial loss of the country. DMP recommended certain measures to reduce the traffic congestion in the city. It is praise worthy to mention that the government has banned the two stroke autorickshaws. Recently government has taken active measure to
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remove 20,000 twenty years old aged vehicles and illegal rickshaws from the city. These steps would certainly ease up traffic congestion. 49. To save the city from intolerable traffic congestion, due concentration development, should be given traffic on transport infrastructure system and effective management

improvement of public transportation system. Urban development with coherent road facility, improvement of pedestrian facilities, control over NMT and institutional development should also be in the agenda. However, in general the overall plan of removing DHAKAs traffic congestion can be integrated as immediate, short-term and long-term action plan. Immediate action plan suggests improvement of traffic law enforcement, improving coordination among utility services work, development of existing drainage system, restriction on movement of NMT on specified roads and motivation for drivers and general mass on the use of road. Short-term Plan includes two to five year development plans on strengthening traffic police, improvement of intersections, increasing public transportation facility, creating more jobs outside the city etc. Long-term action plan is mainly structure plan of five years and over. It may also include construction of city bypass roads, construction of circular waterways around the city, modernization of existing bus terminals, establishing truck terminals etc. 50. For easy and uninterrupted movement, DHAKA city without traffic jam is very much desirable. This will mitigate the sufferings of the people. Moreover, valuable time will also be saved. Violation of traffic rules be stopped. We do not want old and dilapidated vehicles
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in the streets. Nor we want unauthorized parking of vehicles here and there. We want a clean city free from traffic jam. It is encouraging that the government is working in this direction. Working together, we can achieve the goal. RECOMMENDATIONS 51. To imprve the present situation the government has to undertake required measured immediately. No doubt that this state cannot be corrected overnight but the more the government is late the the people will suffer. The recommended steps may include the following actions. 52. Policy and law. There has to be definite change in

policing on the road which will be supported by good law and policies. A strict parking policy may also be formulated as well. 53. The Vehicle Licensing Authority. 54. Law Enforcement. The Vehicle Licensing

Authority may be mad emore responsible in this regard. No good result will come until all this rules and regulation are made effective. 55. Structural development. Due consideration may be put on this regard a plan may be formulated on time basis. These plans may include the following items. a. Short Term Planning. This may be done with a view to

stop the increase of car on road. To do this high tax rate for private cars may be imposed, old vehicles may be made
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banned, besides, the road space may also be increased by removing all hawkers from roads. The traffic flow may be retained by arranging immediate repair of broken roads. These all may be aided with foot over bridges at specific locations.

b.

Long Term Planning.

Long term planning may include to ease up

more no of DHAKA bypassed to avoid extra traffic through Dhaka, more number of flyover and underpasses the traffic on road, complete banning of Non-Motorized Vehicles sice they make the roads lazy and inefficient. All these steps may be considered as long term planning. 55. Improvement in Management. We have to under go

development process in case of our management process also. Like coordinating the activities of T&T, WASA and DESA, we have to stop pressurizing DHAKA anymore instead, we have to shift many of our installments at the other places of the country. And finally, The population has to be made trained and educated in this regard as well.

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