Travel demand management, a way of managing traffic by reducing travel demand or redistributing demand at any given time, can immediately minimize congestion in Dhaka, planners have suggested.
The association of planners – Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) – made the recommendation during a dialogue on Tuesday as the capital faced severe traffic congestion in recent days thanks to the reopening of all educational institutions.
“For example, we can reschedule school-college, market and other timings to effectively reduce traffic on the roads at particular times and areas,” said Adil Muhammed Khan, executive director of the institute, while explaining travel demand management.
The public transport system should be remodeled immediately to keep pace with travel demand, he added.
Several other prominent city planners and officials from governmental and non-governmental organizations took part in the virtual dialogue on the traffic situation in Dhaka.
The benefits of the travel demand management system have been reflected in different cities around the world, especially in Europe, over the past decades. It is a cost-effective alternative to maximize the efficiency of the transport system, according to different foreign studies.
Delivering the keynote address for the event, Adil Muhammed Khan said Dhaka’s transport system is expected to facilitate the movement of pedestrians, bicycles, buses and community paratransit.
“Currently, the capital’s roads see 6-7 times more vehicles than their capacity, which is the main reason for the accelerating congestion. In addition, the lack of cooperation between development agencies leads to a loss of 30-40% system capacity,” he added. .
The IPD placed more than 20 suggestions for the long-term solution of the capital’s traffic management system, apart from the short-term one.
“Dhaka’s traffic system can be disciplined by reconciling physical development and road communication development plans,” said Md Ashraful Islam, Project Manager of Detailed Area Planning (DAP).
He highlighted the planned development of the city, especially in commercial areas.
Senior IPD official Mohammad Ariful Islam criticized DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam’s recent proposal to allow vehicles on the roads based on their even-odd registration number and said that this was not a solution at all. “Car owners can buy alternate number cars to keep them moving at all times,” he added.
Additional Superintendent of Police (Development) Chowdhury Md Jaber Sadek believes that design and planning solutions are imperative for proper traffic management in the capital, especially at busy intersections. “In addition, the unruly parking of vehicles should be resolved soon,” he added.
“The majority of initiatives or projects taken in recent years to minimize traffic problems in the capital have fallen flat because they [projects] served a few groups,” said Obaidul Islam, who represented Save the Children.
He urged the government to protect the interests of the masses.
The main recommendations of the IPD are: Streamline bus lines as soon as possible, develop a public transport network, promote community paratransit, favor pedestrians, discipline rickshaws and other non-mechanical vehicles, prevent passengers to board here and there and repair parking spaces and bus stops.
In addition, he also suggested discouraging car purchases by individuals and formulating enforceable strategies to reduce traffic jams effectively.
The IPD emphasizes the inclusion and implementation of school zoning, community parking, separate bike lanes and the like in the detailed plan for the area. He also called for an improvement in the road sign system.