POST TIME: 9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
‘Pedestrian-friendly roads can eliminate traffic jam’

‘Pedestrian-friendly roads can eliminate traffic jam’

Making pedestrian-friendly roads and footpaths, encouraging the use of bicycles and quality public transport can decrease traffic jam of Dhaka as well as reduce air pollution, fuel consumption and health hazards, reports UNB.

International Transport expert Dr Mahbubul Bari presented a keynote with these insights at a meeting programme to exchange views.

Work for A Better Bangladesh Trust (WBBT), a non-government organisation, organised the views- exchange meeting on 'Addressing Traffic Congestion in Bangladesh: Learning from International Best Practices' at their seminar hall in the capital on Thursday.

He said, "In Dhaka the pedestrian facilities are most neglected but here most of the trips are less than two kilometers. If the pedestrian facilities can be given first priority, a great portion of the people can use the walking path rather than using a transport."

Dr Mahbub also claimed only 40 percent pedestrians can use foot over-bridges so making lots of foot over-bridges is not effective for the pedestrian. He said a great portion of people including the physically challenged, aged and pregnant women are unable to use it.

Saying that the pedestrians should provide street-level crossings throughout, he recommended putting pedestrians in first priority, followed by cyclists, rickshaws, and public transit in city transportation plan.

According to him the cars should be given the least priority.

Dr Mahbub said, while talking about metro rail project, the total metro railway will be 100 kilometers which will serve eight percent of the total city dwellers and in the first phase 18.9 kilometers of the metro rail will be built which, according to him, will serve no more than two percent of the total people.

He said, "I am not against making metro rail but if a small portion of the metro rail investment could be spent for the pedestrian-friendly paths, people will get more benefits."  

The expert said many believe flyovers decrease the traffic load but he termed it as a 'wrong perception'.

He said in metropolitan cities flyovers are not effective at all, rather create more traffic jam. According to him, most of the people travel in a city for short distance so they cannot use flyovers. He said if the flyovers can be connected with specialised ramps for each stoppage, then public transports could use the flyovers more.

Dr Mahbub said every area of the city should to be developed as a mix land where people can fulfill their needs within their area that would reduce the need to travel and decrease over traffic.

He also said to give priority on rail and water transport for regional transportation system.

The expert also recommended restricting the growth in cars by limiting licenses, restrictions on imports, higher taxes on cars, as well as announcing car-free zones in central commercial and shopping areas.

Debra Efroymson, Executive Director of Institute of Wellbeing of Bangladesh, said, while speaking as the special guest, there are lots of cities who controlled their traffic problems and Bangladesh can follow the examples to solve the traffic problems of the city. Gaus Piyari, director of WBBT chaired over the session.