Traffic congestion in the capital causes a loss of about $1.68 billion a year.
The estimate was given by SM Salehuddin, additional executive director of Dhaka Transport Coordination Board (DTCB), at a seminar on Modernisation of Bus Transport in Dhaka on wednesday.
“Annual loss caused by traffic congestion in Dhaka city is approximately $1.68 billion,” he said.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised the seminar at its office.
Salman F Rahman, private sector adviser of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, Geetam Tiwari, professor of Transport Planning at Indian Institute of Technology and FBCCI President AK Azad also spoke on the occasion.
Discussants said traffic gridlock causes economic losses by eating up travel time and burning of excess fuel. It also causes environmental damage and road accidents.
Experts blamed lack of transport infrastructure, poor traffic management, illegal car parking, too little footpath and pedestrians’ facility and absence of separate lane for bus for the city’s nagging traffic jam.
Also contributes to it is the mixed traffic flow of motorised and non-motorised vehicles on the road, said the DTCB official.
To reduce congestion and thus economic losses, public transport systems, especially bus services, must be improved by allocating a separate lane for passenger bus in the capital, speakers observed.
Geetam Tiwari, professor of Transport Planning at Indian Institute of Technology, stressed the need for separate lanes for bus.
Presently, some 7,000 buses carry about 25 lakh commuters daily. But these buses often compete with each other creating severe jam.
The competition is fierce, as the number of bus owners is very high.
Salehuddin of DTCB said public traffic system in Dhaka will improve significantly if competition between bus operators is reduced by merging of bus companies.
Salman F Rahman said infrastructure must be improved to ease traffic in Dhaka. He also emphasised the need for strong regulatory body and coordinated implementation efforts to relieve commuters from traffic mess.