Architect and urban development expert Iqbal Habib said that automated traffic signal system was a must for a densely populated capital city that was Dhaka.
He said that if the authorities could install and maintain automated traffic signal system across the city backed by proper traffic engineering, it would save the city people from the debilitating traffic situation.
He said that the much-needed automated traffic signal system has been abandoned and rendered dysfunctional over the years. And this was done intentionally by the police to give ‘illegal’ advantage to the so-called VIPs.
The green activist also blamed the government’s negligence in establishing rule of law for not using automated traffic signal in Dhaka.
He added that for lack of trust between Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, Dhaka South City Corporation, Dhaka North City Corporation and traffic police for not implementing automated traffic signal in the capital.
He said that there were not many mega cities in the world that did not have automated traffic signal — Dhaka was an exception.
Iqbal said actually there was no system in place in the city for traffic management and also mentioned that hand gestures used to control traffic was an ‘inhuman activity’.
Traffic congestions made the sufferings of the city people much more intense when hand gestures were used. When signals depended on individual police who had very limited scope for analysing vehicular movements, the system would continue to fail.
He said all the government agencies, civil society people and development partners believed that an automated traffic signal system for Dhaka was needed. But the concern agencies did not come forward or intervene to rectify those who now control traffic at their whims.
Rather the agencies kept blaming each other time and again over the issue just to relieve themselves of their responsibilities.
Regarding his use of the word ‘inhuman’ to indicate the state of traffic system in Dhaka, he said police controlling by hand gesture was not unacceptable as many police members were killed, got wounded and suffered from different diseases due to their duty on polluted roads under the open sky, he said.
He also added that if the government could install automated traffic signal properly at the intersections, this city would be rid of traffic jam.
He laid emphasis on expert manpower for the installation of such a system after considering vehicular volume and types of congestion at different areas.
He said that last year’s traffic signal system did not improve due to the blame game between the agencies were engaged in. However, the game of exchanging accusations was finally over as the government handed over the total responsibility to traffic police.
Traffic police would install the signals with professionalism with expert traffic engineers working for them.
He urged the police to give common people high priority during the installation of traffic signals on the busy roads of the city smarting under daily gridlocks. Around two crore people should reap the benefit, he added.
As a parting comment he said that the government’s slogan was ‘digital Bangladesh’, so it should make sincere attempt to prove to the people that they were ready to act according to the dictum. It can only be done by setting digital traffic signal system in Dhaka.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from In Focus