It was impossible to cover the entire capital with traffic signal system overnight, says Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, additional commissioner traffic of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told New Age Wednesday.
‘As there are problems everywhere, the issue is which one will be solved first,’ he said replying to a question regarding when the electronic signals would cover the entire city.
The newly appointed senior official also said that they had to solve these problems slowly and at a steady pace.
While talking to New Age, Mofiz Uddin Ahmed said that under the World Bank-funded Dhaka Urban Transport Project, traffic signals were installed at major intersections of the capital city.
Later, under the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment project some new traffic signals were installed at some intersections and the old signals were renovated, he said.
He said that currently the existing signals were not activated for different reasons.
Last year, traffic police were also provided with some remote controls at Banglamotor, Intercontinental, Shahbagh, Matsya Bhaban-High Court crossing and Kadam Fountain intersections on a pilot basis.
He claimed that the initiative did not work as the related equipmenmt, including the control panel and the software were faulty.
For effective signal-based traffic they would have to follow short and long corridor-based system, while it also required different formula at different intersections based on the nature of traffic of that particular area, he observed.
Mofiz Uddin Ahmed said that during construction of the Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover, traffic signals situated on the route were removed.
Recently at Shantinagar, Malibagh, Malibagh level crossing, Mouchak, Moghbazar and Rainbow crossing intersections were again saw the installation of traffic signals on a pilot basis, he continued.
He said under a Japan International Cooperation Agency project, sensor image processor close circuit cameras would be set up at four intersections — Gulistan, Paltan, Gulshan 1 and Mohakhali — as part of ‘digitalisation’.
These cameras would be connected at the police control room at Abdul Gani Road from where traffic at these intersections would be monitored and fix time of every signal, the officer said.
Currently the work was ongoing, he said.
‘On Azimpur-Gabtoli corridor we are planning to use traffic signals,’ he said, adding, ‘It is not possible to use traffic signals effectively at isolated pockets. To get maximum benefit, we need to use these on long corridor.’
Once they are affectively used across a long corridor, then both drivers and pedestrians would begin to follow the rules, he said.
‘If we want to make traffic signals 100 per cent effective, we have to make these particular roads free of rickshaws first,’ the officer said.
He hastened to add that, ‘Secondly the pedestrians have to follow traffic rules and regulations and thirdly no cars or vehicles should be allowed to park at intersections.’
‘The number of vehicles has to be reasonable as now this is becoming alarmingly crowded,’ he added.
‘When the number of vehicles reaches beyond capacity of the roads then no formulas work,’ Ahmed argued.
The commissioner said that the number of vehicles could not be decreased forcefully. Rather, people should be provided with better alternatives.
He said that they had outlined a number of pragmatic approaches such as withdrawing rickshaws from Gulshan and introducing air-conditioned buses at Gulshan and Hatijheel areas.
As per suggestion from traffic police, recently circular bus services were introduced at Azimpur, Dhanmondi and Uttara areas to encourage car and rickshaw passengers to use air-conditioned buses, he said.
Through these initiatives roads would rendered less crowded, while car owners would be able to save money, the officer said.
‘Once the number of vehicles is reduced, rickshaws are banned at intersections and pedestrians are made to follow the rules, only then would the traffic signals become effective,’ he said.
Mofiz Uddin Ahmed said during construction of Mass Rapid Transit line — 6, popularly known as metro rail, traffic signals on the under construction route have all been removed.
After completion of the project, police would again install these signals on the entire route using the project money, he said.
Recently the government approved a proposal for appointing a 39-member technical unit for the traffic department in DMP, the additional commissioner said.
The unit comprises of senior system analyst, system analyst, programmer, executive engineer, senior assistant engineer, assistant engineer, signal technician, traffic engineer positions, he informed.
Mofiz Uddin Ahmed also said that they regularly discussed with the officials of two city corporations of Dhaka and Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority to improve the condition of the signals.
Under different projects, initiatives were taken to install traffic signals in the capital while DTCA also appointed some traffic engineers recently, he continued.
All these efforts would bring a positive outcome, he concluded.
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