Average traffic speed in Dhaka has reduced from 21km per hour to 7km per hour in the last 10 years as a result of the rising traffic congestion on roads and unplanned and uncontrolled growth of Dhaka, according to World Bank data.
The data also reveals that the current traffic speed is slightly above the average walking speed that ultimately eats up 3.2 million working hours a day, causing Bangladesh to lose billions of dollars every year.
The number of residents in Dhaka rose from 3 million in 1980 to 18 million now. And, if the current trend continues, the number will surpass 35 million and the traffic speed will come down to 4km per hour by 2035.
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Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain derlivers his keynote speech at the international conference, organsied by the World Bank, at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
A productive and livable city of this scale can make numerous contributions to its economy and has many things to offer to its residents, said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
He, however, added that Dhaka must have a proper and coordinated plan of investment in order to utilise its enormous potential.
Qimiao Fan was addressing the “International Conference on Development Options for Dhaka towards 2035,” organised by the Bank at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel yesterday.
Road surface in the metropolis increased by only 5% between 1995 and 2005, while the population increased by 50% and traffic by 134%.
Dhaka's urbanisation originated along the northern corridor of the central region and then expanded westward. Around half of the eastern part has been rural and underdeveloped. However, in recent times the area, too, witnessed rapid urbanisation.
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Dhaka North and Dhaka South mayors- Anisul Huq, second from left, and Sayeed Khokon, fifth from left, also participate in the international conference, organsied by the World Bank, at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the government had expanded Dhaka’s range by 113% from 127 square kilometres to 270 square kilometres. And the expansion has occurred mainly in the eastern part.
If development is not properly ensured in the part, the rapid and unplanned urbanisation will make livability and traffic congestion even worse, and more people will be exposed to disasters including flood and earthquake, the World Bank observed.
World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia Martin Rama said: “Ensuring development in the eastern part in a sustainable way will be more effective rather than attempting to retrofit or rebuild in areas already overcrowded.”
Among others, former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit and former vice-mayor of Shangai Qizheng Zhao shared their experiences at the conference.