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Why not make the roads move instead of the car?

  • Published at 09:37 pm September 26th, 2017
  • Last updated at 10:28 pm September 26th, 2017
Why not make the roads move instead of the car?
With Dhaka's chronic traffic problem eating up millions of work hours every day, from time to time, we see new ideas come to light to solve the problem. The elevated “moving road,” an interesting concept to improve traffic, was exhibited at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka on Tuesday. The idea is that the overhead road itself will move instead of the vehicles and will carry the passengers to their destination without any traffic gridlock. The concept, which is said to be the first of its kind in the world, was introduced by filmmaker Abu Syed. He said the moving road can be constructed over the existing footpaths or on one or two lanes of the road. The moving road will have two parts: a platform which will be fixed, and the always moving part like a moving walkway in an airport. The moving road will have speeds of 30 to 50km per hour and will run on tracks, similar to a train. People will use the platforms to get on or off the moving road. Syed said if the system is implemented in Dhaka, people can travel conveniently. The moving road will be environment friendly, will decrease transport costs and reduce road accidents. As they will be elevated, the moving road tracks can be placed on the existing road network. The whole project is estimated to cost Tk20,000crore over a 400-kilometre network with a cost of Tk5 lakh per kilometre, a cost much lower than that of fuel burned in traffic congestions every year, according to a paper on the concept. Abu Syed does not have an engineering background. However, he has been working for years on solutions to traffic jams. He said: “Developed countries do not face the type of traffic gridlock one sees in Dhaka. So their experts have not thought of such a way to improve traffic movement. “We are struggling for many years. Traffic congestion kills a lot of precious time. We are bound to improve the traffic system. If we build such a road, 50% of our transport costs can be cut down. The existing flyovers need not be removed for the moving road,” he added. SK Firoz, former director of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), who was present at the exhibition, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The idea of a moving road is new. But I am yet to be convinced if we would have better traffic conditions once it is introduced.” However, Prof Shamsul Hoque from the Department of Civil Engineering at Buet, told the Dhaka Tribune: “A moving road is not technically feasible. If a normal road is damaged, it is still usable. However, a simple malfunction of the moving road will render it unusable. “Though the concept is not feasible, I believe the filmmaker introduced the concept in all honesty to solve the everyday crisis. As concerned government officials are not thinking about improving the traffic system, laymen are generating ideas.”

How it works

According the moving road concept paper, the road will be 10 feet off the ground. People will get on the platforms with escalators from the footpaths. The platform and the moving road, both are to be six feet wide. The moving road will have seating and standing capacity with a fixed roof running along the track. At intersections, the moving roads would run over or under each other. People would have to get off one road and get on another if they are not going straight through intersections. For example, if a passenger wants to travel from Banani to Farmgate, he or she can get on a moving road towards Moghbazar, get off at Mohakhali and pick the Farmgate-bound road. Foot-over bridges will connect each of the moving road platforms at intersections.