Leading nowhere

Dhaka’s traffic seems to have mutated to historically high levels

With the recent re-opening of schools and other educational institutes, it was only a matter of time before the traffic on our roads returned to their pre-pandemic level. But no one could have predicted that it would be so much worse than anything we’ve seen before.

Dhaka’s traffic has long been a source of misery for its citizens, but it seems to have mutated to historically high levels in the last month.

This is not just bad for commuters, but such ungodly levels of traffic are having a tangible adverse effect on our economy.

We are currently losing Tk140 crore each day owing to Dhaka’s traffic in terms of working hours; with more than eight million working hours having been lost each day this year already. And it’s only April.

While a lot of reasons can be proffered when it comes to Dhaka’s traffic situation, the main reason that continues to be unaddressed is the centralized state of our economy, and by extension our country. 

The unplanned nature of our roads and highways also plays a major part.

While it is impossible to fix such major issues overnight, stopgap solutions such as offering hybrid work options in both the public and private sectors stand to ease a significant amount of the pressure from our roads. There is no reasonable explanation for employees to make long, arduous commutes for jobs that can be efficiently carried out by employees from the comfort of their homes. The sooner companies realize this, the better.

Ultimately, decentralization is the key here. The influx of people choosing to come to Dhaka every single day is in the thousands, and all of them come here for economic incentives. Until we can make the rest of Bangladesh economically attractive, Traffic will be the least of our worries.