The government’s idea of restricting the number of cars that can be owned by one family is bound to be ineffective if implemented.
The levels of traffic congestion in Dhaka’s major cities are indeed woeful, and so this provision can be seen as a sign of desperation on the government’s part. However, the number of cars per family is not the root cause of our traffic problem.
A cap on the number of cars is misguided in its focus. There is evidence to suggest that when any kind of ban is imposed, people find a way to circumvent them. A ban would merely increase dishonesty and corruption surrounding the sales and registration of vehicles, without positively affecting traffic in any discernible way.
Traffic congestion is one of our biggest challenges, and we must be smart about tackling it
The solution, then, lies not in how many cars someone owns, but in proper road and transportation policy and its proper implementation.
It is imperative that we improve our public transportation system, regarding which some progress has been made recently, but a lot remains to be done. The quality of bus services urgently needs improvement. Right now, too many buses operate in a haphazard manner without proper timetables. The metro rail, scheduled to be completed by 2019, could also ease the pressure that is currently on our roads and highways.
Furthermore, car usage could be discouraged through fuel pricing. Also, closing the option of CNG conversion for private cars would deter many from buying more cars unless it was absolutely necessary.
Traffic congestion is one of our biggest challenges, and we must be smart about tackling it. Let us not move towards repressive and futile measures like this one.