An hourly traffic speed in Dhaka city may have slowed down to four kilometres at peak hours during Ramadan, according to a rough estimate made on the basis of information gathered in recent two days from more than a dozen commuters on some routes.
Motorised vehicles on average moved at a pace of four to six kilometres through the main metro rail corridor to and from Motijheel via Mirpur, Uttara, Gulshan and other areas of the city, in light of the estimate prepared by Munima Sultana, a special correspondent at The Financial Express.
After the start of Ramadan, traffic congestions usually get worse due to internal migration as people including rickshaw-pullers come to Dhaka from different districts. This year the construction of metro rail in the city has compounded the usual rush during the month of Ramadan.
Traffic congestions spill onto other city roads, as two, out of four to six lanes, are occupied for constructing the 20-kilometre metro rail route, leaving them what commuters say stranded in the streets for one to three hours every day during peak hours.
Transport engineers say the road mobility is best when the vehicle-to-capacity ratio remains below 90 per cent, which means at least 10 per cent free-space on roads is needed to ensure the best level of mobility. They say most of the city roads get chocked as the ratio crosses 100 per cent.
Moazzem Hossain, an expert in transportation engineering, said the authorities concerned could avoid worsening traffic situation only by focusing their attention on improving the bus operating system, signalling system, freeing roads and footpaths from illegal occupants, strengthening institutional capacity, etc.
According to a 2017 World Bank analysis, Dhaka's traffic speed in last 10 years had decreased from 21 kilometres per hour to seven kilometres, slightly above the average walking speed. It was then costing the citizens around 3.2 million working hours per day.
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