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Pre-Feasibility of Light Rail Transit in Dhaka City Essay Sample

Pre-Feasibility of Light Rail Transit in Dhaka City Pages
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ABSTRUCT: Dhaka, the capital, administrative and commercial hub of Bangladesh is subjected to acute traffic congestion, inadequate traffic management, high accident rates and increasing air pollution problems. The deteriorating traffic conditions are affecting the city’s efficiency performance and are being considered as a major impediment for her economic growth and development, causing frustration among the residents and prompting popular demands to find urgent solutions. Dhaka Metropolitan Area is expected to become one of the largest cities within the early next century. The existing mass transit cannotfulfill the current traffic loads. The contributionof Bangladesh Railways (BR) to urban public transport is very small. The main inter City line entering the city from the north carries a small share of commuter traffic.

The line to Narayanganj recently handed over to private management shows a greater efficiency in carrying huge back andforth commuter traffic. Rehabilitation and improvement of north main BR line and some new routes of rail transit can accommodate the growing trafficdemand in the near future. To cope with the problems of increasing transportation demand, traffic congestion, deteriorating environmental quality, and inadequate traffic safety measures Light Rail Transit (LRT) can be a feasible solution. LRT has been introduced in some developing cities on theground that it can offer a high capacity service with an appealing modernimage, less expensive than full subway system, and environmentally friendly. Keywords: Key words: Light rail transit, traffic pollution, traffic safety, and landusedevelopment. 1. Introduction

Transportation has a pervasive influence on modern society. Transportation routes play an important role in urban development, and efficient transportation system affects where and how urban areas grow. It shapes urban lifestyles. Traditionally it was argued that transportexerted a strong positive influence on economic developmentand that increased production could be directly related to improvedtransport. Transport can release working capital from one area, whichcan be used more productively as fixedcapital elsewhere (Button1993). The inadequacy of transport facilities is one of the major bottlenecksto socio-economic developments of the major cities of thedeveloping countries and a national integration. The technologiesused in transportation have evolved through history. Nowadays heavy rail roads have been largely replaced by automobiles and aviation. Corresponding Authors:

1Ashish KumerSaha, Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, ZHSUST. There is widespread concern that continuing growth of transport (especially road and air traffic) is damaging the environment, health, and efficient functioning of the economy. The challenge we havefaced is to propose ways in which the longer-term development of transport can be made environmentally sustainable. That means providingthe access people want for continued economic growth, fortheir livelihoods and for leisure, but eliminating the many forms ofdamage which are already all too apparent.Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh and the center of its political, cultural, and economic life, has been growing at astonishing levels since the independence of the country in 1971. Its metropolitan area (Greater Dhaka) is home to almost 16.6 million people in an area of 1463.60 square kilometers (km²). Dhaka will become a home of 25 million people by the year 2025. It is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with more than 45,000 people per square kilometer in the core area. Per capita income averages $1,350 (USD) per year, and 34% of the population lives below poverty line, with very limited access to transport services. 2. Present traffic system

2.1 The present traffic condition
The existing urban transport system is a major bottleneck for the development of the city. Anarchic urbanization caused by poor transportation and land-use planning has resulted in decreased accessibility, level of service, safety, comfort, and operational efficiency, causing increased costs, loss of time, air pollution, and psychological strain, and posing a serious risk to the economic viability of the city and the sustainability of its environment.The general situation can be illustrated by the situation in the project corridor. According to a household survey carried out under the project preparatory technical assistance, 70% of the daily trips in the project’s main transport corridor have the city center as their origin or destination, whereas 30% only are internal trips within transport zones impacted by the corridor. Trips in the study area are currently made by buses or minibuses (40%), cars or auto-rickshaws (22%), and no motorized modes—mainly cycle rickshaws (38%). At present, 45 bus companies are operating 61 routes in the corridor, and own nearly 75% of the bus fleet. According to the records of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority on 5 May 2010, 61 bus routes operated and either originated or terminated in the project corridor.

The authorized fleet size is 3,356 buses and minibuses, out of which only 2,598 permits have been issued by the authority for 948 buses and 1,650 minibuses. In addition, the city’s road space is limited, with few alternative connector roads, lacking effective maintenance and management, most of it with geometrical conditions not suitable for buses. With such a significant share for no motorized transport, there are no effective bicycle lanes and safe sidewalks. Available sidewalks for pedestrians are mostly occupied by vendors and unauthorized parking. Most traffic signals are manually controlled by traffic police, without properly coordinated automated systems. Because of the poor coordination between various public agencies, there is no organized effort to handle the situation. Although few laws are in place to manage transport flow, vehicle conditions, and road space utilization, they are poorly enforced and often ignored. Traffic management and enforcement requires urgent attention to address the deteriorating urban transport system. 2.2 Impact of present traffic system

Congestion causes increased costs for travelers and freight movement, loss of time, and psychological strain. Congestion is what most people find objectionable about traveling in cities. It is the most common complaint. If there were no congestion, most people would be happy with their transportation systems. Congestion has several generic causes. The first is urbanization the density of people and economic activities in urban areas. The second cause is the problem of matching supply and demand of transportation infrastructure. The third and most important reason of congestion in Dhaka City are the traffic management schemes. There is no big city of the world with a population impact like Dhaka, where non-motorized and motorized transports exist in the same road. In addition, there is prevalence of roadside hawkers, illegal parking of vehicles, lack of synchronized traffic signal systems, and widespread disrespect of traffic rules and laws. Driver’s education, awareness, and behavior are extremely poor.

Mobility is one of the most basic human instincts and transportation assumes a large role in the lives of people. The second aspect of transportation problem is usually labeled accessibility. Our society requires a great deal of travel, but people do not have equal abilities to travel or equal access to the transportation system. Most of the public transport of Dhaka cannot maintain a minimum level of service to meet the demands of the citizens. 60% of all movements are pedestrian movements. Rickshaws, the slowest mode of transport, are the means of low, moderate and higher income groups at 40%, 50%, and 57.5% respectively and fall back to 7% for the highest income group. Table 1 provides a comparison of modal split based on trip purpose and income groups. Purpose of TripsIncome Group (BDT/Month)Modal Split (%)

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