It is disconcerting to note that the traffic signal system in Dhaka is still being operated manually though digitalisation has touched every sector of the country. Automated traffic signals in city’s most important and busiest intersections are lying idle for years. The government installed digital traffic signals at the city intersections at a cost of huge money, but all have gone in vain due to lack of proper management and technically-skilled manpower.
Reportedly, automated traffic signals were installed in 70 major crossings in the city at a cost of Tk 13 crore under the World Bank-funded Dhaka Urban Transport Project in 2005, but the signals went out of order within a few years for lack of maintenance. In October 2009, city authorities had set up countdown timers for the signal lights, but they were soon abandoned when they proved to be completely impractical. Immediately after the lights became operational, the entire city saw horrible gridlock as drivers and motorists failed to adapt to the pre-set timer. As a result, police were forced to abandon the lights and go back to handling traffic manually.
The government and relevant authorities should
work hand in hand in order to map out a strategic
and effective plan to automate traffic signal system
City authorities have long been trying to find out a sustainable solution to control Dhaka's chaotic traffic. Authorities have spent millions on various projects to automate traffic signal system, but most of their efforts have not been able to bear fruits due to lack of proper planning. It is worth mentioning that all the money went down the drain and the situation turned from bad to worse.
The government and relevant authorities should work hand in hand in order to map out a strategic and effective plan to automate traffic signal system and put the installed automated signal system to its proper use as well. It needs no emphasising that before incorporating a signal system, we must conduct detailed studies on the traffic volume of the city on various streets.
People following the traffic signals is the prerequisite for any digital traffic system. People who do not follow the lights, will not follow the timers either. Neither signal lights nor timers would be effective in a city where motorists and drivers are least bothered about the signals. Therefore, we need to conduct adequate research to determine which system is the best pick for a city like Dhaka.