The people in Dhaka face a waste of 3.8 million work hours daily due to traffic jam, the World Bank said last year, but now researchers at BUET say the amount is five million work hours.
The Accident Research Institute at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or BUET presented the report at a roundtable organised by the institute and Road Safety Foundation on Saturday.
The institute’s Director Prof Dr Moazzem Hossain said Bangladesh could have saved Tk 220 billion if it had reduced 60 percent of congestion in Dhaka.
The average speed of public transports in Dhaka has dropped to as low as of walking speed -- 5 kilometres an hour, according to Hossain.
“This is leading to the waste of five million work hours. Traffic congestion is causing a loss of Tk 370 billion a year,” he said.
Hossain said people were suffering nine types of damage due to traffic jam. These include the effect on their mind and social communication.
He also discussed issues like harassment of women, children and people with disabilities on public transports in his report.
Prof Hossain recommended tasking one company with handling buses on one route each to reduce fierce competition among them.
He also recommended giving subsidiaries to the transport sector.
There will be no harm if Bangladesh can earn Tk 50 billion by giving Tk 10 billion in subsidiary, he said.
The BUET teacher criticised Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Shipping Minister and workers’ leader Shajahan Khan and others in the government for their comments on responsibilities for their failure in the sector.
Hossain’s report says 74 percent of accidents in Dhaka occur when pedestrians cross the streets.
Road Safety Foundation Vice-President Abdul Hamid Sharif said 25 roads need to be in good condition in urban areas while Bangladesh has only 7.8 percent of its roads good.
He recommended building parking towers at key points in Dhaka to ease traffic congestion.
The roundtable was presided over by Road Safety Foundation President Prof AI Mahbub Uddin Ahmed.