A good lesson for Bangladesh traffic police, city

Editorial on Bangladesh traffic system

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Category: Current Events

New Age, a leading English daily in Bangladesh, has published an editorial on traffic system on November 24. It has pointed out some very good observations. I like the editorial very much.
The editorial said, “The attempt at traffic control by automated signals, which began in the city on Sunday, as per a decision of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, translated into untold misery for the public in the form of bumper-to-bumper congestion on the major thoroughfares. According to a report front-paged in New Age on Monday, the situation reached such a pass that the traffic policemen shut down the automated signals and switched to manual traffic management. The disastrous start to the latest step of the authorities to ease traffic congestion was attributed by traffic police officials to inoperative signals at least at several points in the capital. They blamed the Dhaka City Corporation, which is in charge of maintenance of the traffic lights, for not living up to its responsibilities in this regard. Then, of course, there is the debate over the timing of signals and who should determine it. The traffic department of the metropolitan police has argued for long that it should fix the timing of the signals, and not the city corporation. On the other hand, the city corporation claims that, while it is in charge of monitoring the signal light switches, the traffic department of the metropolitan police actually set the timing after the lights had been installed under the World Bank-funded Dhaka Urban Transport Project. On the whole, there seems to have been inadequate preparation all around and the authorities seem to have plunged into the new plan without actually weighing the pros and cons.
“That said, it needs to be pointed out that the switch to automated traffic control, by itself, is a good step, both functionally and financially. It makes little sense to not put the traffic lights, which were installed at a cost of several crores of takas, into use. Moreover, when these were installed, top officials of the traffic department of the metropolitan police did say that traffic management would be much easier and efficient because of the automated signals. In fact, the traffic department never bothered to come up with a credible explanation for its decision to switch to manual signalling when the automated signals were very much there.
“At any rate, the debacle on the first must not be used as a pretext to revert to manual control of traffic movement. Statements from both the departments point to a lack of coordination between the city corporation and the traffic wing of the police. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure better coordination between the two agencies in future. The authorities, we believe, need to strongly consider the traffic department’s plea that the control of the traffic signals switch should be brought under its control. It sounds logical; after all, it is the department that ultimately has to control the traffic movement, and not the city corporation. Meanwhile, the city corporation needs to pull up its socks and make sure that the inoperative traffic signals are repaired and put into action without any delay. Hopefully, both the traffic department and the city corporation would do their bits and try their best to make traffic control by automated signals work.”

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