In present days, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is perhaps mostly associated with the word – ‘traffic congestion’. It has become a megacity with one of the most congested traffic networks. The upcoming Mass Rapid Transit and Expressways are expected to solve all the problems like a panacea. But in reality, they will cater to only about 12.5% of the total demand for trips in the city albeit constructing five (5) Metro and two (2) Bus Rapid Transit Lines. Moreover, expressways prioritize private vehicles rather than promoting public transport or pedestrians. Among motorized vehicles and public transport, buses will still remain as the most important mode of transportation (in the year 2035, as projected by RSTP, 2015-16) while walking will be the other significant mode.
The Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP), 2015-16
The Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP) proposed quite a few proposals including Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Ring Roads, Radial Roads, expressways, transportation hubs, etc. The main recommendations are:
– 5 (five) Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
– 2 (two) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
– 3 (three) Ring Roads (Inner, Middle, and Outer Ring)
– 8 (eight) Radial Roads (Dhaka – Joydebpur, Dhaka – Tongi – Ghorashal, Dhaka – Purbachal – Bhulta, Dhaka – Kanchpur – Meghna Bridge, Dhaka – Signboard – Narayanga nj, Dhaka – Jhilmil – Ikuria, Dhaka – Aminbazar – Savar, Dhaka – Ashulia – DEPZ)
– 6 (six) Expressways (Dhaka Elevated Express, Dhaka – Ashulia Elevated Expressway, Dhaka – Chittagong Expressway, Dhaka – Sylhet Expressway, Dhaka – Mawa Expressway, Dhaka – Mymensingh Expressway)
– 21 (twenty-one) Transportation hubs, the main ones include Dhaka International Airport, Kamalapur Station, Mohakhali bus Terminal, Jatra Bari Bus Terminal, Gabtoli Bus Terminal, Gabtoli Circular Waterway Station, and Shdarghat Boat Terminal, etc.
MASS RAPID TRANSIT PROJECTS
The feasibility study has been completed. Detail Design started from December 2018.
Discussion about G2G going on with Japan. Japan Govt. nominated SWG/ Marubeni Corp.
Northern Part: Gazipur to Airport Section
Package 1: (At-grade Road widening, lane, station construction, etc.)
About 25% of the work is done.
Package 2: (Elevated Road widening, lane, flyover, bridge & station construction)
Work is at the initial stage.
Package 3: (Footpath, drainage and other civil infrastructures)
About 70% of the work is done.
Package 4: (Bus Depot construction)
Work is almost complete.
Southern Part: Airport to Jhilmil Project, Keraniganj
Detail design has been completed for the whole route.
Will be constructed in 3 phases.
1st Phase (Airport to Mohakhali):
The loan agreement with the World Bank is under discussion. (May 2019)
Discussion about constructing with PPP is going on.
Request for Proposal (RFP) issued for Detail Design.
Expression of Interest (EoI) issued for Detail Design.
1st Phase (Uttara 3rd Phase to Agargaon): to be completed December 2019
2nd Phase (Agargaon to Bangladesh Bank, Motijheel): to be completed December 2020.
1st Phase: about half of the work is completed (May 2019)
Total: Almost 25% of the work is completed (May 2019)
Inauguration: 16th December 2021
Feasibility Study is going on by consultants appointed by Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) and will be completed by June 2020.
RING ROAD PROJECTS
Inner Ring Road
It is also known as the Dhaka Circular Road. The western portion (Abdullahpur – Dhaur – Birulia – Gabtoli – Babubazar – Kadamtoli – Teghoria – Postogola – Fatulla – Chashara – Haziganj – Shimrail – Demra) will be implemented by RHD. There will be few changes in the RSTP shown alignment due to changes in the plan and new infrastructures.
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) will construct an embankment on the Eastern Bypass side (25.85 km, Demra – Purbachal Road – Teromukh – Abdullahpur). A project is already underway. There is also a proposal from Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) to build an elevated expressway along the median in this section.
Middle Ring Road
The alignment of the middle ring road is Hemayetpur – Kalakandi – 3rd Shitalakkhya Bridge – Madanpur – Bhulta (along Dhaka bypass) – Kodda (Gazipur) – Bypile (DEPZ) – Hemayetpur. RHD has signed a contract with China Joint Venture Company to construct 48 km Dhaka bypass (Joydebpur – Debugram – Bhulta – Madanpur) in the eastern side by PPP which will be completed in September 2022. The western side of Middle Ring Road (Hemayetpur – Kalakandi – 3rd Shitalakkhya Bridge – Madanpur) is under consideration for construction with G2G on a PPP basis with Marubeni Corporation of Japan. Most likely it will be at-grade.
On the other hand, BBA has completed a feasibility study for an expressway starting from Baliapur (on Dhaka – Aricha Highway) along Nimtoli – Keraniganj – Fatullah – Bandar to Langalband (Dhaka – Chittagong Highway). It is under consideration to build by G2G with Malaysia.
Outer Ring Road
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) has taken steps to conduct a feasibility study for the alignment.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport will be reconstructed as a multimodal hub. In order to take the project ahead, Bangladesh Railway (BR) has already in talks with Japan for implementing it with G2G on a PPP basis.
Bangladesh Railway has been in discussion with Japan for implementing the project in G2G on a PPP basis. Kajima Corporation is leading the Japanese team and already preparing a concept plan.
Mohakhali Bus Terminal
The terminal will be reconstructed and reoriented as a part of the BRT Line-3 project.
Gabtoli Bus Terminal
The terminal will be transformed into an integrated transport hub as a part of the MRT Line-5 project.
Unfortunately, the needs of the people are as usually ignored while taking up the projects recommended in RSTP. Their lack of political and economic power and thus inability to influence politicians who shape government policies; resulted in ignoring the implementation of the important components of RSTP which would have mitigated transport problems of the masses. Instead, recent steps and decisions are more or less focused on trying to speed up travel for the motorized elite by constructing numerous grade-separated flyovers, overpasses and interchanges (e.g. Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover, Kuril interchange, Banani overpass, etc.) disregarding the needs of pedestrians and public transport users.
In recent developments, modern megacities of the world tend to move towards public transport and walking. It is a blessing for a developing city like Dhaka to already have that desirable modal choice (travel by bus and walking) which others are trying so hard to achieve. In order to utilize this to our advantage, we have to properly plan and restructure Dhaka’s bus network, operation and service as soon as possible. Also, with such a large number of people preferring to walk, we must provide proper facilities and priority to pedestrians not only on the basis of traffic demand but also from a transport equity perspective. We must realize Dhaka is in a unique position, where only mega projects may not always deliver the expected results unless we understand the context of the city and plan properly to provide services to the people.
Transport Planner for
Bus Route Rationalization and Company based
Operation of Bus Service in Dhaka
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA)