- DMP and Jica jointly implementing the 3 years project in three phases: Traffic Education, Engineering (accident data collection) and Enforcement
- Dhaka mass transport drivers, jaywalkers and even traffic officials – from Superintendent rank to traffic sergeant – will be trained under the project
- The objective of the project is to conduct research on accidents, plan and implement policies for road safety
Dhaka, one of the most populated cities in the world, is implementing Tokyo's advanced traffic management system with the hope to get rid of its chronic gridlocks and traffic anarchy.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jaica) are jointly piloting the Dhaka Road Traffic Safety Project (DRSP).
Md Shafiqur Rahman, additional deputy commissioner (Traffic-Admin & Research) of DMP told The Business Standard (TBS) that the three-year project will be implemented in three phases: Traffic Education, Engineering (accident data collection) and Enforcement.
"The project has been designed on Tokyo's traffic management model, one of the sophisticated and disciplined traffic management systems in the world," he said.
"Wherever you go in the world, the cities with effective traffic management systems have citizens who are well-mannered and law-abiding. So, the project's aim is to focus on building awareness among the Dhaka dwellers at first," Shafiqur Rahman said.
The traffic official and also the project director of DRSP said that the awareness programme will begin with school students and different age groups will be included in the programme gradually.
"The awareness program has been designed on Japan's model. At first, children would be taught the traffic rules, and signs. Then they will teach their elderly family members how to act while crossing roads and footbridges," said Md Munibur Rahman, additional commissioner (traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
"We may establish some tools in school playgrounds related to traffic rules and the students will learn various rules through playing with those tools," he said.
The pilot project will be completed by 2025. A short syllabus would also be proposed to add to primary or higher education, he said.
Shafiqur Rahman said, "The number of road accidents in Dhaka is increasing. DMP traffic division collects road accident data through police incident reports. However, these data sometimes don't match researchers' requirements."
"So, in the second phase of the project, the engineering traffic division would learn how to collect accident data scientifically. Every piece of information may get scrutinised for accident analysis and behavioural patterns. The accident data might help us to reshape Dhaka's traffic management and even road pattern if needed," he said.
Another DMP traffic official told TBS that the way DMP collect road accident data is not enough to get Dhaka's actual traffic scenario. DMP only gathers information about injured/deceased persons, but the accident pattern is vital rather than the incident report.
"Enforcement, the third phase, will be easy if we can implement the first two phases successfully—awareness and accident research will pave the way to implement any changes in Dhaka's traffic management," Shafiqur said.
Dhaka mass transport drivers, jaywalkers and even traffic officials—from Superintendent rank to traffic sergeant will be trained under the project for better traffic management, he said.
"From climate refugees to job seekers – everyone is rushing to Dhaka at any cost, but everyone isn't aware of traffic rules. During the piloting of the project, any suggestions or recommendations regarding traffic rules will be tried and any accident-prone intersections will be re-designed to prevent accidents," Shafiqur Rahman added.
The objective of this project is to review road accident reports and plan and implement policies for road safety.
Yoshihisa Asada, the project leader of DRSP, said that some officials, who worked for more than 30 years in Tokyo Metropolitan Police' traffic management, have been included in this project.
"In Japan, we start from the children, they are the change maker of human behaviour. They can even motivate the elders too. DMP officials will also visit Tokyo city for reviewing traffic management under this project" he added.
For instance, Tokyo was also an accident-prone city in the world but it was developed and gradually improved since 1970. This revival strategy will also help to ease Dhaka's traffic congestion and accident, Yoshihisa added.
"We have found that most of the accidents are taking place at the entry points of the city like Uttara, Gabtoli, Mirpur, Jatrabari, and Gulistan. But we don't have enough data on these accidents, and this project will help us to understand vehicular movements and accident patterns," Shafiqur said.