State of traffic-jam in Dhaka during political instability, 2015


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The year 2015 started with acute political crisis in Bangladesh. One of the major political party, BNP, called for an endless blockage until or unless present government leading by AL leave their power and another national election get organized. As the method of political block, BNP organized terrorist ambush activities such as petrol bomb attack in public buses. Many people died due to massive burn, many are still fighting against death, and death toll gone wild day-after-day. In that time, everyone was in horror. There was a sharp decline in transport by bus. Me along with my father also started avoiding bus-ride. In this situation, I noticed an unexpected scenario, there was no traffic-jam in the roads of Dhaka.

This observation worth telling. As the blockage was continued for indefinite time, offices and business did not halted their activities. So every earning member of all family had to work during day. Although many of the citizen of Dhaka have private-car, they did not bring it out of garage due to safety: who knows when a petrol-bomb will burn the car in public-place! As many of the people started avoiding public-bus services, rickshaw-ride increased. Almost all VIP roads, where rickshaws were not permitted in normal time, were open for rickshaw. What I observed in that turbulent time that there was no traffic jam in prime hours! It’s not the case that those one have job or business just halted working during the blockage, but they stopped using private-car. Almost no private-car on the roads, everyone travelling through rickshaw, and no traffic jam! This was the common scene during the first-months of the political blockage. I shared the view with other peers and they confirmed this with similar observations.

Traffic-jam is an irritating problem in Dhaka which kills around one to three hours per day in average in my daily-life. Government is apparently trying to solve this problem by constructing new fly-over bridges, expanding width of existing roads, making new-one, building elevated high-ways but the problem seems is not as easy to solve. Although lot of private car is not the only element of traffic-problem is Dhaka and there are other elements of the problem that worth analyzing. But above observation indicates that decreasing the use of private-car may provide a feasible solution of a long existing problem. I think many might cry at me that private-cars are not the root-cause but disobeying the traffic-rules is. This claim also hold some truth, in fact almost none of our drivers follow any traffic rules that are related with vehicle-mobility, rather they follow jungle-laws that has been emerged from the extreme-load of transport vehicle in roads. This load of transport vehicle is so high in Dhaka in office-times that its not possible for a traffic surgeon to employ traffic-rules. I have some observation in other facets of this critical problems and will share my opinion in this blog soon.


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