Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is grappling with a critical issue – traffic congestion. To address this problem, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway has been inaugurated, offering a potential solution to reduce travel times and enhance connectivity across various parts of the city. This monumental infrastructure project marks the debut of an elevated expressway in Dhaka, and in this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into its achievements, challenges, and future prospects, shedding light on how this project can alleviate traffic woes and transform the city’s transportation infrastructure.
About The First Dhaka Elevated Expressway
- Achievements of Dhaka Elevated Expressway
- Enhanced Connectivity Between North and South parts of Dhaka City
- Expected Daily Capacity of Over 80,000 Vehicles
- Reduced Travel Time and Traffic Congestion
- Problems with Dhaka Elevated Expressway
- Toll Collection System
- Limited Access for Certain Types of Vehicles
- Environmental Impact
- Land Acquisition
- Challenges to Reduce Traffic Jam
- Managing Ramp Connections to Mitigate Congestion
- Introducing Efficient Traffic Management Systems
- Public Awareness and Education on Proper Usage of the Expressway
- Community Engagement And Financial Viability
- Benefits for Dhaka Residents and Economy
- Improved Transportation Efficiency and Connectivity
- Boost to Business and Economy
- Enhanced Quality of Life for Residents
- Future Plans and Expansion
- Completion of the Entire Expressway
- Integration of Other Transportation Systems
- Government Initiatives and Support
- Public Feedback and Perception
- Opinions and Experiences of Commuters
- Suggestions for Improvement
Dhaka Elevated Expressway: A Game Changer for Commuters and Businesses
On September 2, 2023, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurated the much-anticipated 11.5 km Airport-Farmgate segment of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. This historic infrastructure project, spanning a total of 19.73 km, represents Bangladesh’s maiden venture into elevated expressways. The inauguration has ignited hope among the public, aiming to alleviate the persistent traffic congestion and significantly shorten travel times for Dhaka’s commuters.
Starting from September 3, 2023, the expressway, a notable public-private partnership (PPP) venture with foreign investment, became accessible to the public. Commuters can now enjoy a significantly reduced travel time of just 10 minutes between Kawla and Farmgate, provided they maintain a speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
The expressway’s grand transformation, including the placement of celebratory placards and flags, precedes its official opening, underlining its significance. It’s worth noting that these decorative elements will be removed before regular traffic flow begins.
The prime minister’s journey onto the expressway commenced from the northern entrance in Kawla, near the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, after toll fees were paid at the nearby toll plaza.
Achievements of Dhaka Elevated Expressway
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway has notched several significant achievements since its inception, paving the way for improved transportation in the city.
Enhanced Connectivity Between North and South parts of Dhaka City
The expressway represents a commendable government initiative to enhance connectivity between the northern and southern parts of Dhaka. This ambitious project aims to tackle traffic congestion in these densely populated urban areas and provide seamless travel between destinations like Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and Kutubkhali via Mohakhali.
Even with only a partial inauguration, the impact on transportation efficiency is already evident, with over 80,000 vehicles projected to use it daily from the outset. By significantly reducing travel times for commuters, the expressway has offered respite from the escalating traffic gridlock in one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
Additionally, it grants southeastern suburbs direct access to the airport, along with improved connections across Dhaka city, benefiting both residents and commuters in the region.
Expected Daily Capacity of Over 80,000 Vehicles
When the Dhaka Elevated Expressway opens next year, it is expected to boast an impressive daily capacity of over 80,000 vehicles. This substantial increase in capacity, compared to existing roads in Dhaka, promises more efficient transportation services at any given time.
This higher carrying capacity will alleviate traffic jams and congestion, facilitating smoother and quicker journeys throughout the expressway network. Moreover, it strengthens connectivity between the northern and southern parts of the city, from Rupganj to Aminbazar, while significantly reducing travel times for commuters relying on this route.
Furthermore, the government has set a reasonable toll rate, making it an economical transportation option without compromising safety or quality. Thus, the increased daily capacity will enhance transportation efficiency and convenience for Dhaka residents in their daily lives.
Reduced Travel Time and Traffic Congestion
The successful launch of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway has brought substantial benefits to the city’s residents. The expressway has substantially improved connectivity between the north and south regions, handling a daily capacity of over 80,000 vehicles.
This achievement translates to a remarkable reduction in travel time during peak hours, with journeys between different parts of the city cut by up to 50%. This not only enhances convenience but also boosts business prospects due to improved mobility.
Problems with Dhaka Elevated Expressway
Despite its achievements, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is not without its challenges and issues that need to be addressed to ensure its long-term success.
Toll Collection System
The toll collection system of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway plays a pivotal role in managing traffic flow and ensuring smooth operation. The system factors in criteria such as total distance traveled and the type of vehicle used, with dedicated lanes designed to facilitate easy entry and exit from the expressway. You can know the Dhaka Elevated Expressway Toll Rates and Details 2023.
The timely introduction of this system, adhering to international standards and best practices, is expected to bring significant benefits to Dhaka’s transportation sustainability.
Limited Access for Certain Types of Vehicles
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway, as a high-speed road connecting the north and south ends of the city, comes with limitations on its usage. For safety reasons, three-wheeler vehicles and pedestrians are strictly prohibited from accessing the expressway. This restriction is primarily due to space constraints, with limited room for additional traffic while maintaining safe driving speeds.
The issue of accessing ramps further complicates matters, as these ramps can become congested quickly, especially when compared to four-wheelers or larger vehicles like buses, which can pass through ramps more swiftly, avoiding traffic flow disruptions onto the expressway itself.
The construction and operation of such large-scale infrastructure projects can have substantial environmental repercussions. These include increased air and noise pollution, disruption of local ecosystems, and the potential displacement of wildlife. Implementing effective environmental mitigation measures and adhering to environmental regulations are crucial to minimize these adverse effects.
Acquiring the necessary land for the expressway can be a complex and time-consuming process. It often involves negotiations with landowners, resolution of land disputes, and ensuring fair compensation for those affected. Delays or disputes in land acquisition can lead to project setbacks.
Challenges to Reduce Traffic Jam
Effectively mitigating traffic jams along the Dhaka Elevated Expressway requires strategic measures, efficient traffic management systems, and public awareness campaigns.
Managing Ramp Connections to Mitigate Congestion
One of the key challenges in reducing traffic jams along the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is managing ramp connections. These connections can result in uneven distribution of vehicles on access and override ramps, leading to queuing issues and significant delays during peak hours. Additionally, static control systems can block emergency vehicles during traffic jams, as they do not dynamically adjust to varying traffic needs or conditions.
To address this problem, the government should consider implementing efficient road networks that connect the east-west parts of Dhaka city, such as roads or circular routes combined with proper ramp design. This approach can help disperse travel demand across multiple paths, providing smooth transitions from ramp connection points onto the expressway and off-ramps, reducing congestion in certain areas.
Furthermore, government initiatives should focus on public education campaigns to promote responsible usage of the highway, minimizing potential disruptions caused by overloaded ramps or blocked lanes due to incidents or breakdowns.
Introducing Efficient Traffic Management Systems
Efficient traffic management systems are essential for reducing traffic congestion on the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. Implementing strategies such as Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) can help manage traffic flow, prioritize public transport vehicles, and ensure the safe operation of the highway.
ITS allows for real-time monitoring of road conditions through sensor networks that inform drivers about upcoming hazards or delays, offering route recommendations based on current traffic patterns. This approach can reduce congestion by managing ramp connections to prevent lane merging conflicts and delayed signal lights at intersections, improving the efficient flow of vehicular movement in Dhaka city.
Public Awareness and Education on Proper Usage of the Expressway
Public awareness and education on the proper usage of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway are essential components of reducing traffic congestion. The success of the expressway depends largely on correct usage for its intended purpose. Therefore, ensuring public understanding is key to reducing misuse and abuse of this transportation resource.
A lack of awareness or misunderstanding can lead to incorrect route choices, lane switching, poor speed control, and extended interaction times, resulting in increased queue lengths, delays, and congestion on ramp connections. Initiatives that ensure clear communication regarding proper usage, along with training activities, can help reinforce good driving habits among commuters. This contributes to smoother flows at interchange ramps and reduced time spent in traffic queues.
These combined initiatives support the efforts of authorities to minimize traffic jams in Dhaka city, benefiting businesses affected by reduced travel efficiency due to these delays.
Community Engagement And Financial Viability
Maintaining positive relationships with local communities and addressing their concerns is vital. Engaging with stakeholders through public consultations, addressing grievances, and involving communities in decision-making can help build support and mitigate conflicts.
Ensuring that toll revenue and other funding sources are sufficient to cover operating and maintenance costs, as well as loan repayments, is essential for the project’s financial viability.
Benefits for Dhaka Residents and Economy
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway has already delivered several significant benefits to the city and its residents, with the potential for further positive impacts.
Improved Transportation Efficiency and Connectivity
One of the most notable benefits of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is the significant improvement in transportation efficiency and connectivity. By offering an alternative route to congested roads, the expressway facilitates the movement of people and goods while drastically reducing travel times.
This improvement contributes positively to economic growth by enabling businesses to operate more efficiently and quickly. Workers can reach their workplaces in less time, enhancing overall productivity. Commuters now have fast and reliable access to different areas of the city, offering a level of convenience previously unattainable. Furthermore, the expressway enhances the quality of life for residents by increasing safety features and providing a solution to traffic congestion in surrounding areas.
Boost to Business and Economy
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway is expected to provide a substantial boost to businesses in Dhaka and the broader Bangladeshi economy. With improved connectivity between the north and south parts of the city, commuters can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent stuck in traffic.
Reduced transportation costs enable businesses to operate more efficiently, leading to increased profitability. Furthermore, enhanced access to the city facilitates travel for investors from outside Dhaka, potentially driving new business opportunities and promoting trade and commerce.
The opening of this expressway improves accessibility at lower costs, contributing to overall economic growth, especially in light of Bangladesh’s consistent yearly growth of over 5-7%.
Enhanced Quality of Life for Residents
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway, with its focus on reducing travel time and improving road infrastructure, is a valuable asset for the residents of Dhaka. Enhanced connectivity across the city allows commuters to save time and avoid traffic congestion.
The faster travel time has a positive impact on the quality of life for citizens by reducing the stress associated with long commutes. Additionally, the increased capacity of 80,000 vehicles per day provides more convenience, reducing waiting times at exits and entrances.
Moreover, the expressway allows private cars and motorbikes to move quickly across the city without encountering disruptions, enhancing the efficiency of visits to friends or leisure activities.
Future Plans and Expansion
The future holds promising plans and expansion possibilities for the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
Completion of the Entire Expressway
The impending completion of the entire Dhaka Elevated Expressway promises a significant improvement in the quality of life for residents in and around Dhaka city. Enhanced connectivity between the north and south regions of this bustling urban area will allow the expressway to accommodate over 80,000 vehicles daily, significantly reducing congestion on other major roads.
The project’s environmental benefits are noteworthy as well, with increased capacity helping reduce harmful carbon emissions from idling vehicles during frequent traffic jams. The construction schedule is aimed at completing the entire expressway by 2024, offering immediate relief from current traffic challenges and improved transportation efficiency throughout the city.
Integration of Other Transportation Systems
Integrating other modes of transport into the Dhaka Elevated Expressway project is essential to upgrade the city’s complex transportation system further. As part of future plans and expansion, integrating public transit facilities such as bus lanes or electric rail networks onto the expressway will be crucial for enhancing connectivity within the city.
Successful completion of this highway will reduce travel time between the north and south, improving access to critical areas in the city. Moreover, integrating public transit options can encourage travelers to switch from private vehicles to more sustainable modes of transportation, ultimately reducing carbon emissions.
Government Initiatives and Support
The government has taken proactive measures to fund and invest in the Dhaka Elevated Expressway project, collaborating with international partners for expertise.
Investment and Funding Strategies
At the core of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway project is a commitment to public-private partnerships (PPPs) and foreign investments to facilitate implementation. These strategies are vital for securing the necessary financing, managing construction timelines, and fostering collaboration among key stakeholders.
Through PPPs, policymakers can tap into funding sources from multiple industries, both domestically and internationally. This approach has immense potential to provide capital investment for advancing infrastructure plans while mitigating risks during project development.
Furthermore, by leveraging international capabilities, including modern technology and managerial expertise from partners outside Bangladesh, the local workforce can acquire new skills, ultimately leading to job creation and economic growth.
Collaboration with International Partners for Expertise
International partners play a pivotal role in the development of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. Bangladesh seeks expertise and support from international organizations, focusing on policy reform and efficient transport management.
Organizations such as the Asian Development Bank have provided financial assistance for sector-related goals within the transport industry. Additionally, coordination between multilateral development banks and international bodies, as emphasized by the G20 Framework on Capacity Building of Urban Structure, is essential to address rapidly changing urban needs.
Access to broader resources, including modern technologies and knowledge transfer related to systems, technical support, and funding, can drive collaboration that benefits both national economies and local communities. These collaborations hold the potential to enhance infrastructure development and improve the lives of Dhaka’s residents.
Public Feedback and Perception
Understanding the insights and experiences of commuters using the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is crucial to evaluating its overall performance and identifying areas for improvement.
Opinions and Experiences of Commuters
Commuters have high expectations for the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, viewing it as a major step forward. They believe it will significantly reduce travel time, improve connectivity between the north and south, alleviate traffic congestion, spur economic activity within the city, and enhance overall quality of life.
However, commuters have raised concerns about the toll collection system, limited access for certain types of vehicles such as buses and rickshaws, inconsistencies in ramp connections that contribute to congestion in narrow sections, and safety issues related to ramps located close to busy roads.
Many also express anxiety about accommodating future traffic growth and changes in areas falling under the coverage zone of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
Suggestions for Improvement
To enhance the efficiency of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway and reduce traffic congestion, practical solutions are needed. Improving the toll collection system to make it quicker and more transparent for vehicles to pay their dues is essential.
Additionally, considering different types of public transport access is important, as many do not have dedicated spaces on roads or ease of movement during peak travel hours.
To ensure proper usage of existing road infrastructure, effective traffic management systems could help manage ramp connections and mitigate congestion. These initiatives, coupled with public education campaigns, can lead to responsible usage of the expressway, resulting in smoother flows at interchange ramps and reduced time spent in traffic queues.
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway is a transformative infrastructure project poised to alleviate traffic congestion in Dhaka. It promises reduced travel times and enhanced connectivity, significantly improving the quality of life for residents.
Moreover, its completion holds the potential to bring significant benefits to local businesses and the economy by providing efficient transportation options for both commuters and goods movement. The government’s initiatives and investments, along with collaborations with international partners, demonstrate a commitment to addressing the city’s transportation challenges.
While the project has achieved considerable success, future challenges such as controlling air pollution and increasing public awareness efforts remain on the horizon. The Dhaka Elevated Expressway serves as a beacon of hope for Dhaka’s traffic woes, offering a glimpse into a more efficient and connected future for the city’s residents and businesses.