Project to install an intelligent traffic system in limbo
An ongoing project to install an automatic intelligent system at four major road junctions in Dhaka to improve traffic management has not yet started.
The project, initiated six years ago, under the aegis of the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, has already obtained four extensions while the cost has also been increased twice.
In addition, the Detective Directorate is currently investigating an incident of theft of a project server computer.
The project office recently sent a proposal to the Road Transport and Highways Division for approval related to the purchase of another server computer for the traffic light control system.
“I don’t know when the system under the project will become active,” DTCA executive director and additional project director Mohammad Rabiul Alam told New Age on Thursday.
Urban transportation experts have argued that this project would suffer the same fate as other failed traffic light initiatives.
Currently, traffic lights, timer systems and digital billboards costing millions of taka are now out of order in the capital while the Dhaka Metropolitan Police traffic police control traffic manually.
In this context, the DTCA initiated the Dhaka Integrated Traffic Management Project in July 2015.
The pilot project launched under the technical coordination agreement between the government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency is expected to integrate the four crossing points in Dhaka – Paltan, Phulbari, Mohakhali and Gulshan-1 – with the intelligent transport system .
The first project deadline was set for June 2017, while the cost was estimated at 36.37 crore Tk and after the first revision the cost was increased to 45.24 crore Tk and the deadline was extended. until June 2018.
After the second revision, the cost of the project was increased to Tk 52.08 crore and the deadline was extended until December 2019.
Later, after two extensions, the project deadline was finally extended until June of this year without any increase in cost.
The ITS system – comprising an ultrasonic vehicle detector, vehicle image detector, CCTV to track traffic volume and control traffic lights – had been installed at these crossings in November 2019.
According to the project office, the ITS system could not be installed in the control room of the DMP due to the “loss” of one of the server computers from a rented warehouse in Hazaribagh under the direction of the Dhaka South City Corporation.
The project office became aware of the incident in January 2020 and a police file was filed at Hazaribagh Police Station on January 27, 2020.
Later, the case was handed over to DB in February of the same year.
On December 27, 2020, the DTCA sent the RTHD a proposal to adjust an internal component for the acquisition of a server computer without increasing the cost of the project.
Meanwhile, a departmental investigation committee also investigated the incident and a report was sent to the division.
A senior DTCA officer said: “It is a shame that the computer was stolen. “
In 2005, automated traffic lights were installed at 70 main city crossings at a cost of Tk 13 crore as part of the World Bank-funded Dhaka Urban Transport Project, which broke down within a few years. lack of maintenance.
In October 2009, the two companies in Dhaka city installed countdown systems at 70 level crossings and 30 new signals in the city at a cost of 96.71 lakh Tk as part of the Clean Air and Sustainable project. Environment financed by the BM.
There were also at least 17 large and 14 small digital billboards set up at key points by the DMP at a cost of Tk 27 crore.
Meanwhile, the High Court on January 20, 2020, after hearing a subpoena motion, ordered the relevant authorities to submit a report on the mismanagement of the traffic light monitoring system in Dhaka and develop a policy. on signals.
DMP Supplementary Traffic Commissioner Abdur Razzaq told New Age on Thursday that they were still working on the issues.
“Road signs will become active while all the development work of the various projects underway in the capital will be completed,” he added.
Professor Md Shamsul Hoque, former director of the Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said the roads in Dhaka city lost the capacity to accommodate so many vehicles a long time ago.
“The ITS system simply won’t work in such a context, especially after installing the system at just four crossings,” he said and urged the DTCA to learn from past initiatives.
“Running a pilot project like this is just a waste of public money,” he added.
On Thursday, DITMP director Rabiul Alam said that while the missing computer case was ongoing, he was unaware of the outcome of the internal investigation.
He also said the purchase proposal had not yet been approved by the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges.