City traffic getting slower and slower: study

Most roads in Ho Chi Minh City are now so overcrowded with vehicles that the travelling speed has decreased by 50 percent compared to eight years ago.

Traffic jams occur everyday on Hanoi Highway in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)

A survey by Innovative Technology Development Corporation (ITD) showed that the traffic speed fluctuates between 12.4 and 17.9 kilometers per hour at peak hours in the morning in the inner city, with the speed of 12.4 in the center of the city.
A survey in 2002 by Houstrans, a Japanese urban transport research firm, showed that the average speed of cars traveling at peak hours was 20.7 kilometers per hour in the morning and 19 kilometers per hour in the afternoon.
While the Houstrans survey revealed that there was a rather big difference between speed of cars traveling in peak hours and normal hours, the ITD survey said the difference was small.
About 523.5 kilometers of new roads and 84 bridges were built in the past five years, but they have been inadequate compared to the increasing needs of a rapidly growing city.
The ITD survey said at present, the number of people traveling by cars has risen three times over 2002 because more people and enterprises could afford to buy them instead of motorbikes.
The length of journeys made by cars has also increased remarkably, by 30-40 percent over 2002, while that of motorbikes rose by 25-30 percent in the same period.
The number of personal vehicles has seen an annual increase of 9.93 percent on average over the past ten years, with motorbikes increasing by 9.84 percent and cars by 10.85 percent.
At this rate, the city will have about 1.27 million cars in 2020. However, the survey said, the number of motorbikes might not rise by much because people could switch to using cars.
According to the city’s Department of Transport, a motorbike occupies only two square meters of road, while a car takes up over six square meters.
Experts say that a combination of measures is necessary to tackle the problem. If the city doesn’t build more roads, develop mass transit systems, and take steps to curb the increase of vehicles on the road, severe traffic congestion will be here to stay, they warn. 

By Nguyen Khoa – Translated by Hoang Yen

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