Government planning to restrict private cars in Dhaka to reduce traffic jam.

Check and mate:

Our strong consensus here in the last couple of hours has really put the finger on it. We have learned (at high cost) that when you are dealing with complex systems like transport in large cities, you can’t depend on piecemeal or mechanical solutions to sort out what are in fact complex interactive organic problems. Fix-it approaches like this are doomed to failure before we even get them out of the box.

What can we do — all of us here who have been working on and fretting about these issues for years, and often with real results at the level of the streets of the city — — to help local and national government do what is needed to understand, develop and implement a real sustainability strategy worthy of the name and the needs? It does not have to be a huge complicated deal and take all kinds of time. We don’t have to publish pages of PhD dissertations to help. We have the experience, the knowledge, the tools and the means to help.

So, where do we start?

Eric Britton

On Behalf Of Karthik Rao-Cavale
Sent: Wednesday, 22 December, 2010 12:40

“The new vehicles will have the doors on the wrong side of the vehicle for the BRT system, and
thus will act as a wedge against a quality BRT in the future.”

I wonder, are BRTs the ends or the means of sustainable urban transport? It is true that “classical” BRT systems have median bus stops with dedicated buses, but these are not necessarily most appropriate for cities in the subcontinent. But transportation planners in the subcontinent cannot afford to be bound by dogma. Preventing a city from increasing its bus fleet just because that would not work in favour of implementing a “classical” BRTS sounds just absurd to me.

In India, and I suspect that this is true of Dhaka also, streets are often too narrow for dedicated bus lanes to be possible. And yet buses do need to ply on these streets if everyone is to be within reasonable distance of a bus stop. So you do need regular buses. And if one seat rides are to be possible, you need the same buses plying on the regular roads to also run in the BRT lanes, if they exist. There are two ways of making that possible. One is to have doors on both sides in buses. The other is to have bus stops on the curb side of the bus lane rather than the median.

I personally believe that the BRT should be fully integrated into the city’s bus system, in which case the only option short of a complete turnover of the bus fleet is to have curbside bus stops. This was precisely what Delhi BRT did, and I think it is a good design.

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