City's clogged streets having a major impact on economic performance, meeting told.
Ho Chi Minh City loses more than $820 million because of traffic congestion each year, Associate Professor Pham Xuan Mai from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology told a meeting on March 29 on measures to reduce traffic congestion.
The traffic gets worse every day in the southern economic hub due to construction and inadequacies in land use planning resulting in transport infrastructure failing to meet demand, said Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong.
There have been no effective solutions introduced to deal with the rise in the number of personal vehicles, he added. Bus routes have proven insufficient in easing the congestion.
According to the City’s Department of Transport it now has more than 7.5 million vehicles (including nearly 7 million motorcycles) on its streets, a year-on-year increase of 6.77 per cent, excluding millions of vehicles registered in other provinces and used in the city every day.
It had 4,869 roads with a width of at least 5 meters as at the end of 2015 with a total length of more than 4,000 km and a combined area of 76.69 million square meters.
The land area for transport therefore accounts for only 8.2 per cent of the area for constructing urban facilities, far below the 24-26 per cent target set by the government.
The Department said that the development of buildings, residential areas, shopping malls, hospitals, and schools needs to be closely monitored.
Ho Chi Minh City is pushing forward with upgrading and expanding its arterial roads and building elevated roadways and parking lots. It is also accelerating construction of two urban railway lines and one bus rapid transit (BRT) project, along with building new bus terminals in outlying areas.
At the meeting, Associate Professor Mai asked the city to develop a three-carriage BRT system, since each bus of this kind is able to carry as many passengers as an urban railway train does, while the construction duration is shorter and the cost lower.
BRT systems have proven effective in major cities in Europe, Japan, China and Thailand and will attract more people to public transport, he noted.