Traffic jams have become a regular phenomenon in HCM City as a consequence of the government’s inappropriate management policies, such as developing urban resident zones without traffic plans, investing in infrastructure which lags behind urban development, and failing to control the increase of private transportation.
Of several long-term solutions to the problem which have been suggested, investing in the development of infrastructure is considered a basic solution to the problem, but it cannot be carried out overnight due to a lack of funding, feasible plans, and capable manpower.
To restrict the use of private transportation seems to be an outrageous measure when public transportation still cannot meet the increasing demands of the city’s population.
Educating people on traffic laws should be an ongoing task—it will take time to raise awareness of the importance of traffic law compliance.
So, what can be done now, in the immediate future, to iron out the city’s current problem of traffic jams?
Following are some proposed solutions:
First, all motorcyclists driving from alleys into crowded streets must turn right. The driver should then proceed to the first intersection where he can easily turn left, if he so desires. This will help prevent accidents and congestion caused by motorcycles suddenly rushing from an alley and crossing the street.
Secondly, the HCM City Traffic Police currently have a Traffic Control Center whose main function is to control the traffic network of the whole city. Many city residents believe the center’s operations should be strengthened.
If the police have the ability to communicate with drivers, announcing where traffic flow is heaviest and suggesting alternate routes, or adjust the timing of traffic lights to ease congestion in a timely manner, there should be fewer traffic problems.
Thirdly, the timing of traffic lights in many intersections in the city should be set in a scientific and reasonable way to facilitate the control of traffic flow. For example, a number of intersections in the city are not very far apart from each other; yet, the timing of the traffic lights at these intersections is rigidly set to operate automatically, without taking the flow of traffic into account, resulting in severe traffic congestion. The timing should therefore be manually reset based on the flow of traffic to ease the congestion.
Fourthly, concrete traffic separation strips are currently laid in the middle of many streets to prevent drivers traveling on one side of a street from encroaching on the opposite side.
These concrete strips should be replaced by movable plastic ones so that the limit of each side of the street can be easily widened or narrowed by just moving the strips to suit the flow of traffic on either side.
And finally, it’s necessary to find a solution for the lack of parking lots in the city as road-ways are frequently blocked or narrowed by parked cars during rush hours.