The Role Of BRT

BRT’s Role in an Integrated Transport System

Bus rapid transit is an enhanced bus based concept with dedicated bus lanes that has been successfully implemented in many cities worldwide providing high quality, efficient and safe public transport services to ensure mobility and access for everybody. The north section of the BRT Line 3 corridor will cover a distance of 20.2km between Airport, Tongi and Shibbari Gazipur. The BRT corridor from the Airport to Gazipur will have 1 BRT lane in each direction located in the middle of the road and only for the use of BRT buses. Besides the BRT lanes from Airport to Shibbari Gazipur, the corridor is being upgraded and widened with 2 mixed traffic lane in each direction, 1 non-motorized transport lane and 1 pedestrian footpath in each direction, improved feeder roads and better drainage along its entire length.

Due to this road widening and the provision of dedicated BRT lanes, the BRT buses will not obstruct other traffic in the corridor because sufficient provision of U-turn and right/left turns for mixed traffic provision are also provided under the flyovers and overpasses. The BRT will be an important tool to improve the landscape and environment of north Dhaka by improving overall traffic management, segregating non-motorized transport lanes, installing energy efficient street lighting and developing high capacity drainage along the entire length of the corridor.

Six fly-overs are under construction along the corridor for better traffic flow. Six lane elevated sections including 4.5km BRT lanes from House Building to Cherag are being constructed. The existing 4 lane Tongi Bridge is being constructed as 10 lane bridge including 1 lane in each direction dedicated to the BRT. There will be a ramp down from the Tongi Bridge to Abdullahpur Ashulia Road.

Public transport in Dhaka is inadequate, in disciplined and of poor quality. There are more than 60 licensed routes and more than 2500 large and mini buses belonging to the private operators are operating through the project corridor. The bus fleet is in poor and dilapidated condition, there are few equipped stops, information on itinerary or connection is not provided, and the ticketing system is also not developed.

The proposed project will contribute to Bangladesh national priority to organize urbanization and upgrade city infrastructures to mitigate climate change, to improve living standards, and, to strengthen economic growth. It complies with Dhaka's urban transport sector priorities by following some of the recommendations of the Strategic Transport Plan, approved by the government in 2008. The Project is also well aligned with ADB recent strong focus on urban transport, as outlined in ADB’s Sustainable Transport Initiative Operational Plan.

The project will ensure close coordination with other development partners’ activities in the urban transport sector. The selected corridor for the project will connect with the BRT corridor to be undertaken by World Bank, leading ultimately to the implementation of a 42 km mass-transit corridor, from Gazipur to Dhaka city center and beyond. It is therefore crucial to coordinate both projects to ensure full technical, operational and institutional integration. With the North section of the corridor having more chances to be implemented first, due to easier institutional and technical features, its demonstration effect will ease the implementation of the South section. There will also be close coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which recently undertook the implementation of Metro (MRT Line-6). A strong potential synergy can be found, notably in capacity building and necessary organizational developments to improve the management of Dhaka’s urban transport system.

The Government approved Strategic Transport Plan (STP) carried out by WB in 2005 and subsequent revision in 2015 by JICA serves as the current basis for urban transport planning in Dhaka. The STP underlined the large size of the transport investment needs in Dhaka and recommended a program of three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes including BRT line-3. Dhaka Urban Transport Network Development Study (KEI, JICA, 2010) also recommended construction of BRT Line-3. There is severe traffic congestion caused by high vehicular traffic flow with conflicting pedestrian and NMT movements and it is one of the main entries to the city from the Northern side of the country(N3)  and lack connectivity between both east and west sides. There are also growing industrial development mainly RMG factories by the side of the road. Under a TA project ADB engaged Consultant to study the feasibility study of the project. Based on detailed feasibility study of the six proposed corridors, Gazipur-Tong-Airport route (part of BRT Line-3) was found to be most feasible corridor.

Besides due to physical constraints and already heavily built up area on both side of the road the route cannot be widened any further. Moreover -construction of rail-based mass transit is about 10 to 20 times more expensive & time consuming than BRT. But, some sort of immediate intervention are necessary  to remove the chronic congestion and increase the transportation efficiency and  capacity in the routes which can only attained cost effectively and in shorter time through implementation of Bus Rapid Transit system.