May 18th, 2012
10:48 AM GMT
Dhaka (CNN) – Dhaka’s story is one of chaos, congestion and calamity. This city is choked with people, traffic and pollution. At the centre is what has been described as a traffic clot: The jaanjot. A sticky quagmire of rickshaws, cars and vans, it’s the source of much frustration for Dhaka’s 13 million residents.
This megacity has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the world: In all its many streets and roads, only 67 junctions have traffic signals.
Like any city, Dhaka has its dreams, and its vision for the future. The Strategic Transport Plan is a mammoth document which promises a lot of things in the next 20 years, including a new metro system, and a rapid bus transit system. Yet with the dubious accolade of being the "rickshaw capital of the world," and 400,000 of these vehicles on the streets, it’s hard to see how the busy roads will give way to a calmer reality. A pilot project to create rickshaw-free zones for Dhaka’s pedestrians has been implemented, with some opposition.
The UN predicts that by 2025 Dhaka will be larger than Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City, with a population pushing 25 million. Finding space for these people to move around their already crammed city will be a major challenge.
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