Bangkok’s new governor requests a year to study traffic solutions for the city

Bangkok’s newly elected governor has requested a year to study how best to solve the city’s traffic problems. In a meeting with metropolitan police today, Governor Chadchart Sittipunt outlined plans to set up a traffic command centre, which will cooperate with several other institutions. These include traffic police, the Transport Ministry, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the metro system, and the Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority.

The plan is for these institutions to cooperate to centralise traffic management in Bangkok. Chadchart pointed out that right now, as many as 37 agencies manage traffic without coordinating well with each other. He therefore plans to place the responsibilities of traffic management under one command, led by Bangkok’s administration.

Chadchart noted that of about 50,000 surveillance cameras already installed in the city, only about 100 of them are being controlled by traffic police to monitor traffic at road intersections. This means that Bangkok’s traffic police are not able to see traffic conditions across Bangkok. Chadchart suggested that Bangkok have one traffic control system that lets controllers see conditions in wider areas.

Chadchart also suggested a study on pedestrian safety. Thailand has had a reckoning with its pedestrian safety (or lack thereof) ever since a motorcycle hit and killed an eye doctor at a zebra crossing in Bangkok in January. The incident made headlines across the country, sparking an outcry. After the incident, a health organisation and a road safety organisation teamed up to study how many cars, motorbikes, and public vehicles stop for pedestrians at 12 zebra crossings in Bangkok. They found that altogether, 89% wouldn’t stop.

Last month, Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced a goal to cut the number of road deaths by almost 2 thirds by 2027. The so-called “Vision Zero” goal for 2050 is to completely eliminate traffic fatalities, and severe injuries. Unlike Prayut, Chadchart has not yet announced such grand goals. Bangkok will have to wait and see if he finds solutions over the next year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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