Connect with us


Traffic expert says underpasses not enough for Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Dr Agachai Sumalee, 36, is a scientist at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology and an associate professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has a PhD in Operations Research from Leeds University in England. On September 17, Dr Agachai won the ASPIRE prize for creating an intelligent transportation system that reduces highway congestion in Bangkok.

Here, he reveals his concerns about traffic problems and discusses how important efficient transportation and traffic flow is in Phuket and around the world.

PHUKET: We have only 24 hours in a day to do everything we need to do. Eight to 10 of those hours are spent sleeping, which leaves us with about 14 waking hours to live our daily lives. Imagine losing three to four hours every day just trying to get from place to place – like the millions of people in Bangkok.

This equates to 30 per cent of your waking life being rendered absolutely worthless.

Traffic jams are an international problem. They are sporadic. Some locations in a city will suffer jams one day, and then other days the roads will be clear. Even the severity of the traffic jam varies from day to day and hour to hour.

We call this the variation of traffic. While studying, I became convinced that there must be some system out there that can analyze those variations.

In 2007, I began a joint project in Hong Kong under the hypothesis that computer software could report real-time traffic information and compile it in a way that would enable us to use this information to analyze road conditions.

The traffic-flow algorithms system we developed during the project were able to report real-time traffic conditions and provide predictions of what the traffic was going to be like. This makes it easy to handle any problems that might arise.

The first prototype was used on Kanjanapisek Highway in Bangkok from the end of 2011 until August 2012. The prototype was successful, and thereby able to reduce congestion.

Bangkok, however, is not the only place that is facing serious traffic problems. Phuket is facing them as well.

Phuket has many upcoming projects – approved and not yet approved – to help solve traffic problems around the island. There are underpasses being built near Central Festival and Tesco Lotus, and there is even a tunnel proposed to go through the Patong hills.

It is great to see Phuket make moves toward fixing serious traffic problems through projects such as underpasses, but they are only temporary solutions. In order to make permanent changes, city planning must focus on providing efficient public transport.

Public transport is the bedrock of many well-developed cities, such as Hong Kong and Singapore – it is the main artery that drives the city’s functions forward.

Low quality transportation systems impair quality of life. The need for efficient transportation is massive, and there must be some national policies put in place to permanently solve the problems and ease traffic flow.

New policies are not enough, and Phuket needs to find a way to solve the problem on a daily basis until a permanent fix can be found.

— Natthaphol Wittayarungrote


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime9 mins ago

15 year old stabbed at private school

Thailand12 mins ago

UPDATE: Police identify alleged gunman who opened fire at field hospital, killing a patient

Thailand1 hour ago

PM orders investigation into pricey street lamps

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Best of2 hours ago

Top 5 Thai Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket2 hours ago

Phuket governor outlines plans to track and trace foreign arrivals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: Latest wave exceeds 200,000 cases

Thailand2 hours ago

Guitarist from “Playground” dies in road incident

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

First delivery of Sinopharm vaccines approved for distribution

Thailand3 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | Thai Immigration – Are you legal? Latest Covid and Phuket sandbox

Phuket3 hours ago

Flight traffic to Phuket expected to increase by 6% next month

Tourism3 hours ago

Hotel platform predicts increasing demand for holidays in Thailand

Bangkok4 hours ago

Covid-19 task force pushes back on Bangkok lockdown proposal

Northern Thailand12 hours ago

Meteor causes explosion, green glow above Northern Thailand

Hua Hin13 hours ago

Elephant that broke into Hua Hin kitchen now in memes and ads

Tourism15 hours ago

Phuket governer reviews rules, new details for July 1 arrivals

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8