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Roadway Resources

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Table of Contents:



Managing Kathmandu's traffic by Ashish Gajurel

Published on 2011-02-08 01:00:21 | My Republica


Kathmandu’s transportation system requires significant improvements. Improper traffic management, insufficient number of public vehicles and excessive number of small capacity public vehicles on the city’s streets have led to unbearable traffic congestion, resulting to negative externalities such as productivity loss, increase in stress levels, and deteriorating health from pollution. Improvement of bus transportation could be one of the strategies to manage the Valley’s traffic.

Bus transit is very flexible form of public transportation and serves a variety of access needs and wide range of locations. The infrastructure investment for bus system is substantially lower than the capital investment for rail system. The well-organized and well-integrated bus system improves the overall mobility condition by improving the speed and reliability which would result in the smooth flow of the traffic. 

Bus transit is efficient, user friendly, economical and flexible in terms of operation and development. Efficient bus system should include high capacity vehicles, efficient boarding methods, well-organized bus stations, well-covered route structure, organized schedule and inter-connections, reasonable and integrated ticketing system, comfortable seats and friendly bus staff. 

Kathmandu’s traffic is terrible and the presence of two-wheelers, four-wheelers as well as non-motorized vehicles on the same traffic system makes the task of traffic management very difficult. As the non-motorized vehicles have lower operating speed compared to the motorized vehicles, it leads to the reduced average speed of the whole system resulting in congestion. The city of Kathmandu should encourage the uses of public transportation and bicycles and discourage the use of private vehicles. The separate bicycle lanes are to be developed which would certainly encourage bicycle riders. Sidewalks for pedestrians are the most important element of the roads. Kathmandu being one of the least pedestrian friendly cities in the world, the footpaths for pedestrian should be safe enough and well-maintained so that people are motivated to walk short destinations rather than using vehicles. These factors motivate to shift traffic from motorized to non-motorized vehicles. This would lead in the reduction of the number of motorized vehicles thus, making the task of traffic management a lot easier. Traffic management should improve the traffic flow, safety and significant reduction in traveling time. 

Traveling by public bus should be economical compared to the use of private vehicles. This is the basic requirement to motivate the valley’s residents to shift from using private vehicles to public transports. Social status factor is the main cause of increase in private vehicles in Nepal in general and Kathmandu in particular. It requires a shift of attitude “only those who cannot afford private vehicles use public transportation” to “public transportation is a mode of transport for everyone”. People should be made aware that the traffic congestion, urban sprawl, central city decline and air pollution are the problems that result from excessive dependency on private vehicles and should be convinced that the well-organized bus system would provide faster operating speed, grater service reliability and increased convenience. When designing traffic signals and traffic management strategies the public transport should be prioritized. This improves the reliability of the public transport.

Well developed bus transit results in higher travel speed (time saving), higher comfort, road safety, reduction of the number of vehicles, decrease in energy consumption, air pollution and noise. Public authorities or private transport companies or both can operate it with integrated ticketing system and schedule which could be developed. A well managed bus transit is the best option compared to developing subways/metros, as it requires huge investment. Since Kathmandu isn’t as big as other cities, for example, Beijing and New Delhi, a well-developed bus system is the best choice to ease the traffic woes of the valley residents.


Improvement of bus transportation could be one of the strategies to manage the Valley’s traffic.The city of Kathmandu should encourage the uses of public transportation and discourage the use of private vehicles.

Furthermore, in a city like Kathmandu, easy operation and integration into the existing transport infrastructure makes it a viable investment. Managing traffic is a long and time consuming process, only proper planning and its implementation can solve the traffic problem of our capital. There are several ways of managing traffic; the recent one is the use of telematics which is the integrated use of telecommunication and informatics as a part of infrastructure to manage and operate the traffic. A complex system, telematics requires expensive technologies and very well-trained staffs. But looking at the present situation of the country, using system is not going to be very effective. Therefore, the development of systematic bus transit remains the best option for Kathmandu.



Video Resources




Overview of Rural Infrastructure Development

NTV plus interview with Bhim Upadhyaya on Quality of physical infrastructure in Nepal (Nov 2011)



- strategy is basically let's start digging, then when we have money we will gravel and/or "pitch"

- many roads are built as per the need... people want roads

- dozer operator farming - not technically designed, local people think that by scrapping mountain side will make a "road"; unregulated construction... people who have received power to construct road do not have the technical knowledge... PLANNING is lacking... demand is there... they need to support


- Ideas:

  1. We need to come up with a package in each district by planning which ones to connect and how to connect them; then make a phase-wise plan to make the roads;
    • Ex: India
    • - they have done this in a nation-wide project 
      • Bihar: built 35K km by one political leader, while Nepal has only made 33K km
  2. Need to establish an inspector who is responsible for inspection. If a bridge falls then that inspector needs to be held responsible 


- Challenges:

  • Lack of accountability
    • There are policies but they do not get followed/implemented
    • Inspection Department needs to be in place 
    • No one can be held accountable because of high turnover of engineers, contractors can't be arrested, there is no body that is responsible for inspecting 



RAID Project

Introduction of World Bank Funded Rural Access Improvement and Decentralization Project under Dept of Local Infras Development & Agri Roads(DoLIDAR)



- E-bidding instead of having to go to the office to submit bidding application. This prevents some contractors to physically threaten or block other contractors, who want to submit bid. This had been a big problem.

- Ashok Kumar Jha, Project Manager, RAIDP

- large portion of the work in Terai region

- community participation from planning to maintenance

- plan to request money from the WB for maintenance








Other videos


Road development in Mustang





Transportation in Jumla


Sanfe-Bajura Road Development

- a lot of finger pointing on why the road from Sanfe (Achham) to Martadi (Bajura) has yet not been completed in 16 years



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