Friday March 22, 2019

Sri Lanka transport reforms urgent as vehicles crawl: expert

By Rohan Gunasekera

May 13, 2015 08:06 AM GMT+0530 | 3 Comment(s)

CRAWLSPEED:  Bumper-to-bumper traffic on street in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Urgent transport reforms are needed in Sri Lanka with average vehicle speeds in the capital Colombo dropping to a virtual crawl and projected to get even slower, an expert has warned.

Congestion has been getting worse because of badly planned urban growth and a flood of vehicle imports as personal incomes rose, said Amal Kumarage, Senior Professor of the Moratuwa University’s Department of Transport & Logistics Management.

“The average speed of travel within the Colombo city limits is now only 12 kilometres an hour,” he said.

The average vehicle speed within the Colombo Municipal Council was projected to drop by 50 percent to 6 km an hour by 2020 from 2014 if urgent transport reforms are not done, he said.

The number of motor vehicles in the island is projected to rise by 39 percent to 1.95 million from 1.4 million over the same period.

Sri Lanka has seen a flood of vehicle imports in recent years as personal incomes have been rising while the public transport system has deteriorated.

Within the Colombo Metropolitan Region, which encompasses the suburbs, average vehicle speed had dropped to 17 km/hour and is projected to fall by 55 percent to a mere eight kilometres an hour by 2020 if nothing is done.

Higher incomes lead to more demand for travel and to more private vehicle use particularly given the deterioration of public transport.

“Congestion forces speed down. It’s a growing concern,” Kumarage told a transport forum held by the Organisation of Professional Associations.

“The roads cannot handle the demand for mobility as the population increases.”



  1. Rishar May 14, 07:12 AM

    This issue has been in debate for a considerable period. some workable solution should be put forward instead of talking and just talking. It should be considered a top priority.

  2. sacre blieu May 13, 11:37 AM

    There seems to be no method in the UNP madness. A good number of vehicles have been acquired by the government without any justification and some government officials posses vehicles also without justification. Others , obviously, through illicit wealth.

  3. Tilak May 13, 08:25 AM

    First steps are already visible.Removal of unnessary back up vehicles creating pandimonium delays & confusion on the roads.(This should clearly not be removed/reduced for those few of the top VVIP's in govt,opposition+not in office).There may also be other least cost options that could be tried out along with well thought out value for money (for the people)strategies.

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