Sri Lanka public transport upgrade seen urgent to prevent traffic jamming growth

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs “immediate improvements” to public transport to curb the economic loss caused by road traffic congestion, the Central Bank has said.

In the medium term, policymakers must adopt ‘Transport Demand Management’ processes to promote efficient public transportation modes and reduce travel demand from single occupancy private vehicles, or redistribute demand over space or time, it said.

The bank said in its annual report that the island’s transport network must be able to support economic growth, growing population in cities and increased movements between urban, suburban and rural sectors.

"The inefficiency of the public passenger transport system has resulted in increasing the number of private vehicles on the roads that transport a fewer number of passengers per vehicle, leading to heavy traffic congestion,” it said. This was causing increased fuel costs to households and the economy, and a "substantial loss of productive labour hours, which weighs down the growth potential of the country," the report said.

"The associated economic losses of congestion are expected to increase further with anticipated trend growth in vehicle ownership caused by rising income levels."

The Central Bank also said that, although the government has invested heavily in transportation infrastructure development such as building roads and adding fleets of buses, congestion persists due to the lack of good quality and reliable mass transport options.

“Hence, it is important to take appropriate measures to improve the existing road and rail transportation systems, especially in urban areas." (Colombo/May 03 2016)

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