New and improved roads, bridges and traffic signals, an extensive bus system, well-trained policemen and a driver’s license system make up the $375 million, 14-year transportation master plan presented to the municipal government Friday by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Without it, Phnom Penh can expect by 2015 to suffer from traffic congestion on major boulevards in urban and suburban areas, which would stifle the city’s economic development, quality of life and environment, JICA officials said.
But if the plan is followed, the city could avoid overpopulation and the growth of slum housing and might enjoy an orderly, modern transportation system that would help develop the economy and tourism, the plan said.
Currently, the plan said, transportation “depends comprehensively on motorcycles.” But by 2015, JICA envisions 2,600 car taxis and a large bus system that would link Phnom Penh to its suburbs with as many 175 buses traveling on nine city routes.
In June, JICA funded a bus system as part of its survey of Phnom Penh’s transportation system. Results from the bus experiment informed the new plan. Tatsuyuki Sakurai, deputy team leader for JICA’s traffic study, said the group is still researching how a bus system could be profitable. The city continued funding for the bus experiment in July but cut two routes for lack of money.
The survey also studied the traffic volume on major streets and commuters’ daily routes. It tried to determine where the congested areas will be, and which intersections will need traffic signals.
Than Sina, first municipal vice-governor, said he approved of the plan, but asked JICA officials to speed-up the timetable.
“Fifteen years is too long. We want to see the fruits of this,” he said.
Under the plan, $57 million would be spent on creating and operating a bus system, $15 million for improving and installing traffic signals, public education and on-street parking, $2 million on vehicle registration and driver’s license systems and $301 million on upgrading, paving and building roads and bridges.
(Additional reporting by Richard Sine)