Vietnam loses billions to traffic, needs solutions: World Bank

By Phan Anh   December 20, 2022 | 06:52 pm PT
Vietnam loses billions to traffic, needs solutions: World Bank
Vehicles are stuck in traffic in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
Ineffective and unsustainable transport policies have led to traffic congestion that causes Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City billions of dollars in losses every year, a World Bank representative said.

The representative told a Monday conference on public transport and public-private partnerships in Ho Chi Minh City that the southern hub must prioritize making urban transport sustainable and effective, local media reported.

HCMC loses billions of U.S. dollars a year due to traffic congestion, while Hanoi loses $1.2 billion a year due to clogged arteries, the representative added.

Shige Sakaki, a Senior Urban Transport Specialist working with the World Bank’s Transport and ICT Global Practice unit, said Vietnam’s carbon emissions have been rising quickly over the past 10 years, mainly due to the country’s skyrocketing number of personal vehicles.

By 2030, transport sector emissions are expected to have more than tripled since 2014, while Vietnam has on the other hand committed to a net-zero goal by 2050, Sakaki pointed out, as cited by Thanh Nien.

He proposed that Vietnam focus on transit-oriented development, in which the goal should be to eventually make walking and cycling the country’s main modes of transportation. To do so, the use of personal vehicles needs to be restricted, either through higher taxes or tolls, he said, adding that people also need to be encouraged to use public transport more.

Bui Xuan Nguyen from the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railway cited data released by the Ministry of Transport in 2021 which showed that despite the fact that HCMC is an economic powerhouse for both Vietnam’s southern region and the whole of the country, yearly investments in its infrastructure remain modest, with only around VND30 trillion ($1.26 billion) approved in infrastructure funds annually.

Hanoi has over 7 million cars and motorbikes, along with over a million other vehicles coming from other localities. HCMC manages over 8.4 million vehicles, including 819,000 cars and 7.6 million motorbikes.

Both cities have plans to develop grand metro networks, but construction has been delayed for years and only one line in Hanoi is now up and running.

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