Traffic made worse by small motorbike lanes

By Nguyen Tien Manh   June 25, 2023 | 06:41 pm PT
Traffic made worse by small motorbike lanes
Motorbikes and other vehicles share an overpass on Cong Hoa Street in HCMC's Tan Binh District, August 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
There are eight times more motorbikes than cars in Hanoi and HCMC, but we only give motorbikes very small lanes.

Trying to solve the traffic problem in Vietnam’s two biggest cities means solving the problem of motorbike overload.

It is easy to see an inadequacy in urban infrastructure in the inner city: the lanes for cars are very large, but the lanes for motorbikes is very small.

First, we should give more road space to motorbikes. Then, we should build more overpasses just for motorbikes.

Instead of spending VND700 billion to VND1 trillion (US$29.8-42.5 million) to build an overpass for both cars and motorbikes, why don't we build more overpasses just for motorbikes, which are dozens of times cheaper? Imagine an intersection in which there are two overpasses on both sides of the road for motorbikes, and the middle lane is for cars. Motorbikes can still move when the light is red thanks to the overpasses, while cars stop waiting for the light to turn green. That can prevent chronic congestion at intersections during peak hours.

Imagine, riding a motorbike from work to home without having to stop for a red light... how convenient is that?

Our public transport system is still underdeveloped, so I think it just makes sense that we facilitate motorbike travel for now.

At the same time, we should discourage the buying of cars in cities, given the fact that our roads are small and we have limited funds to expand them. We can do that by setting up automatic toll stations for cars at entry points into the city, charging an appropriate fee.

Of course we should not stop improving different types of public transport to replace private means of transport. If we know how to balance and regulate between different modes of transport, I believe we can solve the problem of urban traffic congestion in a fundamental way.

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