|A police officer uses roadside traffic cameras to help motorists avoid traffic jams in HCM City. A US$187-million plan to build a modern traffic control centre in HCM City has been submited to the Government. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY — HCM City has asked the Government to put a US$187 million project on building the most modern traffic control centre in the country on the lists of projects acquiring French official development assistance.
The municipal People's Committee submitted its proposal to the Ministry of Planning and Investment last week.
The project is expected to start implementation this year and be completed in three phases over the next five years.
More than 1,400 crossroads all over the city will be installed with cameras and other electronic equipment to monitor traffic flow. The "smart" system will send all images to a traffic control centre which will directly monitor traffic lights instead of traffic police officers on the spot.
This project is key to efforts being made to control traffic congestion in the country's most populated city, home to nearly 10 million people.
There are nearly five million motorcycles and 500,000 automobiles in HCM City which is seeing a fast increase in the number of personal vehicles and chronic traffic jams during rush hours.
The southern mega city currently has around 590 crossroads with traffic lights, according to the city's Transport Department. A number of crossroads have been installed with cameras which are controlled independently.
The city's traffic lights are being controlled by different centres which has made the management of the whole traffic system a difficult job, said the department, stressing the need for an intelligent traffic system (ITS).
HCM City traffic police now control 159 crossroads with traffic lights that have been installed with ODA funds from the French government and World Bank. More than 400 others are under the management of the Transport Department.
The ITS system will enable the connection of different control systems such as bus management and toll fee collection to put them under the city's single control centre. The intelligent system is expected to improve the effectiveness of different means of public transport including taxi, bus, sky and underground train, according to the Transport Department.
Meanwhile, several experts have said the city's transport infrastructure is not ready for an ITS system to function effectively.
Lam Thieu Quan, a member of the municipal People's Council, a transport technology expert, said the city needed to meet four requirements before introducing the ITS system. They included standard crossroads, clear signboards, high public awareness of and compliance with transport rules and strict punishment of law violators.
If the city did not meet these requirements, any investment in an ITS system would be a waste, said Quan, who urged the Transport Department to build a system of crossroads and traffic lights that met international standards.
Tran Quoc Hung of the city's Traffic Safety Committee said measures were being taken to meet those requirements by the time the project is completed in 2017. He also said the ITS system would only be able to run effectively once those requirements were met. — VNS