Traffic jams cost HCM City 820 million USD each year hinh anh 1Cars line up on a road to HCM City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA)Traffic congestion costs Ho Chi Minh City more than 18.3 trillion VND (820.4 million USD) every year and is hampering local economic growth.

The figure was released by Assoc. Prof. Pham Xuan Mai from the HCM City University of Technology at a meeting on measures to reduce traffic congestion on March 29.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said traffic has got worse in HCM City due to poor construction and land-use planning, causing transport infrastructure to fail to meet travel demand.

There haven’t been effective solutions to deal with the surge in the number of personal vehicles, he added. Also, bus routes aren’t large enough to serve as a main means of transport.

By March 15, the southern municipality had more than 7.5 million transport vehicles (including nearly 7 million motorcycles), a year-on-year increase of 6.77 percent. Millions of vehicles registered in other provinces are also used in the city every day, according to the municipal Department of Transport.

HCM City had 4,869 roads with width of at least 5 metres as of the end of 2015. They have a total length of more than 4,000km and a combined area of 76.69 million square metres.

As a result, the land area for transport accounts for only 8.2 percent of the area for constructing urban facilities, far below the 24-26 percent target set by the Government.

The Department of Transport said the development of buildings, residential areas, trade centres, hospitals and schools needs to be closely monitored.

HCM City is pushing forward with upgrading and expanding arterial roads, and building elevated highways and parking lots. It is also accelerating the progress of two metro and one bus rapid transit (BRT) projects, along with the construction of new bus terminals in outlying areas.

At the meeting, Assoc. Prof. Mai asked the city to develop a three-carriage BRT system, since each bus of this kind is able to carry as many passengers as a metro does, while construction duration is short and expenses are low.

This BRT system has proved effective in big cities in Europe, Japan, China and Thailand, and will draw more people in using public transport means, he noted.-VNA