Metrorail in Bangladesh – Transition to a modern technology-based transport system

The country's first Metrorail will begin its commercial journey in December. Prime Minister Sheikh

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Metrorail in Bangladesh – Transition to a modern technology-based transport system

The country's first Metrorail will begin its commercial journey in December. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate this mega project in the month of Great Victory. It is expected that the traffic congestion in the capital city of Dhaka will be reduced to some extent after the launching of this Metrorail. With that, order will also return to the current public transport system. 

Metrorail is one of the most popular means of public transportation in many metropolitan cities around the world. Metrorail communication system is safe and people can definitely use it on time. Among the Asian countries, Japan built the first subway system in 1927. India started construction of metro system in Kolkata in 1972 and later metro rail system was introduced in several other cities of India. Currently, there are 180 subway systems operating in 178 cities in 56 countries around the world.

In 2012, Bangladesh took the initiative to build Metrorail in Dhaka city. In December that year, the 'Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project' or 'Metrorail' project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). A total of 5 routes are proposed for the project, including MRT Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. Dhaka Metro Rail is an ongoing government project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for public transport in the Dhaka metropolitan area. The project is managed by the state-owned Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the metro rail construction in June 2016. Initially, the Metrorail will run through MRT Line-6. The length of MRT Line 6 from Uttara to Motijheel was 20.1 km, later it was extended to Kamalapur, increasing the length of the route by another 1.16 km to a total length of 21.26 km. This route will have total 17 stations and 24 train sets will run through this line. At present it takes about 3 to 4 hours to travel by bus from Uttara to Motijheel. It will take only 40 minutes to travel the same distance by metro rail. When the project will be fully operational, it will initially carry 483,000 passengers a day and is expected to increase to over 1.8 million passengers by 2035.

MRT Line 1 is another important route under the Metrorail project. MRT Line 1 will be constructed on two different routes. The 'Airport Rail Link' line will run from Kamalapurvia the airport to Gazipur, the route will also have an underground station. The second route of this line will run from Baridhara to Purbachal which will be known as Purbachal route. Both routes of MRT Line 1 are expected to be completed in 2026. MRT Line 4 will run from KamalapurRailway Station to Narayanganj and its construction is expected to be completed by 2030. MRT Line 2 will run from Gabtali to Chittagong Road and is expected to be completed in 2030.

A survey conducted by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2018 revealed that the average speed of vehicles in Dhaka is 5 km per hour which is equivalent to walking speed. This speed creates traffic jams and due to prolonged traffic jams, commuters suffer from mental stress which indirectly acts as a source of various diseases. Due to traffic congestion, 5 million working hours are lost daily in Dhaka city, the financial loss of which is about 37 thousand crore taka per year. Dhaka's Strategic Transport Plan (STP) recommended three Metrorail lines by 2024 and six by 2030 to overcome this loss and build a modern transport-friendly city.

Meanwhile, the work of MRT line-6 from Uttara to Motijheelis going on and people will get partial benefits from this line. It is known from the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited, the implementer of the Metrorail project, that the construction of three more Metrorail is underway in Dhaka. When all the lines are operational, the citizens of the capital will get the full benefit from this project. It is expected that the number of private vehicles on the roads under this route will decrease slightly when MRT Line-6 ??is launched. If the users of CNG auto-rickshaws or private cars are interested to travel through the metro, the number of small vehicles on the roads will be reduced. As a result, traffic congestion and pollution will be controlled to some extent. 

Metrorail stations have all the latest facilities for the passengers. Experts have expressed hope that this metro rail project will contribute to the country's economy besides reducing working hours and traffic congestion. As the project is rail based, it will run uninterrupted thereby reducing the travel time of passengers. Passengers will be able to reach their destination easily if they reach the station on time as they will know in advance how much time it will take to reach their destination. Knowing travel times in advance will save many working hours which will contribute to economic development.

The Japanese company is involved in its construction and is also acting as a consultant. Japan has been operating this Metrorail for many years; Tokyo Metrorail is very busy during office hours and is used by office goers comfortably. They have no accident record. This Metrorail will be operated using Japanese technology in our country as well. The entire system will be managed through an Operation Control Center (OCC).

It will also have state of the art technology, moving block communication based telecontrol system and automatic train operation. The complete control of the train will be controlled from the central control. Where and when to stop will be determined through automatic train stop control and the driver will not have to do much due to the use of these technologies. Train routes will be controlled through Program Route Controller System.

By using these advanced technologies there will not be any problem in the operation of Metrorail. A small and populous country like Bangladesh can get a lot of benefits from Metrorail projects. This will significantly reduce daily travel time and also reduce the pressure on other modes of transport by carrying large number of passengers simultaneously.

Bangladesh will enter a new era in the field of communication and transportation after the completion of three important mega projects like Padma Bridge, Metrorail, KarnaphuliTunnel. These projects were undertaken by the government of Bangladesh for the development of the country's communication and transportation sector. In this, people have started getting the benefits of Padma Bridge; the benefits of the rest of the projects will be accessible in the coming days.

Metrorail will bring freedom of communication, boost economy and create jobs. This will facilitate commuting and speed up daily life for more than 15 million people of Dhakacity and will have a positive impact on the economy. Operation and maintenance of Metrorail will require a lot of manpower and the project will create many jobs which will contribute to the national economy.

Due to Metrorail, existing reluctance of women to use public transport will be removed, as a result, they will be interested in traveling by Metrorail and women's participation in the workplace will increase. Metrorail is likely to reduce the population density of Dhaka, in addition to reducing the number of vehicles; it can make a significant contribution to reducing environmental pollution. The World Bank, BUET and various organizations have conducted studies on various aspects of the Metrorail project.  According to those data, 3.8 million working hours are lost due to traffic congestion in Dhaka costing $4.4 billion annually, which is more than 10 percent of the national budget. This has a negative impact on the national economy. Bangladesh can save 2.6 billion dollars if traffic congestion in Dhaka city can be reduced by 60 percent. The Metrorail project will save $2.4 billion per year, which is equivalent to 1.5 percent of the GDP.

Dhaka Metrorail has ushered in a new era in the transport system of Bangladesh. It is a big event for the transport sector of the country. It is expected that such transportation will play an important role in the economic growth of the country by changing the lifestyle of people and increasing their productive time. Metrorail is a potential dream project for Bangladesh; its implementation will help Bangladesh move forward on the path of prosperity. In the direction of development, Bangladesh is going to join the ranks of Metrorail users in the world. It is expected that this eco-friendly, time-saving, modern and technology-based project will play a far-reaching role in the transport sector as a milestone in the development of Bangladesh.


By: Brig Gen (RetdHasan Md Shamsu

Copyright: Fresh Angle International (
ISSN 2354 - 4104

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