Communication may prove effective to help resolve traffic problems in Hanoi and other big cities of Vietnam, according to specialists.
|Congestion during rush hour on Nguyen Trai Road in Hanoi. Photo: Tran Dung|
The increase in vehicles in large cities such as Hanoi, HCM City, and Danang has burdened the transportation system with traffic jams, pollution, and traffic accidents. Solutions have been developed and executed but are not robust enough to solve traffic problems.
According to the Hanoi Traffic Police Department, in the first six months of 2022, more than 7.6 million vehicles circulated on Hanoi's roads, including more than 1 million cars, 6.4 million motorcycles, and more than 178,000 electric vehicles.
Between 2018 and 2021, Hanoi saw an average of more than 1,100 traffic accidents per year, resulting in 460 fatalities. The victims were mostly of working age and minors.
Communication will be the key to reducing road accidents, Chief of the Office of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, Tran Huu Minh, said.
He said that large cities, such as Hanoi, should periodically review and revise existing regulations in line with experimental conditions to improve the quality and safety of the transport system.
Tom Carroll, a communication consultant for the global organization Vital Strategies, said that most traffic accidents are due to drunk driving, speeding, and failure to obey signs.
A good, effective communication campaign may change those actions, he said.
Tom said that social media, outdoor advertising, and public relations might be effective communication channels that help improve drivers' awareness.
Hanoi has achieved significant economic growth, but it comes along with traffic congestion and road accidents, Le Trung Hieu, an expert on the transportation system, told The Hanoi Times.
Poor development of transportation infrastructures (roads, pavements, bridges, tunnels, and other facilities), improper placement of road signs and signals, an increase of individual vehicles, and poor awareness are the major causes of congestion and accidents, he said.
"Wherever the road is built, people and businesses have the opportunity to live, park, and make money along the roadsides," he said.
Improving the awareness of people and the quality of Hanoi’s transportation system is considered the best way out, Hieu said.
“Nguyen Trai Road in Thanh Xuan District is a typical example. The road is fully renovated, but people's low awareness makes it a chaotic thoroughfare,” the expert said.
Hieu said authorities could not go on instructing forever but must apply strict punishments for infractions, adding that heavy penalties can deter people from breaking the rules.
Minh of the National Road Safety Committee said some studies suggest that traffic accidents cause a loss of 2-3% of the country's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said those road accidents could hamper the country’s socio-economic growth if they are not controlled.
"Vietnam is witnessing a rapid increase in individual vehicles, and now, an average of 67% of the total population owns motorcycles," he said.
“It is noteworthy that the increase of individual vehicles may lead to the rise in road accidents,” he said.
“Each solution, if proved effective, will boost socio-economic benefits for people and propel the country’s growth,” he said.