By THE NATION
PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that relevant technology must be adopted to help control and manage traffic flow, especially during rush hour.
“The government can’t deny the responsibility of easing traffic problems,” Prayut, who also leads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said.
He was speaking during a visit to the Traffic Police Division’s integrated traffic control centre. He was accompanied by relevant Cabinet members.
During his visit, General Prayut said that from now on, all police stations in Bangkok would have to follow instructions from the traffic-control centre, in a move to ease traffic problems in the city as a whole.
He said technology could be adopted to get real-time traffic data for the city’s entire network of roads, rails and waterways.
He explained that up-to-date technology would provide better and more accurate traffic updates compared to just humans watching monitors.
He also suggested that help should be sought from university researchers about the use of technology in analysing traffic condition and easing traffic flow.
The PM said this effort to ease traffic congestion should yield a positive result within three months and has threatened to take disciplinary action against any police station found to have been negligent.
He said all related state agencies should work together closely and seriously, in a united manner, to help ease the traffic problem. He cited the Metropolitan Police, Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority, State Railway of Thailand |and Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, among others.
Prayut has also instructed national police chief, General Chaktip Chaijinda, to ensure that motorcades of his Cabinet members do not affect the already congested traffic. His instruction came after Bangkok commuters complained about frequent motorcades led by police motorcycles during rush hour.
As for the use of technology, government spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd explained yesterday that it was only a broad direction. It would be up to each relevant agency to decide which technology it should adopt as a solution to traffic issues, the spokesman added.
These agencies are allocated an annual budget, and they can earmark some of the funds for this purpose without having to make new proposals, Sansern said.
Also yesterday, the PM and his entourage rode the Skytrain from National Stadium station to Bang Wa, on the Thon Buri side of the city. Telling reporters that this was his first commuter-train ride in 10 years, the premier also took time to talk to some passengers, including foreign tourists.
At Bang Wa station, the PM was briefed by Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang and other Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) executives about the expanding network of “wheels, rails and boats” for commuters.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday instructed the Royal Thai Police and the BMA to work together in easing the city’s traffic woes, Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-General Kongcheep Tantrawanit said.
During his meeting with representatives from related agencies at Government House, General Prawit, who also serves as defence minister, mentioned the worsening traffic congestion caused by ongoing construction of mass transit projects along several major roads in Bangkok.