Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The national committee on balanced urban and rural development and congestion and traffic issues, chaired by Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene, held its first meeting.
At the meeting, the committee’s secretary B.Odsuren presented the integrated program to solve congestion in Ulaanbaatar. He said, “In Ulaanbaatar, speed at capacity, which is 20-23 km/h in large cities around the world during peak hours, is 8 km/h. In other words, Ulaanbaatar has become one of the world’s most congested cities. It has become crucial to expand the road network, upgrade public transport, and make urban planning and legal changes,”
Roads in Ulaanbaatar have the capacity to carry 350 thousand vehicles. Expansion of the road network will allow the capacity to go to around 600 thousand. Many more underpasses are necessary for that, said the committee secretary. The number of public transport users has decreased from 60 percent to 40 percent in five years. It is estimated that 300 thousand vehicles will be imported over the next three years, which led the working group to conclude that traffic congestion cannot be reduced without a decrease in the number of vehicles. Officials also said the traffic issue cannot be solved without developing satellite cities in phases and easing congestion.
Following the working group’s report, Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene said, “The traffic problem has gone out of the hands of the Ministry of Road and Transport Development. There are around 500 thousand vehicles in Ulaanbaatar, which means the road network’s capacity has been exceeded by 150 thousand vehicles. The number of vehicles purchased per year is around 80-90 thousand,” instructing the working group to look into and report back on a number of matters including possibilities to partner with the private sector in public transport management, what solutions can be made to adopt a strategy for cycling and walking, and ways and possibilities to support traffic congestion initiatives as well as colleges and universities that decide to relocate out of the city and impose restrictions on the import of right-hand drive vehicles.