Working group to set up for UB traffic management

A Workshop on the topic ‘Traffic Management in European cities’ was co-organized by Integrated Urban Development Program which is financed by the Government of Germany and implemented by the Ministry of Roads, Transport, Construction and Urban Development, Ulaanbaatar City Government and GTZ. In this particular case, the UB Traffic Control Center was the organizing body. All organizations in relevance to Ulaanbaatar City’s road and transportation sector participated in the event.
Mr. Manfred Wacker, an expert of the Transportation Planning and Traffic Engineering Department at the University of Stuttgart assessed operations of UB Traffic Control Center of Ulaanbaatar during his one-week stay in Ulaanbaatar. His assessment indicated that thanks to establishment of UB Traffic Control Center, traffic congestion has decreased respectively and average driving speed increased as compared with the same period of previous year.
“There is a formula that improved techniques and technology improve the traffic situation by 30 percent. For this reason, it is ineffective to spend money on technique and technology only. It is vital to conduct right management and introduce service oriented public transport. It should be assessed whether Ulaanbaatar has sufficient road capacity in relation to existing traffic. Current traffic jams will be reduced once parking management is developed and private parking is established. Moreover, it will be effective if a Working Group comprising representatives from related organizations is set up and works as an integrated team,” Mr. Manfred Wacker accentuated in his recommendation.
Ulaanbaatar City’s Manager Ch. Bat who attended the workshop said, “Mr. Manfred Wacker gave us valuable advice that made us comprehend much although he made an assessment on UB’s traffic situation in a very short period. Traffic issues are so wideranging and it is not so easy to solve the problems after one discussion. There is an idiom “it is better to see once than hear a hundred times”. In view of that, we have a request for GTZ to let our relevant specialists get familiar with the place. Traffic Control Center is not belonging to traffic police only. All organizations concerned about roads need to communicate and cooperate actively for a new work.”
“During today’s event, we have shared European best traffic practices and their achievements. Also we aimed at discussing what ways are there to improve traffic movement,issuing first recommendations and giving an assessment through the eye of a foreigner. All organizations responsible for Ulaanbaatar’s streets have participated in this event and made an initial step to focus on this issue and discuss it. Traffic issues definitely come up while discussing about comprehensive municipal development. It is satisfying that UB City Manager Ch. Bat accepted and encouraged a proposal of a German expert on setting up a Working Group responsible for traffic management in Ulaanbaatar. We will take part as advisors at professional level to support the Working Group and invite specialists for short term,” said Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, head of GTZ’s Integrated Urban Development Program.  

Mr. Manfred Wacker, an expert of Transportation Planning and  Traffic Engineering Department at the University of Stuttgart: It is difficult to carry out traffic management when urban planning goes wrong.
-German cities are well-known in the world with their traffic management. What should we do as you noticed?
-There are obstacles which might constrain the work of the Traffic Control Center. The Center’s activities have just starting while urban construction has been running intensively in recent years. It is difficult to coordinate it in the city that has already built its image. Traffic management is problematic to be carried out when urban planning goes wrong. An establishment of a new center to regulate traffic has been the right measure. I noticed that current Ulaanbaatar has much traffic load. The most important thing is that all participants in traffic movement such as drivers, pedestrians, public transportation and traffic coordinators collaborate to solve this predicament.
I am so delighted that my ideas have been instantly accepted and initiatives have been raised to take action. Citizens of the country themselves need to deliberate about it and find solutions in accord with features of the country. It is impossible to resolve traffic problems straight away. It is essential to spend time on it and enduringly work with definite objectives and guideline. 


L. Battsooj, Head of UB Traffic Control Center: Traffic management is not only a task of the traffic police and the control center.
-How do you evaluate today’s workshop? Could you get information and achieve goals?
-As we are implementing this system for the first time, we lack of experience. Thus, we require experiences sharing with developed countries getting advices from specialists. When we met with the staff of GTZ and put our request forward, they made a decision promptly and invited a specialist. The activities of the UB Traffic Control Center were introduced to the specialist. We heard about practices in European cities. It is not just a work for the traffic police and the control center. Responsible bodies for transportation and roads should collaborate, exchange views and issue resolutions. Representatives from all organizations who participated in the workshop might have grasped the mission. Therefore, I believe that the workshop has achieved its goal and has been fruitful.
-It is said that traffic speed in Ulaanbaatar increased and traffic congestion declined against 2009 as a result of founding Traffic Control Center. How real is it?
-Coordination of traffic movement improved. The control center directly instructs the traffic staff on duty, organizes traffic management fast and manages accidents and congestions within short term. It is a proof of improvement. Thanks to it, capacity of road network upgraded and driving speed of automobiles increased by definite level. Both pedestrians and drivers can enjoy or destroy its fruitfulness. For this reason, participants of traffic management need to follow traffic rules. It is very important for a civil society. We intend to educate people respectively. We are going to place traffic regulation boards and sign posts.
-Modernization of public transportation such as many types of buses and metro was touched upon during the workshop. Which is most appropriate for our country?
-I cannot tell which one of them is suitable. It will be clear as a result of comprehensive research works. Citizens prefer having private automobiles due to backwardness of public transportation. If public transportation means are clean, comfortable, safe, fast and capable, citizens do not need to ride their cars to
go to work. The public transportation system has to be modernized.

source: 'The Mongol Messenger' newspaper
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