Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy head of the HCM City Chief Architect's Office, blamed urban planning for severe congestion in the city.
According to the city Department of Transport, they had tried various measures to ease congestion to no avail because of the rising number of personal vehicles. They had opened many routes and flyovers but can't cope with the sheer weight of traffic.
Pham Sanh from the University of Transportation said the city's transportation planning need to be updated with professional help. "We can hire foreign experts to do survey, analysis and forecasting. They can give us the most suitable models and routes," he said.
Congestion in District 8
He went on to say that it's unreasonable to blame the high number of private vehicles. The city doesn't know what causes congestion and their solutions have proved impractical so the problem remains unresolved.
In addition, because of the types and number of vehicles as well as the behaviour of drivers in Vietnam are different, the government shouldn't use the exact same models of other countries but use their experience to solve the problem in Vietnam, he said.
Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy head of the city’s Chief Architect's Office, said, HCM City's biggest problem was poor urban planning. Therefore congestion would only worsen if the number of personal cars increased.
Congestion on Hoang Hoa Tham flyover, Tan Binh District
"Most of the areas were built since French colonial period and expanded spontaneously with lots of alleyways and winding streets," he said.
However, Cuong said policies for cars must be researched carefully or else the city's economy might suffer. To resolve the problem, Cuong suggested building more flyovers at intersections. In the short-term, they should prioritise motorbike drivers then invest more into the infrastructure, urban planning and public transportation in the long-term.
Cuong criticised the idea of building high-rise apartment buildings before upgrading the infrastructure and said HCM City should be given more capital and it would boost the city and the whole country.
"Public investments are being spread thinly so big cities like HCM City and Hanoi don't have enough funding to upgrade the infrastructures despite increasing numbers of migrants from other provinces. People from other provinces going to the city to work also have transportation needs too." he said