ප්‍රවහන ක්ෂේත්‍රයේ ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණ (Transport Reforms)

Transportation Reforms

 

Abstract

This document discusses about how the overall transport and its infrastructure are reformed with the objective of making transport more greener for the country, and more comfortable and more cost-effective for the people. Railway is to become the main transport system in the country, followed by walking and riding. A new life style of “Walking and Riding” is to be infused into the culture. The whole transport system is to be electrified altogether, reducing the dependency to an utmost minimum level on fuel energy. These proposals are based on the proposed new Constitution, and are aligned with the other reforms proposed on other areas as well. Accessibility facilities provided for the differently-abled is a major concern.

 

Proposals

 

     1.       The main transport method must be the railway system. The second transport method must be riding foot cycles and walking. The subsequent methods must be in order of precedence, private vehicle transport, transport by public buses and ferries, and the last taxi service.

 

     2.       There must be a comprehensive legally enforceable code of guideline and specifications on accessibility facilities to be strictly adhered by all State entities and private institutions providing public services.

Therefore, the whole transport system must be so designed and constructed giving prominence to such guidelines and specifications. For example, entry and exit to and of trains, buses, taxis; pavements on either sides of roads; platforms in railway stations and bus stations; and other incidental facilities like electronic and manual payment methods, signs/notifications/announcements must be all carefully designed in line with such guidelines and specifications.

Actually, most accessibility facilities are also as helpful for normal persons.

Some important accessibility features are discussed below.

 a.       The foot board level of entry/exit of trains and buses must level flush with the platform, and the gap between them must be less than 1 cm for trains and less than 45 cm for buses. Wear-resistant rubber buffers should be used.

b.      All trains and buses must close their entry/exit doors completely while in movement. 3 seconds before opening the door at a bus/railway station and 15 seconds before closing the door at a station, a notification sound (just like a phone ring tone) of 3 seconds long must be played at each door. This notification sound must be composed by the government to be the same sound that must be only used for that purpose. This notification sound should be called the “accessibility door tone”.

c.       At least 10% of seat capacity in trains and buses must be reserved for differently-abled persons. This is in addition to the seats reserved for pregnant women and clergy.

All such seats must be near the entry/exit doors.

All such seats must be in red color, and must be marked in all three national languages (like “Reserved for differently-abled”).

d.      Each bus stop and train stop must have a distinct name (like “Dematagoda”, or “Punchi Borella”), and at each such stop just before the accessibility door tone, the name of such stop place must be audibly played inside the bus or each car of the train. In addition, there must be an LED display board at the front inside of the bus, and at the front inside of each car of a train which must show the name as well.

All such audios must be clearly composed by the government to be freely used by all interested parties. And the LED display must use white color LED’s with high contrast and resolution not less than a minimum amount all set by the accessibility specification.

e.      Every facility of Drinking water and Public toilet within transport system (ie, in railway stations) must be shown with a clearly visible display (electronic or a normal lighted painted board), and a low volume distinct audio notification must be played for 5 seconds once every 15 seconds.

f.        All pavements/platforms must be level and if there are staircases, there must be ramps alongside too. Or else, we should build ramps only.

There must not be abrupt vertical level shifts along the pavements/platforms, and such level shifts, if impossible to get rid of, must be tapered off at an angle not more than 15 degrees.

There must not be dangling pavement blocks/covers and any breaks or gaps.

g.       It shall be the duty and responsibility of the officer-in-charge of such railway or bus station or other such facility to maintain such infrastructure as per the specifications and guidelines. He shall repair such faults within 24 hours of first sight or being informed of such faults.

There must be an open easy electronic/computerized method for the public to inform/complain about such faults, and such information must immediately be notified to the officer-in-charge and other national level authority. Thereby, the OIC must repair it within the given time frame and clear the entry in the system of the national level authority. Non-performance or lying by OIC must be penalized.

      3.       There must be a well-spread railway web throughout the country. Each Locality in the vicinity of its center must have a railway station. Thereby, all the areas in Sri Lanka will be covered by railways.

     4.       The railways stations must be categorized as follows. All the railway stations must be enclosed, and must be structurally built with modern architecture and technology.

a.       “Grade A” Railway station – there must a grade A railway station in each of five Provinces. Each Province must have a city, and this railway station must be situated in that city. Therefore, the whole country will have 5 such railway stations.

b.      “Grade B” Railway station – there must be grade B railway station in each Locality. Because there are 80 such Localities in the country, and 5 Grade A stations are already situated in 5 Localities, there will have 75 such stations in the county.

c.       “Grade C” Railway station – these are situated along the railway lines between two Localities (or in other words, between two Grade B/A stations). One grade C station must be constructed for each 4 km span of railway.

     5.       All railway stations must have the following public service facilities.

a.       Free foot cycle parking lot with ample space. There should be a parking lot for other kinds of vehicles at a reasonable cost. All parking lots must be under CCTV surveillance.

b.      Warehouse storage with CCTV surveillance and effective management.

c.       Free public toilets which must be maintained with high sanitary conditions and in good conditions.

Janitors must be employed at each station such that one janitor is employed for a Grade C station, two janitors for Grade B and three janitors for Grade A stations.

If a janitor at a certain Grade C station is absent, one of the several janitors of Grade B or A station, as the case may be, in the Locality must be acting on such station too (they can be given free transport between stations throughout the day).

All the janitors must be in clean neat and pleasing uniforms.

d.      Free drinking water facility with foot operation.

e.      CCTV surveillance must be there, and CCTV systems must also be connected to the national CCTV surveillance system for national level law enforcement agencies can monitor too.

f.        All train schedules (arrival and departure times) of that station must be displayed on big displays in all three national languages. The number of displays must be determined based on the number of and how big the platforms are.

     6.       In addition to above basic facilities, Grade B and A stations must have following additional facilities.

a.       ATM machine – all the banks in Sri Lanka must use one computerized ATM network and all the banks collectively install one such ATM at such stations. Each such ATM facility must be accompanied with a security guard at the cost of such banks (collectively).

b.      An outlet of Government Publication Bureau where you can buy any official government publication including acts of Parliament, gazettes, Bills of Parliament, etc.

c.       A franchised 24-hour open pharmacy.

d.      A franchised 24-hour open cafeteria with ample space for dining. It must have an array of many vending machines to dispense cool water, hot water, cool drinks, tea, coffee, chocolates, ice creams, etc. Payments must be done through the charge card (discussed later), or cash.

e.      A public rest room.

f.        A modern bathroom with toiletries at a fee. Such fee must be charged on the usage (for example, Rs. 30 for each 5 minute).

g.       A franchised bookshop, with printing and scanning facilities as well.

h.      A franchised Sathosa outlet. There must be a mechanism implemented by the Sathosa in consultation with the Local authorities to buy local fresh agricultural produce to sell on such outlets.

i.         A newspaper and magazine stand.

     7.       Each station must be under the supervision and administration of a Station Master. He must have a sufficient staff of his deputies, security guards, ticket officers, CCTV operators, warehouse workers, electricians, janitors, etc.

 

     8.       Ticket issuing must be fully electronic and automated. The ticket fee structure and the mechanism to buy a ticket must be simple, and must be implemented as follows.

a.       There must be only 4 fee levels.

(i) The next Grade B station – this means you get down at any station up to the next Grade B station. This next station may be the adjacent Grade A station too (“Next1”).

(ii) Up to next 3 Grade B (including A) stations. (“Next3”).

(iii) Up to next 5 Grade B (including A) stations. (“Next5”).

(iv) Any farther station in the country. (“Any”).

b.      A routine train commuter must obtain a NFC-enabled charge card in the shape and size of a credit card.

Such charge card must be obtained at your earliest convenience from any Grade A or B station by paying with your debit/credit card; or by ordering online with your debit/credit card or by direct debiting of your bank account, from your phone or computer at home to be later collected at a Grade A or B station of your choice. It can also be bought at central bus stands throughout the country.

The same plastic card can be reloaded with your credit/debit card or by direct debiting from your bank account.

Each time it is reloaded or charged a fee on it, an SMS must come to your mobile phone.

c.       Each ticketing machine must have big 4 lighted keys with labels of “Next1”, “Next2”, “Next3”, and “Any”, where you have to press once the relevant key of your choice.

Then you have to enter the number of tickets wanted by using the big keypad, and the number you enter will be shown in the display on the machine. If you only need one ticket, then you don’t have to enter a number here.

Then, you must hold your NFC-enabled charge card to the machine to debit the fee, and a thin (a bus-ticket-like) recycled paper ticket will be ejected. If several persons are involved in the journey, such ticket must mention the number of travelers too. Just one ticket for all.

Such ticket must be valid 24 hours from its issued time only.

Such ticket must only include a random barcode with its long number only. When such ticket is issued, a record with the boarding station, the issue time, the fee level of such ticket, and the number of travelers must be entered in an online database automatically by the ticketing machine.

A ticket checking machine used by ticket inspectors can scan that barcode and queries such database to verify the ticket. If the barcode cannot be readable, the checker can manually input the long number of the barcode too. This way nobody can forge fake tickets.

d.      Each person in the country must be encouraged to buy a charge card whether nor not is he a routine train commuter. Anyway, if someone does not already have such card, or if it does not have enough credit, then you may get a manual ticket from the manual ticket counter at the station. Such manual ticket must be charged a surcharge of at least 25% of the normal fee.

e.      Depending on the historical data, the number of such ticket machines must be decided for each station. However, as a minimum requirement, there must be not less than 2 such machines at a Grade C station, not less than 4 such machines at a Grade B station, and not less than 7 such machines at a Grade A station.

f.        A differently-abled person must not be charged any fee for train commuting. However, he must have a special charge card from the Station, and the Station Master must verify his disability first, and get the special but prompt authorization from the central railway authority.

g.       Routine train commuters may obtain a season for the whole month, so they don’t have to deal with the daily hassle of obtaining tickets.

The same charge card will be converted to a season by the railway station. A ticket checking machine must be NFC-enabled too, and such machine can verify your season.

However, still you have to “mark” your entry at the ticketing machine before entering the railway station by bringing your card closer to it. That’s it.

h.      Regular random ticket checking must be done, and if a commuter is found not having a valid ticket, he must be fined.

Such fine must be 5 times the “Any” fee (the highest train fee) that must be payable to the ticket checker officer on the spot via the commuter’s debit card or charge card.

If the commuter is unable to pay so, the commuter’s identification information must be recorded in a database through the officer’s ticket checking machine itself by the ticket checker officer and the guilty commuter must be held responsible to pay the fine within 3 days at any station.

If he is not paying within the stipulated time period, he must be legally dealt with, and legal prosecutions may begin as the case may be.

i.         Charging higher fees for foreigners must be stopped.

 

     9.       The railway infrastructure web must be constructed as follows.

(a)    Each Grade A or B station must be connected to it by all Grade B stations in the bordering Localities.

(b)   For each 4km span along such a railway connection between two Grade A/B stations, there must be one Grade C station.

If the span is less than 4km, then there will be no Grade C station. If the span is greater than 4km and less than 8km, then a Grade C station must be situated right in the middle of such span.

(c)    The long chain of railway from Fort (Colombo) to Hambanthota, and from Fort to Kandy, and from Kandy to Jaffna must consist of two parallel railway tracks. They are special.

All the other railways must consist of just one track.

(d)   However, each Grade C station must have not less than two parallel local tracks, and Grade B station must have not less than 3 parallel local tracks, and Grade A station must have not less than 5 parallel local tracks.

This allows virtual simultaneous dual way train journeys up and down, with proper timing and planning.

     10.   All trains must be modern electric bullet trains. No fuel-based trains will be used thereafter.

 

     11.   The railway lines must be so constructed that high speed trains could cruise.

Speed limits must be determined and set for each type of journey. Trains must be driven at pre-set speeds only (within a very small tolerance). The engine driver must not be given the discretion to select the speed. To achieve this type of constrained cruise, important physical factors must be highly controlled of course.

 

     12.   There must be express trains, but each such train must stop at all Grade B and Grade A stations along its path. All the other normal train journeys must stop at every station.

 

     13.   There must be two platforms at either side of the train. Commuters must be allowed to get in from one platform (“Entry platform”), and the commuters inside the train must get down on the other platform (“Exit platform”). Thereby, train wait time at stations can be controlled effectively.

 

     14.   Train arrival and departure times must be strictly followed! If a train had to wait at a station a bit longer time than was scheduled, such delay should be compensated by speeding up the train (within the tolerance).

 

     15.   The number of trains and the number of cars of a train must be decided such that there must be no stuffing. No person shall be allowed to be on footboard because all doors must be closed during the journey.

 

     16.   Inside of the train cars must be air-conditioned and well-lit. No shutter must be allowed to open.

 

     17.   There must be at least one toilet for three cars of train. Water supply must be available in toilets. Such toilet must be maintained sanitarily by train crew janitor. There must be onboard janitor for such duty.

 

     18.   Railways and suspension system in trains must be so well constructed that there must not be swinging movements or jerk inside trains. The cruise control of trains must be well controlled that no fictitious forces (centrifugal or coriolis forces) must be experienced by commuters.

 

     19.   No begging or peddling (“kadala wadey”) must be allowed in trains (and buses too).

 

     20.   A person must be able to travel from any station to any other station in the country by not more than two transit trains, and the waiting time at any station for such journey must be not more than 30 minutes in the day time (from 5AM to 11PM), and one hour in the night (from 11PM to 5AM).

To calculate and determine the train schedules to meet the above requirements using the complex railway web, a complex computer algorithm has to be developed by experts and used.

 

     21.   Land strip of either side of all railway tracks must be fully owned and maintained by the railway authority itself. The width of such land strip must be at least 10m. No houses or other non-railway constructions must be allowed in such land strips. A 4 foot tall metal mesh wall must be erected at the outer border of such land along the railway track too.

 

     22.   Above the railway tracks (say, 5m above the ground level), it is recommended to lay solar panels to produce solar energy. It is further recommended to use high efficient and transparent solar panels in an arch fashion.

 

Such solar panel generation must be carried out as a 50:50 partnership between the railway authority and the electricity authority.

 

A lot of wasted space thus can by optimally used for national interest and greener environment. Even the roofs of railway stations must be fixed with solar panels.

     23.   There must not be any crossing of roads across railway tracks. All railway tracks must be laid in flyovers over any kind of road; not the other way round.

     24.   Trains not only allow individuals to board on the train, but also must allow individuals with their riding foot cycles to board on. There must be special train cars with such facility.

This way, a person for example, may ride his bicycle from home to the nearest railway station, get in the train with his bicycle, get off the train at the station of his choice, and again ride from that station to his destination – be it his office or university or any other place.

     25.   The National Railway Department must be established as the railway authority. It must have all the powers, duties, and responsibilities to administer the whole railway transport system in the country.

This department must start building trains, rail tracks and other train-related things too. Required expertise, training, equipment, and factories must be provided for and commissioned by the government.

 

     26.   The railway service must be considered special. Therefore, grievances and fair requests of such service must be considered and solved by the government giving them the top priority.

At the same time, trade union actions of such service must be subjected to more responsible conduct. It must be compulsory not to allow them without prior notice, to strike or work in any way such that the routine railway commute would be affected. If they are planning such protest or striker or some other trade union action, they must inform the public at least three days earlier about specific actions they are going to do.

 

     27.   Train transport must be promoted to be the main transportation of agricultural produce inside the country. Special trains should be employed for such purpose. Transport fee must be kept very low as much as possible or should be subsidized by the government.

 

     28.   All railway tracks must be built on a raised foundation of ground so that no flooding will affect railways.

 

     29.   All trains must be equipped with GPS + Galileo GNSS system for real-time tracking. In addition, cellular technology based location service must be used as a backup tracking method. In addition, sensor-based tracking system which is not as accurate as above methods must be employed by the railway authority itself if any of above external tracking services did not work due to any possible reason.

Actually high speed train collisions are so fatal, and it shall be the utmost duty of the Central Control Room to monitor, track, and be vigilant on train journeys.

 

     30.   The railway website must include all the information conforming to the standards and guidelines of RTI.

Furthermore, the website must include two interactive features.

(a)    It must have a map to show the directions to the nearest railway station from the location of a particular person’s position at the moment.

(b)   It must have a real-time journey scheduler where a person can enter the stations of departure and arrival and the date and the preferred time band of the arrival, and website must show all the possible train schedules relevant to him. He must also be shown the total cost of journey if he chooses a particular itinerary.

     31.   Each Grade A or B station must be covered by one or several picocells (a range of 100m or so) in terms of cellular technology, and mobile operators must be forced to install such base stations with both voice and high speed (at least 4G) connectivity.


Thereby, public wifi connectivity may not be necessary anymore because mobile data connectivity can be seamlessly used by commuters.

     32.   There must be a 3-digit phone number (as also proposed in the e-Gov reforms) to inquire in any national language anything related to railway service which must be operated by the railway authority.

     33.   The road system in the country must be capable of productively meeting the access and mobility needs of the people. The traffic jams and congestion of roads can be, in the first instance, decreased by taking some radical policy decision as suggested below.

(a)    By implementing the electronic government system (please read the e-Gov proposals submitted before), whereby not only government officers but also the persons who are being served by the government bodies do not have to come to Colombo or the city to do or get most government services.

(b)   By implementing the school education reforms (please read the school education reform proposals submitted before), whereby students do not come to street all at once; and students would go to the nearest school too; and banning of tuition classes would help too.

(c)    By popularizing the train transport, and making it the main method of transport of people and goods. On the other, there will be no traffic congestion due to railway crossing because there will be no railway crossing anymore.

(d)   By promoting walking and cycling in the country for short distances.

(e)   By introducing flexible work time schedules for workers in both private and state sectors.

     34.   The whole road system in the country must be categorized as Grades A, B, C, D, and X (for express roads). Roads of Grades X and A come under the central government while other grades come under local governments. However, the central government must formulate guidelines and specifications related to road and bridge constructions to which all constructions must conform to.

 

     35.   There must be several express roads as described in the following list.

(a)    Colombo-Hambanthota express way

(b)   Colombo-Maha Nuwara express way

(c)    Colombo-Katunayaka express way

(d)   Maha Nuwara – Jaffna express way

(e)   Colombo – Rathnapura express way

(f)     Outer Colombo Circular express way to interconnect all major roads including the other express ways terminating in Colombo.

Access to such express ways may be subjected to reasonable tolls.

The quality of such roads must be suitable for a driving speed of 150km per hour. And the upper limit on such roads must be 130kmph.

All such roads must be constructed so that they will never be flooded even under severe possible flood conditions.

All such roads must be guarded in both sides by a metal mesh wall. Such road must be completely closed for animal to enter in.

Each road must consist of 6 lanes (3 lanes for either direction). The road is permanently partitioned with metal fences in the middle into two directions.

At regular intervals (say, 10km), there must be a bay area along the left side to temporarily park a vehicle for some urgent need. Such area must be large enough to park up to three vehicles at a time.

At even larger regular intervals (say, 50km), there must be a 24 hour operative refreshment area where you can divert the vehicle from the express way and get some refreshment (rest, food, drinks, use of toilets, etc).

There must be a land strip on both sides of an express road of width of around 3 meters, and there shall not be any tree or other construction on such lands. Thus it is a depletion region. Any tree outside this depletion region must not be either more than 2 meters high or if the tree is higher than 2m, then the distance to that tree from the outer border of the depletion region must be equal to the height of the tree.

     36.   Toll collection at express ways must be mostly automated in the following manner.

(a)    When a vehicle is just entered on to an express way, vehicle number must be automatically read by the CCTV camera (which is described later) and recorded. Vehicle does not have to stop at any toll office at this moment.

(b)   When that vehicle is about to exit at an exit point, again the vehicle number is automatically read by the CCTV camera at the exit, and the fee is automatically calculated.

(c)    The driver of such vehicle can pay the fee with his charge card which was described earlier. It happens like this. The vehicle approaches the ATM-like toll machine, and the display of that machine will show your vehicle number automatically with the help of camera system. You must assure if it is really your vehicle, and then bring your NFC-enabled charge card to it. The machine will deduct the fee and you will receive an SMS too.

If your charge card does not work due to some fault, or not having enough funds on it, or if you really don’t have such card, then you can manually pay to that toll machine with your debit/credit card by swiping.

If you even don’t have a debit/credit card to pay, you must advance to the manual toll office ahead and you can pay the fee by cash to the officer there. If you pay by cash, a surcharge of 25% must be paid.
 

     37.   Access to and use of all other roads must be toll-free.

 

     38.   There must be a well-planned network of Grade A roads. The purpose of such roads must be to interconnect all parts of the country for mobility with speedy commute. Some of such roads must be Colombo-Galla Road, Colombo-Maha Nuwara road, Colombo-Puttalama road, Colombo-Rathnapura road, Galla-Hambanthota road, Maha Nuwara-Anuradhapura road, Maha Nuwara-Nuwara Eliya road, Maha Nuwara-Galla road, Maha Nuwara-Madakalapuwa road, Anuradhapura-Yapanaya road, Anuradhapura-Trikunamalaya road, Trikunamalaya-Ampara road, Yapanaya-Trikunamalaya road, Gampaha-Rathnapura road, Kaluthara-Maha Nuwara road, Hambanthota-Ampara road, Hambanthota-Maha Nuwara road.

 

     39.   Each Grade A road must have the following features.

(a)    Permanent 4 lanes (2 lanes for each direction).

(b)   Additional lanes in city limits may be constructed.

(c)    The maximum speed limit should be 80kmph on the high speed lane (lane intended to go straight), and 60kmph on low speed lane (lane intended for turning).

(d)   No Grade A road must be crossed with any other road of any Grade. Therefore Grade A road must be constructed in such a way there are no direct crossings with other roads.

To achieve this level of sophistication, at intersections, some lanes of roads must be constructed under the ground and some lanes as flyovers. In addition, side-roads as explained in item (e) of this section help too.

(e)   The two directions are permanently partitioned with metal fences (not allowing any U turn). No pedestrian crossings directly on the road are allowed.

(f)     Either side of a Grade A road must have two Grade D roads too. Let us call these special roads “Side-roads”. Essentially this will form something like a 6-lane huge road.

With this arrangement, there will not be any vehicle diversion from a house or some other place or a street directly into a Grade A road (that is, no gates opening to such road). All such diverted vehicles first enter into the side-road (of Grade D). This happens in either side.

The Grade A road (main road) and such side road (on either side) must be again partitioned with permanent metal fences. However, at an interval of 1km each, the side road must have an opening with the Grade A road (ie, the side road and the main road interconnect at regular intervals).

Such “opening” also must have a kind of bay area of a few meters long where traffic from the side road to the main road (Grade A road), or traffic from the main road to the side road can easily merge with the traffic of the other road.

(g)    Side roads must be one-way only for all vehicles except for foot cycles and tricycles used by the differently-enabled.

(h)   A side road has one lane. The speed limit on side road for any vehicle is not more than 20kmph.

The side road gives the priority for cyclists and tricycles of the differently-disabled.

(i)      To the left of the side road must be a permanent raised pavement.

(j)     Along the main road, a few meters earlier to the “opening” (interconnection of main road and side road), a bus stand must be built in a bay area. The bay area must be large enough to accommodate a full length bus to stop there without any protrusion of it on the left lane of the main road. Thus, there will be bus stands 1km apart along a Grade A road.

No other vehicle shall be parked here in this bay area except a public transport bus in service.

There must be a flyover pedestrian crossing a few meters earlier this bay area. Thus there will be pedestrian crossing for each span of 1km. These crossings will not halt traffic on the road and thus will not cause traffic congestion, and there will not be any road accidents on pedestrians. The flyover must include ramps instead of stair cases so both normal and differently-enabled persons use without hassle.

(k)    Because there are no usual U turns on Grade A roads, if a vehicle going in one direction wants to turn on to the other direction, such “u-turn” access must be provided at each span of 2km. This access must be provided in the vicinity of an “opening”. Such u-turn access has to be provided by an underground or a flyover lane of course.

     40.   Each Grade B road must have the following features.

(a)    Permanent three lanes without hard partitioning in the middle between the two directions.

(b)   The maximum speed must be 60kmph.

(c)    Additional lanes may be constructed within city limits.

(d)   Two (Grade D) side roads on either side of the road with the same details as above.

(e)   The details of the opening, pedestrian crossing, pavement, and bus stand are as the same as in the case of Grade A roads.

     41.   No foot cycles and tricycles are allowed on lanes of roads of Grade A and B.

     42.   Each Grade C road must have the following features.

(a)    Permanent three lanes. Two lanes are intended for normal traffic without a middle hard partition. The maximum speed must be 40kmph for such lanes.

(b)   The third lane to one side (left or right, as the case may be) must be dedicated for bicycle riders and tricycles of the differently-enabled. Let us call this lane the “cyclist lane”.

There must be a hard partition between the cyclist lane and the other section of the road. However, there must be an opening between the two sections at each interval of 50 meters.

Only foot cycles and tricycles of the differently-abled must be allowed on the cyclist lane, and other vehicles traveling on the cyclist lane must be severely penalized.

However, other vehicles that inevitably have to cross the cyclist lane may travel along the cyclist lane until the very next opening (at most 50 meters) where the driver has to divert the vehicle. The maximum speed of such vehicle on the cyclist lane must be 10kmph.

(c)    To the outer edge of this cyclist lane must be the raised pavement. This road should have only one pavement on one side (on cyclist lane’s side).

(d)   Additional lanes may be constructed as and when needed.

(e)   Must not have a blind end.

(f)     Pedestrian crossings are on the road.

     43.   No vehicle not intending to divert to a nearby premise or a lane must be allowed to run on side roads. Violation of this must be penalized.

     44.   Grade D roads must be just access roads to premises and lands. The minimum requirement is that the width of such road must be not less than 10 feet (on existing roads), but not less than 15 feet for new roads to be constructed after these reforms have been effected.

The side roads of Grade A and B roads are actually special Grade D roads. Those side roads must have a width not less than a full and half width of one Grade B lane.

     45.   The width of pavement along any type of road must be not less than 5 feet in general, and not less than 10 feet within a city limit.

The pavement must be raised not more than 4 inches and not less than 2 inches above the normal ground level.

There must not have any structure, post, or erection on the pavement (like light posts, telecom distribution panels, etc).

No vehicle must be parked on a pavement at any time.

Pavement must be non-slippery under wet or rainy conditions.

There must not be any abrupt dips or bumps along the pavement. There shall not be any pits or dangling pavement covers/slabs on the pavement. It must be solid and level. It must not be tapered to any direction to make it level with an adjacent land. Tapering of pavement for allowed cases must be not more than 15 degrees.

     46.   All bus stands must be well-sheltered and must be strongly built. It is recommended to build them in a futuristic style/architecture with clear polymers. All bus stands must be artificially well-lit in dark.

Each bus stand must be so built to comply with the accessibility requirements.

Each bus stand must be fixed with a sign board having the name of place in all national languages, and must have a big button at a specific location so a visually impaired person can press as if by second nature to hear the name of the place.

     47.   After railway and “riding and walking”, use of private vehicles must be encouraged as the preferred mode of transport. All personal vehicles must be electric - no fuel-based nor hybrid.

Manufacture of electric vehicles in the country must be encouraged.

 

     48.   At least one vehicle charging station must be commissioned at every 10km along a Grade A or B road in general, and 6km in city limits. All charging stations must work 24 hours (maybe understaffed in the night shift).

Vehicle charging must be encouraged to be done at homes. Therefore, there will not be a need to have as many charging stations as there are fuel filling stations now.


There must be one fuel station for each 25km along a Grade A or B road on 24 hour service.

At every charging or filling station, they must provide free toilet facilities, and it is their responsibility to keep toilets sanitary and in order.

     49.   Just beneath the pavement, there must be a deep rectangular tunnel with three separate vertical compartments to lay water lines, underground electricity cables, and fiber optic communication cables separately. At regular distances, there must be big enough man-holes (laterally accessible to the tunnel compartments) for service people to repair and maintain the systems.

It is recommended to use single mode fiber optic than copper wire in telecommunication (Fiber-to-home) throughout the country (it is intended to be another reform in communication sector in the country).

It is recommended to use underground armored electricity cables instead of overhung wires to supply electricity to premises and distribute electricity in the national grid (it is intended to be another reform in electricity sector in the country) – no more “light kanu”.

     50.   There must be big enough paved gutters on both sides of a road of Grade E, A, B, or C. However, only one gutter may be there for roads of Grade D. The rain water on the road surface must be leveled off to such gutter just beneath the pavement.

 

     51.   All the Grade E, A, and B roads must be monitored with CCTV surveillance systems.

A CCTV system overhung (say 7 meters above the road) at one point along the road must be able to scan, identify, and record every number plate of a vehicle passing underneath it and be able to clearly capture the image of the driver of such vehicle. All the lanes of the road including the side roads must be monitored.

Under dim light, such system must use infra-red flood lights to illuminate the vehicle and capture the same details. The system must automatically switch between the normal natural light mode and IR mode depending on the sensed light condition.

This CCTV system must employ sophisticated computer algorithms and Artificial Intelligence to identify vehicle numbers precisely, identify illegal driver positions or behaviors (like holding a cell phone while driving) and to flag such video clips and notify such to the system operator to take further actions (like imposing fines or instructing the police to immediately follow and pull over such vehicles on the road).

Based on the calculations of captured images of vehicles, the system can automatically calculate the average speed of vehicles, and can easily find instances of speeding too. If several vehicles have used the same number plates anywhere on road in the country, such instances also can be easily and instantly found out. This way road discipline can be improved, some crimes can be curbed, and a lot of police personnel man-hours can be saved.

On Grade E, A, and B roads, at each 5km distance, such a CCTV system must be set up.

In addition, there must be a CCTV system at each intersection of a road of Grade A, B, or C with another road of Grade A or B.

Due to constant surveillance on the road, children on riding bicycles (riding to schools or riding for fun) will have greater protection too.

     52.    The central or local governments must not operate any public bus service. It must be completely a private business.

Therefore, Sri Lanka Transport Board must be abolished, and the government must integrate some employees of SLTB into railway service and other government services and some may be voluntarily retired with compensation.

     53.   All the private buses and the bus service must satisfy some guidelines and specification as to their conditions and the quality of service.

 

     54.   Bus tickets may be purchased in the same manner as a train ticket was purchased.

Actually, the same charge card must be used for payment for bus tickets and train tickets.

Moreover, the same charge card may be used to pay for any public utility within the country including train tickets, bus tickets, express way toll fee, taxi fee, or any such one-time payment like payment to a vending machine, for that matter (no recurrent payments). Therefore, the person can reload his charge card, and then he can pay with it at any NFC machine.

If a person does not have such a charge card, he may pay by cash. As usual, there must be a surcharge of 25% on such cash payments.

     55.   People must be encouraged to walk or ride a foot cycle for short distance commute. It has health benefits, financial benefits, and environmental benefits.

Walking and Riding must be made a valuable aspect of life style.

Creative dramas and other covert techniques can be used by the government to induce a posh trend of walking and riding in the society.

School children from at least post-primary level (as per the proposed school education reforms) must be encouraged to come to school by walking or riding. For this to become a reality, the road system and security of children on road must be enhanced. With the reforms described in this document, the confidence in parents can be increased.

It must be made compulsory to wear safety gears like helmets and gloves at least for school children. Tail-end reflective lights and reflective sticker strips on specific parts of the bike must be made mandatory.

The government must incentivize to manufacture foot cycles and spare parts in Sri Lanka. It is highly recommended that the government should subsidize for the purchase of first foot cycle by a school child.

Actually having big beautiful uncluttered and safe pavements will attract people to walk along. A kind of culture must be formed where for example, a hobbyist violinist or flutist may play a beautiful piece of music (mostly for fun) on the payment and people around him may pause there to enjoy it. Or a group of persons (maybe school children) may flock together and walk along a pavement talking about some school subject or such other matter. Or people in the morning or evening may jog on pavements (no need to have separate jogging tracks). Or a group of street dramatists may perform a brief street drama. Or a street magician may perform some magic tricks.

     56.   Waterways and canals must be beautifully maintained and ferry services may be introduced for transporting both goods and people. This will also increase tourist attraction. Not only for real transport, will this be, for a lot of people, a leisure activity as well.

The boats and ferries must be thoroughly and regularly checked for safety.

     57.   Three-wheeler must be completely banned. No three-wheeler must be allowed on road. Instead a taxi service by cars must be started. Each taxi must be a metered service, and there must be uniformity in charge/fee throughout the country. Each taxi must be yellow (or some other color), with a lighted sign board with “TAXI” on top. Taxi driver must wear a uniform shirt.

With these reforms, the taxi service may not be that much popular anyway. Therefore, the current three-wheeler taxi service will face a natural death. The government must implement some skill development programs for current three-wheeler drivers and divert them to other types of industries including agriculture. Some load of three-wheelers may be re-exported, and some may be re-cycled, and some may be scrapped.

     58.   Smoking and alcohol drinking at or in any place in the public transport system must be absolutely banned and must be penalized.

     59.   The CCTV cameras along the roads will record all violations of traffic laws, and the owner of such vehicle will receive SMS’s at each time of violation. Within three days of reception of traffic violation report via SMS, the owner of the vehicle must go to the nearest police station to witness himself the video of his traffic violation and then to pay the fine or contest the fine in the court if cannot agree with the decision of the authority.

     60.   All vehicles must be encouraged to install dashboard cameras.

     61.   Purchase and use of motorized two-wheelers (ie, motorcycles) must be discouraged by imposing higher taxes at the purchase, imposing higher taxes for spare parts of motorcycles, and charging recurrent higher revenue license fees.

     62.   The discipline of drivers and riders must be improved. Driving schools must be stringently monitored.

A point system of driver’s license must be introduced whereby points are reduced for each serious traffic violation or repeated simple traffic violations. When the points become nil, the license must be canceled for some stipulated number of years.

To prove one’s innocence, if a driver is possibly framed by a police officer, it is highly recommended to install dashboard cameras and even to record the conversation between the driver and the police officers.

     63.   All bill boards along roads must be banned. Only road signs and other important sign boards must be allowed.

     64.   All religious shrines and statues along roads must be removed.

     65.   Persons who are older than 70 years must be allowed to drive only at half the allowed speeds. Therefore, such persons must not be allowed to drive on express ways.

     66.   All vehicles except ambulances carrying patients or vehicles of law enforcement officers chasing behind a criminal or vehicles of emergency response teams in a declared emergency situation or official vehicles of President and Prime Minister, must follow the same traffic laws!

     67.   Because of comprehensive CCTV coverage of the road system, one relevant government authority must maintain a real-time navigation system with accurate updated traffic congestion details. Phone and navigation system apps must be developed to use such system. Drivers can use such navigation apps to avoid congested routes.

 

 

Submitted by:

 

Sumith Wanni Arachchige

 

+94 (0)70 7500992
+1 (213) 537 8643
+44 20 3468 1935

 

sumith@tekcroach.top

sumithlk@gmail.com

 

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