Surging Vehicle Numbers Intensify Congestion In The Capital

Over 16,000 vehicles registered in first 3 months in Vientiane

The number of vehicles in Vientiane continues to rise, intensifying congestion on roads in the capital despite the expansion of the road network in the capital.

In 2013, the number of registered vehicles reached 66,500, an increase of more than 5,300 vehicles compared to the year 2012.

Government officials attributed the rising number of vehicles to several factors, including the country’s growing purchasing power and the fact that vehicles can now be bought on an instalment plan.

Many people in Vientiane now have more spending power as a result of the inflow of foreign investment which has driven up the demand for land.

This has pushed up land prices, leading to a surge in sales that has put more money in people’s pockets. One of the top priorities for the newly wealthy is to buy a car or some other kind of vehicle.

Between 2000 and 2013, the number of vehicles in the capital has jumped to over 603,000, of which motorcycles accounted for around 50 percent.

Vientiane Traffic Police Department Deputy Chief Major Bounmark Soundalay told Vientiane Times yesterday that the rising number of vehicles is linked to the rising number of road accidents in Laos.

“I say this because many people buy cars or other types of vehicles but they do not learn enough about road safety and traffic regulations,” he said.

“Vientiane has a population of about 800,000 people but only 200,000 people have obtained driving licenses. I think that it’s important to encourage people to learn and understand road safety standards before they buy vehicles in order to reduce road accidents.”

During the six days of Lao New Year celebrations, 303 road accidents occurred in the whole of Laos, resulting in 37 people killed and 544 injured.

Meanwhile, transport officials estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 vehicles were registered each month this year. In January alone, more than 5,600 vehicles were registered in Vientiane, of which almost 3,500 were motorcycles.

The large number of vehicles also reflects the continuing growth of the economy and the overall improvement in the standard of living.

Vehicles have become an essential part of people’s lives but the surge in vehicle imports has created traffic congestion, which is becoming especially problematic in the rush hour.

The congestion has forced police to work harder to facilitate the traffic flow. Despite more efforts from the police, it’s hard to address congestion issues due to the rising number of vehicles.

The issue is exacerbated due to Vientiane’s narrow roads, which cannot be widened because they are tightly packed with buildings.

In addition, many people park their vehicles on roadsides and sidewalks which has led to frustration and a barrage of complaints from the public.

 

Source: Vientiane Times