Japan Sponsors Modern Traffic Lights and Cameras in Phnom Penh

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During the pilot program from 2007 and 2010, two intersections operated the new traffic light system (Photo courtesy: AUNILO).

By Cecelia Marshall for The Khmer Times

PHNOM PENH, August 24, (Khmer Times) – Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) plan to replace the capital’s 69 controlled intersection lights with “smart” technology and add roughly 30 more in an effort to address traffic congestion.  

Beginning in 2016, the thirty new intersections will have CCTV cameras installed.  The cameras will monitor traffic flow, which then can be analyzed by traffic operators to make time-specific changes to adjust the stream of traffic for maximum efficiency. All of the lights will be powered with a central computerized system.

Corresponding with economic growth, the number of automobiles in Cambodia has risen by five percent, according to the JICA and the Municipality of Phnom Penh Technical Cooperation Project paper for traffic improvement written in March.

Many living in the capital and who use the inner-city roads daily see little relief in this revamp of intersection signals. Traffic problems are not only caused by inappropriate traffic lights, but are also often due to motorists ignoring traffic rules. Even if police officers stand at street corners to enforce road laws, many skirt around them with ease.

The pilot intersections of the project from 2007 and 2010 were Pet Lok Sang and Toul Kork. After acknowledging its success at these locations, the project was adopted.

This is just one part of a multi-stage plan written by JICA and the Municipality of Phnom Penh last March.  JICA has made attempts at revitalizing traffic before. The bus project that had its second trial run last March was met with positive recognition offering city dwellers an additional choice in commuting.

According to the authors of the paper, “Traffic conditions in Phnom Penh have worsened, and traffic congestion and traffic accidents have become social problems in Phnom Penh.”

Since JICA is the main funder of the project, they contribute the equipment for improvement of the intersections, signal installation, and local cost for civil engineering work.

Cambodia’s major contribution to the project is land, facilities, and the local costs for improvement of intersections.

Though Japan is contributing a majority of its resources and money to this initiative, they are looking to build self-reliance within the Municipality of Phnom Penh and the Department of Public Works and Transport.

According to the Department of Public Works and Transport (DPWT), the project contributed a lot to DPWT’s capacity in terms of knowledge and skills of how to make a proper plan for intersection improvement, intersection design and implementation.

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