Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daily Traffic In Saigon

Daily traffic is something that everyone has to deal with no matter where you live.  However, if you live in Saigon you most likely battle a sea of motorbikes each day as you fight your way from place to place. The following pictures should be very familiar to anyone who has been here.

A huge crowd of motorbikes in Saigon, Vietnam

The traffic problem in Saigon is supposed to be caused by the small percentage of the city's land area that is covered by roads.  Figures for the percentage vary (depending on how you measure it) ranging from 2 to 6 percent.  Either way this is much smaller than the city's targeted goal of 20%.  

This lack of roads inevitably leads to traffic jams.  A professor at the HCM City University of Technology has stated that the level of traffic jams in HCMC exceeds the permitted level by 11 to 23 times. He estimates that economic losses caused by traffic jams are $840 million per year, which is over 5% of the city’s GDP.

Traffic jam of cars and motorbikes in Saigon, Vietnam

Earlier this year, some whiz kids from IBM came to Saigon as part of a corporate outreach program. One of their main goals is to help the city improve the traffic problem.  They will be using software developed 3 years ago for helping traffic in Singapore to model the city and predict when intersections will clog.  Ideally, this will be used to intelligently change light signals or to deploy police to direct traffic.  Hopefully it can be used effectively here and gets implemented quickly.


  1. Perhaps this is a similar system to that used in Bangkok? Either way, it will be a gigantuous task to tame/organise/free up the traffic of HCMC.

  2. I am not familiar with the BKK system- are they using computers to help with traffic flow?

    I agree with you that it will take a lot of work to fix the traffic here in Saigon. I don't think it will be an easy fix- it will need to be a combination of improved public transportation, bigger roads, better urban planning etc.

  3. They have some digital signs showing, what I think are congested roads/intersections, so drivers can avoid a passenger only, I could have their function/purpose wrong!

    By the way, your posts have no option to be updated when new comments are added ...therefore your readers/commenters have to manually check back from time to time, to see if there are any :(

  4. can find a photo of a BKK Smart Sign here
    towards the bottom of the page.



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