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Phnom Penh to receive “smart” traffic lights

Traffic in Cambodia's capital is a form of controlled chaos. Many intersections lack traffic lights, and drivers often pay little attention to the ones that do exist. (shankar s./flickr/cc)

On the streets of Phnom Penh, controlled chaos best describes the flow of traffic as tuk tuks, motorbikes, cars and SUVs jockey for position. Many intersections lack traffic lights, and drivers often pay little attention to the ones that do exist.

Sebastian Strangio reports for Next City that as gridlock intensifies, Japan is stepping in to help.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which promotes global development, plans to replace the lights at 69 intersections with “smart” versions over the next few years. It also will install lights at 30 intersections that desperately need them. The entire system would be linked by computers and controlled from a central location to allow the city to monitor congestion and make real-time adjustments. For example, the lights can be synchronized remotely during peak periods to keep vehicles moving.

The JICA has developed similar traffic management systems for Thailand and Mynamar. But Strangio says there’s skepticism about whether the high-tech lights would make much difference in Phnom Penh. “Cambodians see little benefit in following road rules or making allowances for other road users,” he writes, adding that “rules are enforced haphazardly.” Read more here on the city’s transit challenges.

Source: 
Next City

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