While road development had stagnated, vehicle ownership has increased by nearly two hundred percent over the past decade, leading to traffic congestion which has been the largest hindrance to urban transport development.
According to a study by the Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), stretches of roads have grown from 2.3 million to 2.4 kilometres from 1987 to 2004, while the number of vehicles has grown from 700,000 to over two million during the same period.
?There has been a modal shift from public to private vehicles when it should be the other way around,? said JICA Senior Advisor G.W. Kaveendraraja.
The study indicated that the rise in private vehicles has been brought about by increased income as well as minimal investments in both railways and road-based public transport.
Rapid urban growth, weak policy coordination, insufficient funds, lack of drainage management, political interference in public transportation and lack of safety information were other causes for poor transport development in urban areas.
The master plan study focused mainly on the Western Province on its first phase from 2005 September to 2006 March and worked with the Road Development Authority, the Police, the Municipal and Provincial Councils to present measures to combat the problems.