With the increase of vehicles far more surpassing the expansion of streets, traffic congestion in Vietnamese cities has even been worsened by regular trains running on tracks crossing streets.
Whenever a train crosses a street, barriers are lowered to pave the way for trains and traffic flow must be halted from three to four minutes.
So, it creates a temporary traffic jam at the point because of the gathering of thousands of vehicles “confronting” each other both sides on the street after a train passes.
According to the Department of Transport in Ho Chi Minh City, the city has 14 kilometers of railway track starting from the Saigon railways station in District 3 to Thu Duc District.
The track runs through districts Phu Nhuan, Go Vap, and Binh Thanh.
The track crosses 27 streets, with 20 crossings guarded by railways staffs to warn drivers by lowering and lifting barriers. The other crossings have automatic warning lamps.
The city has 22 trains coming and leaving a day, five of them running in peak hour and causing traffic jam.
On average, it takes a driver 20 minutes to cross a railway track after a train passes because of traffic congestion.
Ms. Huynh Thi Hai, owner of a shop near a railway track crossing, said thousands of vehicles are congested when a train passes.
Nguyen Huu Tuyen, head of the transport unit of the Saigon Railways Corporation, admitted that it is difficult to adjust the time of trains coming or leaving cities in peak hour because it will affect other localities.
The departing and arrival time of trains has been optimized, he added.
At the moment, Vietnam has not been financially capable of building tunnels or lifted railway track to avoid crossing with streets.
The metro route from Suoi Tien theme park in Thu Duc District to Ben Thanh Market in District 1 has been under construction and is for urban transport within the city but not for the trans-national railway route.
Proposals have been made to move the Saigon railway station from District 3 to Binh Trieu station in the outskirts Thu Duc District. But it was not carried out because it will even create a large increase of individual motorbikes and taxi to connect Binh Trieu station with the hub of the city.