Yesterday as usual is Wedding Day in Brunei. One of the subjects brought up was cars, traffic jams and roads. When I came back I thought I will look up the statistics and I was quite surprised to see the statistics on cars and roads here in Brunei.
In 2001, there were 3,299 kilometers of roads in Brunei. However there were 186,786 private cars, 398 taxis, 1,567 buses which totalled 188,751 vehicles. If all vehicles were to be driven at the same time, there would be 57 vehicles on every kilometer of roads in Brunei.
But in 2005, there were 3,650 kilometers of roads. An addition of some 351 kilometers of roads, or some 10.4% additional over 5 years. But the number of vehicles are now made up of 232,892 private cars (25% increase over 2001), 402 taxis and 1,825 buses (16% increase over 2001) which totalled some 239,917 vehicles (27% increased over 2001). Roads increased by 10% and vehicles increased by 27%. Talk about imbalance. Now the ratio is 66 vehicles on every kilometers of roads in Brunei.
If I can get hold of 2007 statistics, I am sure the ratio would have increased again as many new cars were bought when the salary acceleration was made in 2006. If this goes on, every road would look like Jalan Tutong (Telanai Junction to Bengkurong Junction) at its peak where traffic crawled every morning and afternoon.
The government is building more new roads especially to where the development are. But what is more difficult is increasing the capacity of existing roads. There are several solutions. Mass transit is one in whatever form. Perhaps with the new enlarged capital, the Municipal authority can start looking into the possibility of improved bus services. Secondly, additional carriageways on existing roads (in other words, built roads upwards). Thirdly provide additional relief outlets. All of which require effort, time and money. We are going to have our hands full.