Bangkok to Combat Traffic by Being a “Smart City”

April 4, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. congestion / kənˈdʒɛs tʃən / (n.) – the state of being full or crowded, sometimes to the point of not allowing movement or passage
Example: The huge mob of protesters caused a congestion on the road.

2. employ / ɛmˈplɔɪ / (v.) – to make use of something
Example: The city’s government employed new technology to keep the city clean.

3. efficiency / ɪˈfɪʃ ən si / (n.) – being able to function or perform a task without being wasteful
Example: Machines can increase efficiency by reducing human error.

4. sustainability / səˌsteɪ nəˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n.) – the ability to uphold oneself
Example: Every country should aim for sustainability for the sake of future generations.

5. urbanization / ˌɜr bə nəˈzeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of people settling in large, modern cities for work or education
Example: Continuous urbanization will reduce rural areas more and more.


Read the text below.
Bangkok has found a possible solution to its worsening traffic problem – by becoming a “smart city.”

Thailand’s capital is prone to experiencing road congestion because of the huge number of cars in the city. According to Bangkok police, in 2015, the number of cars in Bangkok’s roads exceeded its capacity by five times.

Currently, the city’s transportation system does not rely much on advanced technology. According to the Transport Minister of Thailand, many of the city’s traffic lights are still being controlled manually by the city’s police.

The government’s plan is to become a “smart city,” or one that employs technological advancements to improve the quality of life by increasing efficiency and working towards sustainability. The concept was proposed by the team involved in Smarter Planet Vision, a project of International Business Machine (IBM), that started in 2008 as a response to the rapid urbanization happening worldwide.

Smart cities employ an intelligent transport system (ITS). This uses data gathering, as well as information and communication technology, to improve transportation efficiency and road safety. According to a research by a global association of mobile operators, adopting smart city technology would help Bangkok save up to $1 billion by reducing road congestion and travel time, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, and decreasing road accidents.

The Thai government is working with Japanese companies and researchers to apply smart city technology to the country’s cities. Japanese company Hitachi presented their innovations to Thailand’s Transport Ministry in a seminar called Asia Smart City Summit held in Bangkok last February 2016.

Hitachi is one of the companies which specialize in developing smart city technology, with previous projects in India, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the effects of heavy traffic on people? Enumerate and discuss.
·         Aside from the use of technology, what else do you think can help solve the problem of heavy traffic?

Discussion B
·         How can constant heavy traffic affect a country? (e.g. economy, tourism)
·         In your opinion, how efficient is transportation in your city? How else can it be improved?

April 4, 2016