Odd or Even

by tjok

In response to the traffic jam problem in Jakarta, Governor Joko
Widodo argues that implementation of new rules must be taken to reduce
number of vehicles on the road. Jokowi proposes to implement odd-even
license plate system that restricts traffic to designated license
plates between 06:00 and 20:00 along select routes.

The argument that this odd-even license plate system will solve the
problem of traffic jam in Jakarta omits some important concerns that
must be addressed to substantiate the argument.

First, the argument assumes that the traffic jam in Jakarta is only
caused by high volume of traffic demand (“too many cars”). But if the
traffic jam is also contributed by other things such as limited road
capacity, lack of traffic control signals, bad road condition and high
traffic incidents, the odd-even license plate system will not
completely solve the traffic jam problem.

Second, if the premise of this argument is true, the next question is
how this system can effectively reduce the volume of traffic on the
road. This odd-even license plate system is applied with assumption
that the number of vehicles with even license plate is not
significantly different with the number of vehicles with odd license
plate. If this assumption fails, unbalanced traffic will be occurred:
high traffic in one day, low traffic in another day. Thus, the
objective of reducing traffic jam is only partially met.

Third, even if the odd-even license plate system, in theory, can
reduce the traffic, this proposal should be further challenged on the
basis of its applicability. The design of this solution is highly
questionable from the standpoint of practicality. To ensure the
success of this proposal, there are some implementation challenges
that need to be addressed such as establishment of control and
monitoring system to ensure that people comply with the new system,
and preparation regarding the capacity of public transportation (“do
we have sufficient capacity of public transportation to carry more
than three million passengers?”).

Tembagapura, December 11, 2012