Everyone seems to take it for granted, driving up to 20 or 30 minutes to work over the distance of a few kilometer. There are people who do not accept the traffic jam as a way of life and try to find out why and what can we do? In fact there are people to try to search the web for “reason of traffic jam in Phnom Penh”. It is the reality that most problems do not come from a single reason. It takes combination of reason for thing to go wrong. So, in most case there is no sliver bullet to solve the problem. It takes combination of actions for a solution to problems. Here I am trying to list some of the reasons for traffic jam in Phnom Penh.

Increasing number of vehicles: The government sees it as a sign of economic growth, and some time officials are happy with the traffic jam, because now many people can afford to buy cars and motorbikes. In creasing number of vehicle on the street is an ingredient to the traffic jam crisis.
Street Condition: although the past few years we’ve seen improvement, but it is not fast enough to cope with the growing number of vehicles on the street। Most of the streets are small, even worse residents houses an flat often try to move close to the street for what ever reasons such as “closer to the street mean business competitive advantage”. During rainy season muddy, clumsy road and flooded are the main reasons that people try to avoid these road, thus creating bottle neck at the bigger street.
Unreliable traffic lights: In Phnom Penh traffic light is tool to control the flow of traffic, but often we see the lights are not working। Some time the light its self is not working, sometimes it is because of the power cut। In the worse possible scenario the light went out during the rush hour creating chaos on the junctions.

•Irresponsible maintenance: In the developed countries, street maintenance are done during the night when there is no (or less traffic) in Phnom Penh we often see road maintenance taking place during rush hour. For example, I’ve seen crew of road painter who pain the yellow lane working at 8.30 am the time when people are going to work. Sometimes they dig half of the street at 5.00 pm, when most people return from work, or going out to enjoy city life of Phnom Penh.
Irresponsible drivers: often we see people park their car in the worse possible position creating the traffic jam behind that car, though the car owner never care about the fact that he/she created traffic jam. There are even motorbikes that drive at the wrong side of the road even if they see the street partition clearly. The worse thing is they feel that it is the right to do so. We see people who wanted to turn, they just turn no matter if the can turn or not or no matter if the traffic behind her/him jam or not?
Rules of law: One of my teachers said that in Switzerland people would wait for the green light to cross the street. But in Cambodia people would cross at red light. This indicates that Cambodian people disobey the rules of law, and the law itself is not enforced. Most of the time police are powerless to enforce the law. Police can only stop an old gentle man who rides motorbike, but not gentle men who drive Lexus. Above are the ingredients for traffic crisis in Phnom Penh that I can think of. There are many small reasons; we must look at the big picture. Generally there is no sense of responsibility from both government and people. If the government is responsible they would not allow street maintenance during rush hour. If the people are being responsible they would not drive like that. So Irresponsible is the main reasons for traffic jam. Also, there is no sense in rules of law. If the law is enforced we would not see motorbikes and car crossing the red light or drive on the wrong side of the road. There is always an argument that countries also have traffic jam, why care so much about Cambodia? Yes traffic jams in Other countries, there are long lines of car stopped, but it is because at the very front of the line it is red light, in Cambodia there is not front, because when the traffic slow down driver go in another lane, creating stupid jam at the very front of the line. To some up the main reasons for traffic jam is people are irresponsible; if we only stay in our lane, stop at the red light, traffic would be much better. At the same time the traffic light must be working properly.

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