Megapolis plan aims for flexible working hours

Feb 05, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s recently unveiled Megapolis plan of development envisages flexible working hours as one aspect of transport demand management to address Colombo traffic congestion.

“Flexible working hours can be introduced in public and private institutions to spread peak load of traffic flow,” the Megapolis masterplan states.

“Employees can adjust their working time without any negative effect to the working process of the institutes.”

The action to be taken, in this regard, is to develop a policy plan to promote flexible work hours and stagger work hours in selected institutes, the report states.

The benefits of this step will be a reduction of traffic volume and congestion during peak times by shifting driver commuters to less congested hours and spreading of the peak period.

Colombo traffic congestion, which observers say has escalated in the last year, could affect productivity of the national economy, the report acknowledged.

Flexible schedule hours could increase productivity of the employee and reduce cost of overtime and sick leave for institutes, the report states. The possibility of using new communication technologies to encourage employees to work from their homes was not, however, explicitly mentioned.

Other measures for transport demand management in the Megapolis plan are vehicular parking management, intersection control, traffic flow management and road pricing of entry roads to core areas.

“The transport system of the country, particularly what is currently operating in the Western Region, calls for major strategic interventions not only to efficiently drive the growth of the national economy, but also to avoid retardation of the whole economy due to fast intensifying congestion on the roads,” the plan states.

Transport demand management, together with public transport improvement, road infrastructure development and environmental sustainability, are seen as the broad areas for intervention to address transport issues.