Kanishka Werawella Presents Solutions to Traffic Congestion in Sri Lanka

27 February 2020
IPS, Colombo

The recipient of the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2019, Kanishka Werawella, recently presented the preliminary findings of his study which focused on the management of traffic congestion in Sri Lanka (particularly in Kandy city) and its environmental impact.

He noted that Sri Lanka’s transport sector contributed to 25% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and 47% of the total CO2 emissions. This means the environmental impact from traffic congestion in Sri Lanka is huge, especially compared to global averages.

Mr. Werawella noted that the biggest issue that Sri Lanka faces when it comes to the transport sector is the increasing vehicle population. From 2008-2018, the number of buses increased by 36%, while the number of other vehicles increased by 130%. Meanwhile, the high operational cost and the high operational time of buses (with many delays) means that it is difficult to get private vehicle users to switch to public transport, making the issue of traffic congestion in Sri Lanka even worse.

In this context, the best solution to reduce the traffic congestion in Sri Lanka would be to improve the quality and increase the availability of public transportation, to encourage more commuters to switch from private vehicles, he proposed.

Mr. Werawella was awarded a one-time research grant of Rs. 150,000 and a six-month internship at the IPS, to carry out his research on the traffic congestion in Sri Lanka.

The Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a university in Sri Lanka. The grant aims to promote policy entrepreneurship among undergraduate students by encouraging policy relevant, rigorous, and innovative socio-economic research.