Economics and welfare impact of Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit System (Metro Rail)

Principal Investigator

1. Dr. Abu S. Shonchoy, Associate Professor, Florida International University, USA; and 

2. Dr. Tomoki Fujji, Singapore Management University, Singapore.

Project Area

Donor Agency: Singapore Management University (SMU) & International Growth Center (IGC)

Geographical Location: Dhaka City Corporation, Dhaka, Bangladesh 

Timeline: March 2022 to June 2023

Status: Ongoing (Preparatory stage)


Project Background

Project Objectives

The objective of this study is to comprehensively evaluate the impacts of the Dhaka Metro Rail (DMR) on the distribution of socioeconomic activities and mobility within the city. More specifically this study will be conducted to quantify how the welfare gains are distributed across space and different socioeconomic groups and examine the channels through which these gains transpire (e.g., faster travel, transit-oriented development, and job agglomeration economies).


In Dhaka, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, Dhaka Metro Rail (DMR) is going to be the first inner-city rail transit service, and its first line, MRT Line 6, is due to open by December 2022. The DMR is expected to ease endemic traffic congestion and poor mobility within Dhaka. As we know that large-scale mass transit projects like the DMR affect travel conditions in the entire city, and not just along their routes. They also have citywide impacts on housing markets, air pollution, gender equality, labor market informality, population decentralization, and the city’s long-term growth among others. However, a comprehensive assessment of a transportation infrastructure project is rarely undertaken by governments or donors despite its importance for sustainable development.

Project Description


Both the quantitative and qualitative research tools will be used in this study for the field survey.


Data will be collected from different sources. A baseline survey before the start of the operation of MRT Line 6 around July 2022 and an endline survey after the start of the operation around February 2023 will be conducted for collecting the data from a total of 2000 Households. Besides data will be scraped from different websites such as Google Maps (GM). Second, we will obtain office and residential property market data such as location and asking rental or sales prices by scraping major real property websites in Bangladesh. Third, we will obtain labor market information such as job title, sector, wage range, and company location. We will also use remotely sensed data such as the World Bank Light Every Night data. Estimated pollution data from NASA’s Earth Data website also be gathered. At the ward level, we will collect pollution and economic activity data. Finally, once Metro Line 6 is in operation, we collect ridership data.


The research project is now at the preliminary stage, we will publish the findings from time to time.