Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bangalore traffic woes: Can we improve the situation?

Bangalore as a city is severely plagued by traffic issues. And it has numerous reasons to be in that situation. The steady influx of people from all over the country, to either work in the IT city or study at the numerous institutions here has translated to good business for contractors, but has eaten up the lungs of the city - the roads. You go to Hosur Road on any of the weekdays and you will find that from the Silk Board Junction to Electronic City, vehicles are lined up bumper-to-bumper. Just traveling during office hours has become a nightmare for most, leave alone driving. No wonder you hear of so many incidents everyday of someone getting crushed by a speeding bike or hit by a car. Its actually very easy to lose your cool at times. Also, the deteriorating condition of the roads has meant that the load of the traffic is not shared well amongst the existing roads; thereby worsening the situation. Instead of coming up with new roads and flyovers all the time, if they could improve the inner roads; these roads could serve to bypass some of the major thoroughfares, thus distributing the load and speeding up the process.
What is utmost important at thus time is the need for an alternate system. The transport ministry is putting the Metro service into place and I think that would be a huge boost. If the service can be maintained well and connect most of the important locations in the city, if not all; then it would serve two purposes. Firstly, it would no doubt help the worsening traffic problems as the bulk would be routed to the Metro. Secondly, it would help reduce the burden on vehicles which would mean that people would be less encouraged to own personal vehicles. Thus, ultimately we will also be able to reduce the levels of pollution.
Another thing that can be done is to discourage people to buy personal vehicles. Either increase the costs of buying a new vehicle like taxes etc. Already the fuel hike pinches the public. A further increase in base costs of owning a vehicle would definitely help( I don't know how much that would be feasible, though!). Further, incentives could be provided to people to use public transport. Like reduction of prices of public transport vehicle tickets. Also increasing the frequency of the vehicles or providing better facilities like they have in the Volvo buses (which are an experience by themselves). These measures would not go unnoticed.
But I believe that the need of the hour is to educate the drivers and discipline them. A lot of the problems arise because of rash driving. People change lanes, zig zag on the road, its like crazy. All that needs to be stopped. A good way is to severely punish them and the punishment should not be in monetary terms because that does not help. Either you take the driving license away or ban the driver for a few months. Once the laws become stringent then people will take up notice and start adhering to them.
I don't know how much of all this would be actually applied. But even if 10% of it is, traveling in Bangalore would be that much better.

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mM said...

Nice thoughts, even if few of them are implemented we would be better half.....

But also we cant be ever saying IF it was implemented, IF it was done...its up to us to remove the IF's.....each one of us should not honk, drive zigzag, be rude, be dirty etc etc...if each one of us start setting the trend/expectation many would follow....

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Abhishek Saha
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
A NRB (Non Resident Bengali) or rather a 'Probashi Bangali'; born in Kolkata, brought up in Jamshedpur and now trying to make his mark at IIM Lucknow.
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