Thursday, December 10, 2015

Intolerance Needed in Bangalore: To Chaotic Traffic.

Intolerance is very much occupying media these days in India.

A key fuel for this intolerance debate appears to be public statements by renowned Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. While this intolerance hits at the very basic foundation of secularism of Indian democracy, and deserves to be properly handled, I see the need for a difference kind of intolerance needed in Bangalore: Intolerance to chaotic traffic.
In the several years I have been out of Bangalore, the state of traffic control has been essentially the
Uncontrolled Traffic at an Intersection in South Bangalore.
same: No traffic control. Granted, this intersection, on the right, is somewhat away from the center of the city and during early morning hours; but, the driving culture is the same, and unmistakable: Force your way by horning, however slowly, towards your destination. Even the pedestrians have to have the same attitude, or they will not reach their destination in time. (More on pedestrians in a separate blog post).

For a road with 3 marked lanes, there will be 5 or 6 automobiles — not counting 2-wheelers — converting the road to a virtual 6-lane fiasco.

Even at intersections with traffic lights, chaos begins to reign as soon as the light turns green or, sometimes, even when the light is still red/amber, seconds before it turns green.

Chaos is no solution to a problem that needs to scale. We see the magnitude of the scaling problem by looking at how the population of Bangalore has exploded: 1,654,000 in 1971 to 8,425,970 in 2011.
An increase of 409% in 40 years. I do not know how the growth of automobiles correlates to the growth of human population, but there are a lot of vehicles on Banaglore roads: Over 50L — 5 million — vehicles at last count, in November 2014. Compare this to New York's population of 8, 491,079 in 2014; 1.4 or so million cars in 2012. (Even with only 25% of Bangalore's vehicles, New Yorkers face traffic problems).

Perhaps the Bangalore Metro will ease some traffic some day, but there is still a cultural shift needed towards orderly road traffic.

An immediate retort to this blog post will be: "You don't know how constrained the city traffic police's resources are". Maybe. But, can we see one model road in Bangalore that sports 100% orderly traffic? Is it too much to ask of the city traffic police to help maintain 100% orderly traffic in one, and only one, single road in all of Bangalore? It'll require educating the public as well as policing the traffic.

Once the 1st road is converted to 100% orderly traffic, the traffic police can attempt a 2nd road, etc. Note that, once 100% orderliness is achieved, it takes resources to maintain the orderliness. Then, a 3rd, a 4th, ..., all of Bangalore eventually.

Can we expect 12 model roads in Bangalore with 100% orderly traffic, both automobile and pedestrian, by December 2016, one new road per month? Is the City Traffic Police listening?

No comments:

Post a Comment