Saturday, May 10, 2014

India: Urbanization & Increase in Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion is a serious problem in most cities of India, with hardly any space for safe pedestrian movement. Even in public transport services like buses and and trains, the public has to struggle for few inch of space as they are overcrowded. The fast urbanization across India including in cities like Chennai (which is the commercial capital of south India) poses a new set of challenge. In Chennai buses carry 30% more passengers every day than the international average and probably because of the inconvenience attached to this overcrowded public, more and more affluent commuters leave the system and buy their own vehicles. And, because of this, there has been a 95% increase in car ownership in Tamil Nadu state.

In Mumbai, according to a study, 44% of the city walks to work, though among the poor, that number jumps to 63%. Here, in Mumbai as well, the ever-increasing number of cars has brought major complications and this goes beyond traffic jams. Poor air quality and a increase in road accidents has put people particularly those who live and work on the roadsides at great risk.

The traffic problem in Delhi is no different and a study make us acquaint to the traffic scenario in the rest of urban India. There were 44 lakh vehicles on Delhi roads in 2004 which will almost double by 2021 when the next Master Plan will be implemented. The road length, however, has not increased proportionately.

In Kolkata, metro rail and Vivekanand Setu were constructed to ease traffic flow. But traffic congestion in several old localities and near Haora bridge remains a daily routine. In Ahmedabad, the speed of vehicles comes down to 5 km/hr on Gandhi Marg and several other roads due to congestion and overcrowding.

The big cities of India, because of the unplanned urbanization and overwhelming increase of vehicles, are almost reached to a state of paralysis. There is a strong need to study and find solution to the problems related to traffic congestion and unmindful urbanization!

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