How can we improve the traffic situation in our city?

Three seed opinions were posted on the topic of how to improve the traffic in our cities, as part of the Blogathon event. What is your take on this? Write your own blog entry and submit it to the Blogathon site or comment on others’ views.

Just adjust

By Rashmi V

Cities are reflections of the civilizations that inhabit them so Mayan cities are built for gods, French cities have gardens, Roman cities are linear, Indian cities are mixed up.Traditionally we live in closed spaces; our ideas on personal space are primitive. We live communally and individuals have little or no space for self exploration.

So how do you expect us to overcome 5000 years of hardwiring and drive in neat lines? We drive the way we walk, jostling, pushing trying to get ahead by the millisecond. Our traffic accidents are fender benders, number of fatalities lower than other "developed" countries. So why do we want to change it anyway. We are like this only and we love it this way.

Where there is a will

By Deepa Mohan

Change is an essential, inescapable part of life, so certainly change is possible, and the change can be channelised for improvement. Perhaps historically we have no precedent of being orderly in traffic, but that’s been because of low traffic density; now that our population has increased so much and the traffic reflects that, it is in our own interest to implement some orderliness in the traffic; we will be the ones to benefit.For the first fifty years of independence, we were insulated from the rest of the world by our government policies, and so the world’s rules didn’t really apply to us. But now we have entered the global village, so global road and traffic rules will also start applying…and we will start internalizing concepts like lane discipline and speed limits, and we will change…we *have* to change…to ensure that our traffic does not descend into utter chaos, from just being chaotic.

If we can make the change from village cart-tracks to expressways, and get used to interchanges, we can also change our way of driving, if we have the will to do so. Where there is a will, there is a highway, with the rules that we can follow.

Broken to the Core

By Meera K

India’s road accident record 1998: 6 % of the world’s road accident deaths happen in India (while India has only 1 % of the world’s road vehicles) [source: GBoWR]. There were 7000 road accidents in 2006 in Bangalore – [source: BCP]

There are already 28 lakh vehicles in the city, and increasing by almost a thousand a day. No government is going to be bold enough to say: Stop! No more vehicles. Or at the least raise taxes and introduce disincentives for people to buy a vehicle. Or maybe make the employee intensive industries provide housing near their place of work. Even before that, our governments have lacked the foresight to provide for a good public transport system (whether managed by public agencies or private parties)

All any government will do is band aid measures. Cut the trees where possible. Never mind that the road width a few metres down is constrained by privately owned properties that they dare not acquire. The master plan for the city (CDP) is a case in point. There is no credible support for public transportation.

is there any chance for the situation to improve? Unlikely.

The only way is to let go. Create new cities, that are planned properly. Leave Bangalore to lick its wounds, recover and rejuvenate itself.

Footnote: You know the boiling frog experiment? Do we want be like the frog that remains in water as the temperature rises slowly but steadily. We may get cooked before we realise.

About Meera K 32 Articles
Meera K is Co-founder, Citizen Matters.

1 Comment

  1. In the process of determining and understanding “problems”, we tend to ignore basic possible solutions.
    To help smoothen traffic, simple solution could be installation of appropriate, bold sign boards. These should be DESIGNED as a furniture element and not just any fabricated stuff. Impetus should be given on
    1. Font, size of font and color.
    2. Location.
    3. Visibility.
    Intrinsically, we are prone to after effects of “Improper planning”. This applies to our driving as well. Most tend to reach a traffic junction and then decide the next direction to take!!Rather than deciding and approaching in the right lane!! A well designed and positioned signage will ignite some thinking and hence bring in discipline.

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