Activists and experts argue that the increased road space would not be a sustainable solution to prevent traffic jams but will be merely a temporary solution.

Why the steel flyover is not the solution to Bengalurus traffic messMalleshksrtc/Facebook
news Transport Wednesday, January 02, 2019 - 19:26

A day after Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara proposed the controversial steel flyover project yet again as a solution to reduce the congestion on Bengaluru’s roads, activists are holding the state government responsible for failing to arrest the growth of vehicles in the city.

Activists and experts argue that with the present growth rate of the number of vehicles plying the roads, the increased road space would not be a sustainable solution to prevent traffic jams but will be merely a temporary solution.

According to latest data collated by the state Transport Department, there are a total of 78.5 lakh vehicles registered in Bengaluru till November 2018. The population of the city is estimated to be 1.2 crores (85 lakh in 2011 census), which means that there are 65 vehicles for every 100 persons. This number does not take into account vehicles that have been registered out of Bengaluru or even the state.

A total of 6,19,745 vehicles were added on the city’s roads between November 2017 and November 2018 which meant an addition of 1697 vehicles per day on average, out of this 1,211 were two-wheelers. In total, the number of two-wheelers added on the city’s roads were more than four lakh (4,41,986) bikes in the one year’s time.

In the same time, there has been an addition of a little over one lakh cars and more than 15,000 cabs in the city.

While there has been this staggering increase in the private vehicle ownership, the number of vehicles in the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) fleet has remained somewhere around 6,500 for long with the fares remaining the highest in the country, with a daily ridership of 45 lakh. The metro rail network, meanwhile, is 42 km long and enjoys a daily ridership of 4 lakh.

Experts note that the increasing affordability of two-wheelers and the fact that they are more convenient than public transport makes them a far more viable option, thus decreasing the usage of buses even further.

Ashish Verma, Associate Professor, Transportation Systems Engineer and Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, said that world over there has been a change in looking at the congestion problem. He suggests seamless interconnectivity between different modes of affordable public transport is the long-term solution to traffic jams. Verma has done a study suggesting building a metro rail corridor along the same route will be sustainable for 40 years taking multiple variables into consideration.  

Verma told TNM, “The approach has change from supply-centric to demand-centric solutions. This means that we no longer look at how many vehicles will come on the road and increase road space but rather concentrate on transporting a large number of people from point A to point B. We can’t let political leadership make such technical decisions in the name of development. It seems like consultants are hired to suit the demands of these leaders.”

“It has been concluded that increasing road space is resource intensive and simply not sustainable. Every time you need more road space it requires land, construction material. We have also realised across the world this approach is leading to higher fossil fuel consumption and degrading quality of life. Even countries like the USA, which celebrated the automobile revolution is also realising how it has made the country riddled with congestion and pollution problems. So Indian cities do not need to follow the same path and realise the same mistakes,” he added.

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