As the third year of the pandemic has set in, the ‘new normal’ of working from home and the world going online is not new anymore. And in Bengaluru, residents found some reprieve as the city’s internationally renowned traffic jams seem to have eased in 2021 as a result of this. A report in the TomTom Traffic Index, which detailed traffic trends in 404 cities across the world, showed that traffic congestion in Bengaluru saw a 32% average decrease in 2021.
Traffic is 49% less congested during the morning rush hour and 37% in the evening as compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, the report says. This dip in congestion resulted in Bengaluru shaking itself loose from its position as one of the most congested cities in the world before the pandemic, but it is still number 10 in the TomTom Index’s global 25 list. In 2019, Bengaluru had ranked sixth on the index.
While residents can celebrate the reduced traffic in the city, the 11th edition of the traffic index pointed out that the number of private vehicles on the road has increased, as the risk of COVID-19 infection is higher in public transport. The report also says that Bengaluru was especially congested in October 2021, due to the monsoon. The city saw its worst traffic day on October 9, 2021, as roads across the city were inundated and waterlogged due to heavy rains.
While traffic continues to be a hurdle, Bengaluru has seen a sharp increase in the number of electric vehicles (EV) on the road. As per data from the Regional Transport Office (RTO), the number of EVs in the city has grown from just 3,806 in 2018 to 22,264 in November 2021. Of these, about 19,615 are two-wheelers. Bengaluru is expecting to see a boom in EV usage soon, with the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) setting up charging stations at 74 locations and the set-up of over 136 chargers as of September 2021.
As a result of the pandemic, traffic congestion eased by an average of 10% across the globe. But India fared better than other countries, the report said, as three cities — Mumbai (18%), Pune (29%) and New Delhi (14%) reported a higher average.
TomTom, which develops mapmaking technology, provides geolocation services to drivers, carmakers, developers and others. In its report, it analyzes over 600 million connected devices as an indicator of global mobility.