Cities crawling with traffic jams

Priyanka Saurabh

Problems like road jams were earlier confined to metropolitan cities only. Small cities and towns were free from this. But now even small and big cities have started getting affected by it. Even in middle-class cities, vehicles are seen crawling on the roads. The situation is such that the squares and intersections that were once the identity of these cities have today become infamous traffic jam centers. In metropolitan cities, the problem of traffic jams can be solved to some extent by new construction like elevated roads, flyovers, underpasses, etc., but medium and small cities are not able to do so on a large scale. Then the character of traffic jams is also different in these cities. The problem of road congestion is widespread in India. Cities with a population of more than 10 lakh suffer the most. Generally, this happens due to poor condition of roads and lack of disciplined operation.
Frustrated, stuck behind the wheel, we move at a snail’s pace. Unfortunately, traffic is an unavoidable part of life on the road and most of the time it feels like we could do a lot to avoid the congestion we find ourselves stuck in. Implementing a BRT system can streamline bus services, providing faster and more reliable public transportation. For example, BRT in Ahmedabad has successfully reduced traffic congestion and travel time. Developing a strong light rail network can provide efficient alternatives to road transport. Cities like Delhi have benefited from the Delhi Metro, which has significantly reduced the number of cars on the road. Expanding bus coverage and creating dedicated bus lanes can encourage more people to use public transportation. The introduction of high-quality bus services in Bangalore has shown positive results.
Cities such as Pune have implemented bicycle-sharing programs, promoting cycling as a viable mode of transportation and reducing vehicular congestion. Creating safe and accessible pedestrian routes encourages walking, thereby reducing dependence on motor vehicles. The Smart Cities Mission in India includes plans to increase pedestrian infrastructure. Intelligentsia has significantly improved the traffic situation. Traffic flow can be optimized by using real-time data to manage traffic signals and predict congestion. For example, Smart Traffic Signal System Scheduling in Hyderabad. Cities such as Singapore and London have looked at charging a fee for driving in high-traffic areas during rush hour, to discourage unnecessary car use and raise money to improve public transportation.
Companies like Wipro and Infosys have started carpooling and company bus services, which has reduced the number of private vehicles on the road. These initiatives have resulted in a significant reduction in travel time. Providing incentives for carpooling and ride-sharing through subsidies and tax benefits can further encourage their adoption. Installing park-and-ride facilities near public transportation hubs can reduce traffic in inner-city areas. In cities like Bangalore, such initiatives have seen positive results, eliminating parking shortages and reducing road congestion. Instead of using private vehicles, people use public transport, bicycles, walking, etc. This will not only solve the traffic problem but will also solve the environmental problem and will help in reducing India’s fiscal deficit, and increase the foreign exchange reserves.
Our roads are repaired only when they sink or break, whereas this work should be done regularly. However, the absence of a footpath or encroachment on it is also a big problem, due to which pedestrians are forced to walk on the roads. Road jam affects us in many ways. This not only pollutes the climate of cities but also adversely affects the economy. Illegal colonies are expanding haphazardly. Due to a lack of urban planning, small streets are formed, which affect the main roads. Public transport needs to be improved here. Generally, whenever the issue of improvement of public transport arises, every city starts asking for a metro. But instead of Metro, it is more practical to use the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which has been said to expand different public transport keeping in mind the needs of different cities. These modes of transport can be bus, light rail transit (LRT), monorail, metro, etc.
A multi-pronged approach is required to effectively deal with traffic congestion in major Indian cities. This includes increasing public transportation, promoting non-motorized transportation, implementing smart traffic management technologies, encouraging carpooling and ride-sharing, and developing park-and-ride facilities. Future urban planning should focus on sustainable and integrated transportation solutions to ensure that cities remain livable and environmentally friendly. Implementing these measures could lead to a more efficient and less congested urban transportation system.
(The author is a Research Scholar)

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