November 25, 2013
KOCHI: Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has blamed Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for the delay in widening the road connecting CP Ummer Road to the bus depot and A L Jacob railway overbridge (ROB). Three months ago, the development authority had approached the transport corporation and then submitted a request to take up road widening works.
“To begin work, GCDA requires a written request from the managing director of KSRTC or its senior engineer. Despite repeated requests, the transport corporation has ignored our request,” said GCDA chairman N Venugopal. Though Kochi corporation opened the newly-constructed A L Jacob ROB to reduce traffic congestion, the narrow approach road at the entry point of the bus depot has worsened the situation.
On completing a seven-metre wide two-lane road envisaged around the Ambedkar stadium, a new link can be provided to CP Ummer Road and the KSRTC bus depot. This will facilitate the introduction of a one-way system and state transport buses state coming from Rajaji Road can go around the stadium and enter the depot. And buses leaving the depot can use the other road near the approach road of the ROB.
Agency may revoke contract
In another development, GCDA said that the contractor, entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the old stretch of Marine Drive walkway, has failed to execute his duties.
The authority had signed a five-year contract with the private contractor.
“It has been brought to the authority’s attention that the benches remain broken and lights are not functioning properly. Such activities mount to the violation of contract and GCDA is keen on terminating it,” said the chairman. He added that the income from advertisements placed at the walkway went to the contractor.
The authority will hold further discussions with the officials and the contractor and announce a final decision .
October 9, 2013
Manthan K Mehta, TNN |
“The bypass is being proposed on the land where the PWD offices are located. Enough space can be created on this portion of the land to build the road,” said a senior MMRDA official. As the land belongs to a government agency, the MMRDA does not anticipate any hurdle in acquiring the land to build the bypass road.
For the last few years, the MMRDA has been struggling to reduce traffic snarls at Kalanagar junction—one of the busiest intersections in the city. It connects the island city to both the western suburbs and the eastern suburbs via the Sion-Dharavi Road. As a short-term measure, MMRDA has also decided to implement, albeit partially, suggestions mooted by the Mumbai Environmental Social Network (MESN) to ease traffic congestion at Kalanagar junction.
“The median on the Western Express Highway at Kalanagar will be pushed back slightly. Vehicles coming from the sea link direction can directly drive to Bandra-Kurla Complex. At present, these vehicles have to take a sharp U-turn below the flyover to come on to the Sion-Dharavi Road and then take a left turn to enter BKC,” said the senior MMRDA official.
Also, the width of the two bus stops will be reduced thus, creating an additional lane for a bus-bay. “This will ensure that BEST buses halting at these stops will not block the traffic coming toward Dharavi T-junction from the northern direction,” said the official. “The other solution to cover the drains along the north-bound carriageway of the Western Express Highway (WEH) is not being undertaken yet as this will require the municipal corporation’s approval.” Civic officials may disapprove this plan as they would prefer the drains to remain accessible to ensure regular cleaning.
September 9, 2013
It is now a known fact that the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and the associated phenomena — jams, holdups, broken service roads and unending queues at the two toll plazas — have made life difficult for commuters, but the devil, as the saying goes, is in the details.
Absence of pedestrian walkways, near absence of cross-over facilities like foot-overbridges and underpasses, and messy and uncoordinated intersections are some of the design flaws that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), in its defence against catechism from the Parliament and the CAG, said it did not anticipate while planning the expressway.
“The Gurgaon authorities did not coordinate with the NHAI. They saw that development along the highway was easy and profitable, and did not develop their internal traffic mechanism, putting the entire pressure on the highway.
“There was lack of planning from the beginning. The volume of traffic was 10 times the figure estimated on the very first day of operations. The authorities, clearly, did not take into account population growth, rise in number of vehicles, the expected rate of industrial growth in new Gurgaon, and migration from Delhi,” said urban planning expert Sarika Panda Bhat.
Bhat also suggests constructing a bypass to avoid the traffic muddle created due to the expressway and the toll plazas.
After Seoul removed the Cheonggyecheon highway, the average price for apartments in the area rose by almost 25% as compared to only 10% in the neighborhoods farther away. Rents for commercial office spaces rose, too. Who knows the case might be the same for Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
September 5, 2013
Hindustan Times (Delhi) /Vibha Sharma MANOJ KUMAR / HT PHOTOS
Narendra Yadav, estate officer, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), visited Sector 27 recently. The residents raised the matter of installing barriers and a traffic signal on the main road of Sectors 27 and 28 with him at that time.
(( (There is a demand to install a traffic signal and barriers at this point.)
Considering that the main road of Sectors 27 and 28 and the main road of Sector 43 are one way, vehicles go past at a high speed. It is very difficult for pedestrians to cross these roads. People also find it difficult to take a turn towards their colony or come out of it. The circumstances also increase the chance of accidents. To overcome these problems the RWA members requested Yadav to arrange for the installation of barriers on the road and also a traffic signal.
Says Harish Ahuja, secretary of the Sector 27 RWA, “There was a major accident here last month. Installing barriers is important to avoid accidents.”
Yadav spoke to Arun Dhankar, executive engineer, electric wing, HUDA, for the installation of barriers in the next one week. He asked for two months time for the installation of a traffic signal on this stretch. The residents also demanded installation of signboards in the area. “Ideally, signboards mentioning the sectors on this road and mentioning it as one way road should be installed at the beginning of the road. But the absence of such signboards causes a lot of inconvenience to a person coming here for the first time,” adds Ahuja.
The residents also raised the matter of poor maintenance of the parks in the area. “In a majority of the parks, the trees have been planted haphazardly. These have been planted in the middle of the parks leaving no space for the children to play and visitors to sit. There is absolutely no planning. The bushes and the plants are overgrown and need pruning. No one ever comes for maintenance. Similarly, the infrastructure facilities in the parks are not up to the mark. The water valve is missing in some places,” adds MC Gulati, RWA member. The residents have suggested that the parks be developed as model parks. After discussing the matter with the officials of the horticulture wing, HUDA, Yadav agreed to develop one park as a model park.
Says VK Nirala, executive engineer, horticulture department, HUDA, “We have received the instructions and soon we will be developing one park as a model park. We will do the designing and beautification work by setting stones at the entrance and inside as well. Since the maintenance of a model park is an issue as we have to arrange for guards as well, plans are on to convert one park into a model park as if now.”
Nirala accepted the fact that the parks have no space for people to sit and children to play. “I agree that trees are planted unevenly in the middle of the parks and this causes inconvenience to the visitors. But we can’t do anything or cut the trees. These have been planted like this since the establishment of sector,” he adds.
Regarding the regular cleaning of sewerlines, Yadav also instructed the concerned officials to arrange for proactive cleaning. “Rather than waiting for the residents’ complaints about the overflowing of sewerlines, it is important for officials to arrange regular cleaning,” said Yadav.
August 19, 2013
(Photograph by Greg Girard, For National Geographic Thomas K. Grose \For National Geographic )
Bus Rapid Transit lanes in Guangzhou, China, have helped that city manage traffic congestion. A new IEA report rounds up strategies that cities around the world can use to increase energy efficiency as urban populations grow and transit demand increases.
City dwellers accustomed to regular traffic jams and road rage may shudder at the prospect of the world’s urban areas getting even more crowded.
Nonetheless, such growth is assured: The percentage of people living in cities is expected to reach 70 percent by 2050, and roadway occupancy levels could increase sixfold in some countries, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The energy needed to move all of those people around will double, the agency says in a report released Wednesday, and managing the negative environmental and economic effects of this growth could cost countries billions of dollars.
There is, however, another way forward. The IEA report, titled “A Tale of Renewed Cities,” recommends several proven strategies for enhancing the energy efficiency of metropolitan transport systems. Drawing from examples in more than 30 cities around the world, the report details a three-pronged approach to managing transit amid ever-growing urban populations.
“Avoid, Shift, and Improve”
Global transportation accounts for 20 percent of the world’s energy use, and 40 percent of that consumption occurs in cities. “The need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute,” Maria van der Hoeven, IEA director, said at a press conference that was webcast live from the Paris office of the agency, which was created in 1974 to promote energy security. “Urgent steps to improve the efficiency of urban transport systems are needed not only for energy security reasons, but also to mitigate the numerous negative climate, noise, air pollution, congestion and economic impacts of rising urban transport volumes.”
The IEA report calls for incentives to reduce regular travel, increase use of non-motorized or mass transit, and boost the use of cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles. This “avoid, shift, and improve” strategy could, between now and 2050, help cities save at least $70 trillion because of reduced spending on petroleum, roadway infrastructure, and vehicles.
Walter Hook, director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a New York think tank that promotes environmentally sustainable transportation, said the IEA report’s recommendations were similar to the ITDP’s. “We agree with the ‘avoid, switch, improve’ approach, also,” he said. While the $70 trillion savings figure might be somewhat “volatile,” Hook added, “if anybody knows the fuel ramifications [of urbanization] it would be the International Energy Agency, because of what they do.”
The IEA report highlights the fact that urban travel has become overly reliant on automobiles. In 2000, there were around 625 million passenger cars on the world’s roads; as of 2010, that number had grown to 850 million. The growth in car ownership has, according to the report, “led to significant shifts away from non-motorized transport and public-transport modes, even in dense areas.”
That trend is continuing. The IEA projects that the world’s stock of motorized vehicles will double by 2050, stoking roadway occupancy levels. Beyond the high economic costs of time spent not moving in traffic jams, the IEA said, the growing number of cars is negatively affecting the environment and the health and safety of city residents. For instance, the World Health Organization says that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. Overall, traffic mishaps cause 1.3 million deaths a year and cost more than $500 billion. (See related pictures:
Policies designed to help residents avoid inefficient travel include the promotion of telecommuting and carpooling, and construction of high-density, mixed-use developments that enable residents to live, work, and indulge in leisure pursuits in one area. The “shift” part of the strategy involves policies that promote affordable and efficient mass-transit systems, parking restrictions, congestion-zone charges, and dedicated lanes for buses and bicycles, all to encourage a switch away from private cars.
To improve the use of cars still on the road, the IEA argues for tougher fuel-economy standards, fiscal incentives to encourage greater use of hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), and planning for EV charging stations. (See related story
No Magic Bullets
The report, however, noted that while policies aimed at getting more fuel-efficient cars on roads can cut energy consumption and emissions, they’re not terribly effective when applied by themselves, because they can also encourage more travel and car ownership. “Consequently, it is preferable to pair ‘improve’ policies with ‘avoid’ and ‘shift’ measures to ensure that gains from vehicle and fuel improvements are not lost to increased motorized travel,” it said.
The IEA report largely takes a best-practices approach, and includes a large number of successful policies that have been implemented in cities ranging from Nashville to Shanghai to Lagos, Nigeria.
New York City introduced express bus services that within a year cut travel times by 11 minutes, which helped increase ridership.
Seoul reformed a bus system that had rewarded drivers who allowed overcrowded buses and drove recklessly. The improvements led to increased ridership, and faster and safer journeys.
Belgrade, Serbia, tripled its urban rail system’s passenger numbers within six months of a major overhaul of the network.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, which use bus networks that are akin to light-rail systems but at a fraction of the cost, have proved to be big hits in cities such as Lagos, Buenos Aires, and Guangzhou, China.
Bus-only lanes have helped ease congestion in many cities, too, including Buenos Aires and Shanghai.
San Francisco implemented in 2011 a digital, real-time pilot parking management system to ease congestion. It’s being tested on 7,000 metered spaces. SFpark, as it’s called, tells motorists where parking is available, and uses demand-responsive pricing to cut demand in crowded areas.
The report also stressed that there are few one-size-fits-all solutions, and placed cities into four different categories—developing, sprawling, congested, and multi-modal—each requiring a different mix of remedies. What works in New York City would not necessarily work in Seoul, Didier Houssin, IEA director of sustainable technology policy, told the press conference.
How likely is it that the world’s city planners will heed the report’s recommendations? ITDP’s Hook said that the chances are good. “Most cities are moving in this direction anyway, though not necessarily for fuel reasons. Most do not want people to live in traffic-congested, air-polluted cities,” he said.
And even though too many fast-growing cities in India, China, and Africa are still headed the wrong way, toward the old car-oriented paradigm, Hook said, “some are trying to respond intelligently” by overhauling creaky mass-transit systems or building new, improved ones.
August 17, 2013
Aditya Dev, TNN |
GURGAON: Severe shortage of traffic cops seems to be the reason behind the number of fines issued for traffic violations in Gurgaon taking a nosedive this year. Registering a 22% decline, traffic cops issued only 1,94,202 challans in the first seven months (January- July) of 2013 compared to 2,49,727 in the corresponding period of 2012.While the city has close to 300 traffic cops on duty, at least 700 more are required to keep an eye on the increasing number of violators. Out of the 300 cops on duty, there are few constables and head constables, who are actually responsible for managing the traffic.Traffic cops issued 55,525 less challans in 2013 (January-July) compared to the corresponding period in 2012 with a considerable decline in the number of challans issued for wrong parking, driving without helmet and not wearing seat belt.
While wrong parking continues to be the major traffic problem, the number of challans issued for the offence has dropped by almost 50% this year. Similarly, there is nearly one-third decrease in the number of challans issued for driving without helmet and seat belt.
Parking is a serious issue in Gurgaon with the failure of the civic agencies to provide adequate parking spaces. Whether it is MG Road, Golf Course Road or Udyog Vihar, vehicle owners jostle for space to park their vehicles. In most cases, they are forced to park on road sides. Even challans issued for traffic offences like speeding, use of tinted glasses on four-wheelers, wrong side driving, among others, were less compared to last year.
The Supreme Court had banned the use of tinted glasses on vehicles in May last year. The traffic police conducted a special drive to implement the Apex Court directions and fined 7,359 vehicle owners between January and July, 2012. This year, the figure has reduced to 1,586 for the corresponding period of time.
On the other hand, traffic police have tightened the noose on autorickshaw drivers for rash driving and also on commuters who do not follow traffic signals. During special drives, cops are issuing 300-400 challans against auto drivers for various traffic offences.
The number of challans issued for not following traffic signals has jumped from 12,278 in 2012 to 21,622 this year.
August 16, 2013
Visakhapatnam: Principal Secretary of Municipal Administration & Urban Development Dr Sailendra Kumar Joshi suggested that GVMC officials prepare a proposal on comprehensive transport system for the future traffic needs of the city.
He advised officials to replace existing street lights with LEDs as it would cut down 50 per cent of the expenditure.
He held a review meeting with officials here on Saturday. When officials told him that they would prepare a plan for eight BRTS corridors in and around the city with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,200 crore, Joshi advised them to prepare the plan covering all areas of the corporation.
August 16, 2013
Aditya Dev, TNN |
GURGAON: The two ambitious projects of Gurgaon traffic police — e-challaning and 3rdEye — to revamp the way challaning drives are conducted in the city, are yet to take off.While the e-challaning drive failed to cross the pilot phase, not once but twice, monetary and technical issues are bugging the 3rdEye project, due to which it has been lying cold storage for over one and a half years. It was first launched in August 2011.
The department had written to the state government to seek its approval for budgetary grant for the projects.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Bharti Arora said, “The projects are under process. The e-challaning project required monetary provision to buy equipments. We have written to the government. The permission might come in two-three months.”
“We are also looking into ways to restart 3rdEye,” Arora added.
Traffic police had conducted trial runs for e-challaning for the second time in June this year. With the e-challaning project, the traffic police wanted to replace the manual challaning. Under e-challaning, with the help of an electronic device, offenders would not only be given on-the-spot challan receipt, but would also be awarded enhanced fines if found to be repeat offenders.
During the trial runs, four cops were given the devices while a trainer conducted their classes. According to a source, the outcomes of the trial run were not that encouraging as there was marginal increase in number of challans issued with the help of the devices.
This was the second time the Gurgaon police conducted the trial run of e-challaning.
August 14, 2013
The office has introduced a programme on creating traffic awareness through postcards and visiting cards with an aim to reduce the number of accidents in the region.
It is sending the post cards, on which different types of traffic safety messages are printed, to the all the applicants who are approaching the office. Staff are also distributing the visiting cards with the road safety rules and acts to the visitors of the office. Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) M P Abdul Subair said that the initiative is aiming to make the people aware of traffic rules so as to save their lives and also of others. The necessity of wearing helmets, wearing seat belts, the directions to avoid usage of mobile phones while driving and the messages which are discouraging drunken driving also would be there among the messages on postcards and visiting cards.
The Highway Jagratha Samithis and Jana Jagratha Samithis are also functioning in the Tirurangadi region in the backdrop of the increasing number of accidents on the Tirurangadi region of NH 66. A squad of around thousand local people including autorickshaw drivers and salesmen on the highway is active with their 24/7 trauma care service along the stretch. The squad which was formed by Tirurangadi police, Vigilance Task Force (HVTF) is active in trauma care service.
The MVI said the initiative is expected to be a success and it will help reduce the number of accidents. “Awareness is the only way to prevent accidents and the fresh model of initiative will receive the attention of public easily,” he said.
August 14, 2013
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi,
The much-awaited e-challan project of the traffic police has finally kicked-off in the city though the official inauguration of the project will take place at the end of this month.
“We made all 1,200 e-challan devices operational a few days ago. However, certain technical glitches remain which are being sorted out. We hope to formally launch the project by end of the month and make available the e-payment option in the devices,” said Anil Shukla, additional commissioner of police (traffic).
The e-challan has replaced a traffic policeman’s age-old challan book. It aism to help the police catch repeat offenders as it will be linked to the central database and will provide the policeman a record of previous traffic violations, if any. Traffic police claim the device will enable them to raise at least Rs. 120 crore per annum through e-challans, about three times the average annual amount of Rs. 45 crore.
With the launch of this project, Delhi has joined the league of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai, where such a system is already in place, though sources said the devices are showing some glitches like heating up and connectivity problems.
The hand-held devices have been distributed among policemen in all traffic circles and are together likely to generate nearly 2,500-3,000 challan receipts every day, said a senior traffic police official.
The police have also received a go-ahead for the e-payment gateway from the ministry of home affairs and have tied up with State Bank of India for the facility, said officials.
The e-challan project had faced a number of administrative and technical roadblocks. These included the machine malfunctioning due to weather conditions and the inability of policemen to operate the devices.