TRAFFIC CONGESTION : A Road-User Perspective

December 10, 2014

These days, everyone is talking about creation of Smart Cities. So what has this got to do with traffic congestion on roads? A “Smart City” promises its citizens a very high quality of life by planned usage of resources – physical infrastructure included – to create an eco-system of sustainable economic development, living, governance, mobility, environment, and so on. Towards this objective, a Smart City is expected to deploy automated controls to achieve this. Smart transportation is a key enabler for enhanced mobility in Smart Cities.

How often have you got stuck in traffic while travelling to catch a flight, train, to get emergency medical assistance or to attend to that urgent meeting or for an interview? Something that each one of us in cities experience frequently, and are not too pleased doing so!

The feelings of the hapless traveler in such situations would most likely be something like:
 Ugh ! Why so many vehicles on the road ? Can’t this be controlled?
 Why can’t we have wider and/or enough alternative roads for smooth travel?
 These slow moving vehicles should keep off the main roads
 Could the police not tame these reckless drivers ?
 Parking on the roads is a curse !
 Shops and other encroachments on roads are eating away the road space and so on
Such situations do reflect the utter chaos faced during busy traffic hours, and scream for something to be urgently done to mitigate the road users’ travails. For only then would the dreams of achieving a “Smart City” status for our cities be realized.

From a road user perspective, managing such situation requires either reduction of vehicular traffic volumes or freeing up available space on the road. One would readily conclude that this approach would lead us to the much-needed salvation from the demon called “congestion”.

A closer view of this perception, while endorsing it prima facie, calls for a deep introspection and brings a none-too-easy “to do” tasks. A sample wish list would include, but not be limited to:
 Restrict the number of new vehicles that hit the city roads daily
 Enforce parking space availability for people buying cars
 Strictly handle the menace of haphazard parking on roads
 Create more parking space – even using multi-storeyed and/or underground structures
 Make public transport available, safe, frequent, affordable
 Discourage use of personal vehicles by levying hefty taxes
 Plan business and work areas (office/factory/etc.) to minimize travel
 Encourage car-pooling (incentives, tax exemptions, concessional parking charges, etc.)

The Author-Mr Sudipto chakravarty

Share your comments here: