Sunday, January 31, 2010

28. Jam today, jam tomorrow

Sigmund Freud would have retracted his words had he been on Delhi roads, or for that matter on roads in Bogota, Bangkok, Mumbai or even Munich. Freud had said that `if you have been breastfed then you ought to be optimistic'. Breastfed most of us are but I suspect if we are optimistic about easing of traffic congestion on roads. Each widened road or elevated intersection causes further congestion, mocking at transport planners who made us think otherwise. Simply put, each improved road means an added incentive for more cars to flood the streets.

The elevated roads are far from being badly designed, as Delhi's Lt Governor has recently felt, instead they release supressed demand for cars. Delhites are indeed expressing their suppressed demand - by adding over 1,000 new personal vehicles on city’s overstretched roads each day; by switching from small to medium and from medium to big car in a reasonably short time; and by increasing the per capita number of cars. This is true for most cities in the world, I'm told. No surprise, therefore, it was jam yesterday, it is jam today and it will be jam tomorrow.

Well-known transport theorist Martin Mogridge reckoned that traffic speed could be doubled just by reducing space for cars. Howsoever logical, it is quite unlikely that if car manufacturers will ever reduce production and if people will ever stop buying cars. Not only is car a status symbol but it helps in monopolising city roads. Ironically, sustained congestion only pushes carbon-friendly cycles, rickshaws and hand-held carts out from roads without in anyway easing traffic snarl.

Did I hear people saying that the climate is changing?


Vinay said...

The govt. should ban the banks from granting loans for personal vehicles.
The availability of easy loan brings the congestion of tomorrow on the roads today itself. Thus the speed of making flyovers can never match the addition of cars on the roads.Amongst the people who are responsible for traffic planning there is no one who is not aware of the problems of incessant jams. But we never hear a word about what is being done to combat it. Is Shiela didi listening?

Kabir said...

I think AP Shah heard your words while giving his judgement, but he is retired now....

Sheila didi BRT should be extended to Ring Road and outer ring road of Delhi