Ideas to Deal with India’s Traffic Woes

India doesn’t drive. Despite the explosive growth of private vehicles in Indian cities, public transport
forms the backbone of mobility infrastructure in the country. We may covet and save up for the latest SUV for our weekend trips, but it’s our buses and trains that we depend upon for our daily commute.

In most cities, cars constitute less than 5 percent of the road vehicular population. Take Mumbai for instance, where only three percent of the total population drives to work. Even in cities where car usage is high, such as the capital Delhi, that figure stays at less than 10 percent.

Despite being the backbone of intra-city travel, buses are the most neglected mode of transport in India when it comes to investment. A majority of the investment in public transport goes to commuter rail
systems, with the exception of JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) funds. We need to jump start investment in our bus fleets and their modernization – a sector we have grossly neglected over the past two decades. Modern and efficient buses are hard to come by and older fleets are unable to cope with the rising demands.

The Solution:

Our cities need to systematically target doubling the share of all trips that are made by bus. We need to provide land to bus companies to build terminals and depots, support technology implementation to better monitor & operate their systems, provide operational subsidies to improve quality of service, and financial support to buy better buses.

1. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): Buses are also stuck in traffic jams. The way to extract them out of the congestion is through bus rapid transit. BRT is a cost-effective solution to build mass rapid transit quickly, with good quality of service for urbanites. In 160 cities around the world, the idea has been a great success, including mega cities like Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Guangzhou. In India, five cities (Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, Bhopal and Rajkot) have well-planned BRT in operation. However, incomplete implementation of the Delhi BRT gave the idea of a BRT a bad name in India.

2. Parking Problems: Along with incentivizing buses, there is a need to disincentivize parking on the streets. Today, motorists can park almost anywhere. No amount of off-street parking will magically make private vehicles vanish from our streets. A large part of the chaos on Indian roads can be blamed upon disorganised parking – it impedes traffic flow, pedestrian movement and the smooth functioning of public transport.
Poorly-planned on-street parking results in ‘cruising for parking’, double parking, and waiting – an all too common sight on our streets.

Mass transportation
plays an important role in a country’s day-to-day travel. Hence, we need solutions that will guarantee smooth running of these services. And explore these solutions at the TrafficInfraTech and the ParkingInfraTech Expos, 2017 in Hyderabad. The platform where technology answers all our woes.