HYDERABAD: Are the city flyovers causing more pollution? Yes, says the State of Environment Report (SoER) sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. “Contrary to popular belief, flyovers can increase vehicle carrying capacity of the roadway by only about 30 per cent. The benefits of a flyover/underpasses are always concentrated in a very small geographical area (often less than a km).
The congestion relief is also short-lived as the initial increase in speed brought about by the flyover/underpass encourages more people to take this section of roadway and within no time it returns to its original state of congestion. Flyovers/underpasses essentially move the bottlenecks further down the traffic stream and usually with greater intensity. They also deteriorate the pedestrian environment and bus users have to walk further to access busses - which are more often than not precluded from using the flyover. Therefore, flyovers not only result in “inducing” more private vehicular travel but also drastically increase emissions,” the report observed.
With the frequent traffic snarls, the public is avoiding public transport resulting in more private vehicles. The vehicular growth during 2005 to 2016 is large. The number of vehicles per thousand population in 2005 shows an overall 81.8 vehicles per 1,000 population, whereas during 2016 it was 253 vehicles per 1,000 population, which was more than twice the number of vehicles for the same number of people. “This is a clear indication that people are finding public transport inadequate in serving their travel needs,” the report stated.
Due to traffic, the percentage of kilometres operated per bus decreased by 5.49 per cent in Hyderabad and decreased 9 per cent in Rangareddy district, the report found.
According to the report, which was approved by the State government recently, only 8 per cent of the roads in the Hyderabad have footpaths. Bicycle tracks are limited to few isolated stretches in the western part of the city. The plight of the non-capital region is worse.
The pedestrian environment around and leading to bus stops is in a dire situation across the state. Insufficient lighting, unhygienic surroundings and inadequate waiting areas discourage patrons from utilising public transportation.
Intermediate public transportation is becoming increasingly popular as it offers no-wait service. People are willing to pay much more than the bus fare to auto-rickshaws and mini taxis for the better frequency, the report stated.