56 Lakh Vehicles on Bengaluru Roads
BENGALURU: Each year at least 5 lakh vehicles hit the city’s roads. With about 56 lakh vehicles on the roads, the city managers are grappling with ways to ease the burden on choked transportation systems. According to the traffic police department, the situation is worsening by the day.
The number of personal vehicles in the city has grown exponentially as a result of rising incomes, say urban experts.
The resultant increase in vehicular density is leading to traffic snarls during peak hours in many areas. According to the Transport Department, every second person in the city owns a motor vehicle. The large number of vehicles without adequate infrastructure is leading to a nightmare.
The state government has failed to control the situation with the increase in vehicle population showing no signs of abating. The government has till date not introduced punitive measures like congestion tax.
At the same time, the public transport system has failed to solve the problem. Close to 50 lakh people depend on city buses operated by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) every day. But there is a limit to how many more buses BMTC can put on the roads.
Most people using two-wheelers believe that there is a huge problem of last-mile connectivity. The same problem is sighted by the IT professionals who have to go to office at various pockets on the periphery of the city like Electronic City, Whitefield and Peenya, among others.
Urban expert Ashwin Mahesh says, “The city lacks a robust public transport system like the Delhi Metro or the local trains in Mumbai. Secondly, the private transport system is not flourishing because of the monopoly being asserted by the government agencies.”
The right approach is to look for inclusive development and the government should seriously look at options besides its own transportation system. There should be a public-private partnership and cooperation, and not competition
— Ashwin Mahesh, Urban expert
No Comprehensive Traffic Measures
Working at solutions in a piecemeal manner by individual departments has been the bane of comprehensive traffic solutions. As one urban planner put it, rarely does one department know what the other is up to. So you have BBMP complain that BWSSB dug up a newly laid road or a new route introduced by Metro does not find enthusiastic travellers due to lack of last mile connectivity.
Common sense dictates that if you do not want people to use their personal vehicles, then a suitable form of alternative transport must be offered to them. The city relies heavily on BMTC buses, which are insufficient in terms of the people it can carry in a day and the frequency of buses it can provide to particular destinations. A city without adequate multimodal forms of transport and non-motorable forms of travel will risk congestion as people will take to their own vehicles in the absence of a comfortable alternative.
Much blame has been placed at the doors of successive state governments who have ignored all other forms of mass transport and focused exclusively on the Metro project, that has been plagued by cost overruns and exhaustive delays in meeting deadlines. Creating lanes for bicycles, proper pedestrian access on pavements, sufficient skywalks, dedicated bus lanes, commuter rail and promoting car pooling are all on paper in various reports to the government, but none have caught their interest.
“The government should implement multimodal forms of transport and stop ignoring plans to introduce more non-road-based solutions. Focusing only on widening roads, and building and expanding flyovers and introducing signal-free corridors will not work. Urban transport infrastructure can only be improved if all involved departments work together to draw a comprehensive plan.” Sanjeev Dyamannavar,
mobility expert and member of PRAJA, an advocacy group