BENGALURU: If you needed any more proof of the city being one of the toughest to commute by road, here is one. A new study on traffic and urban mobility across Indian cities has placed Bengaluru at the top of the table of cities having the most traffic congestion. In terms of which city is the slowest in India for road traffic, Bengaluru comes second, behind Kolkata.
The working paper, part of a series by the US-based non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research, puts Bengaluru, which has over 75 lakh vehicles, ahead of New Delhi and Mumbai when it comes to congestion. The city also ranks high in the slowest traffic ranking because of its ‘intrinsic’ issues which make it slow for commuters to navigate even in the absence of traffic, according to authors of the study.
There could be a strong case for introduction of ‘congestion charges’ in cities which figure high on the congested list but do not feature as high in the list of slowest cities, the paper says. Introduction of such a fee would help spread the traffic to different time periods, smoothing out the congestion. However, for a city like Bengaluru, which sees slow-moving traffic even in the absence of many vehicles on the road, this might not be the optimal move.
“Given their importance to the Indian economy, these areas with the highest levels of congestion, such as the centre of Bangalore, should be the focus of policy effort to alleviate congestion, and of future research to identify the most effective policies,” the findings state. The authors also compared Indian cities with those in the United States of America and found that the fastest Indian cities were still slower than their slowest American counterparts.
“In general Indian cities do not experience the familiar twin peak congestion patterns due to morning and evening commutes. There is a muted morning peak, and instead a slow buildup of congestion that often persists until late into the evening. Light rainfall appears to speed up traffic slightly,” the researchers observed.
Earlier this year, another paper by Gabriel E. Kreindler with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also said that congestion charges, if adopted by Bengaluru, would not give enough benefits compared to the costs of making motorists travel at inconvenient times.
Most congested cities in India
Cities with slowest traffic
■ Bihar Sharif