BENGALURU: Bengaluru’s notorious traffic jams are a topic often discussed in offices across the country as well as internationally. In the coming years, the situation is set to worsen as the city’s vehicle population has officially crossed 80 lakh, five times more than what Bengaluru roads can officially handle.
According to figures compiled by the Transport Department, a total of 1752 vehicles are being added daily to Bengaluru roads. This alone has led to the figure touching 80 lakh, not counting the vehicles from out of state. As a result, traffic speeds have slowed down to around 10 kilometres per hour, officials say.
With 93,000 roads in the city, covering 14,000 kilometers, only 17 lakh vehicles can ply at any given time. If this number is maintained, vehicles can move at 40 kilometers per hour, officials say, however, this is rapidly becoming a pipe dream as choked roads are the order of the day currently.
By the end of last financial year (April 2018), Bengaluru had 74.92 lakh vehicles. In the past one year, 6.39 lakh vehicles have been added. While the number of vehicles added daily, at 1752, has increased from 1600 in 2017-18, the width of city roads have largely remained the same.
Transport Commissioner VP Ikkeri told the New Indian Express that widening of roads every year was not possible. “There is no policy at present to restrict the number of vehicles per family. We cannot put a cap on people’s purchasing power. Their attitude has to change and they should start using public transport.”
The increasing traffic within city is also leading to more accidents. Bengaluru roads, which have witnessed 22,000 accidents in the last four years, rank only below Chennai and New Delhi across the country in total number of accidents.
On an average, 15 accidents take place in city limits daily, most often due to bad roads, motorists attitudes and road rage. The Bengaluru Traffic Police have identified as many as 47 accident-prone spots in the city which see more than 5 fatal accidents a year.
Speaking to TNIE, traffic expert Professor MN Sreehari suggested an indirect throttling of vehicle numbers. “They can do this by increasing car parking fees or registration charges. This will make buyers think twice. At the same time, last mile connectivity should also be provided for people to abandon their vehicles at home,” he said.
The rise in number of vehicles is also likely to trigger asthma and breathing problems among commuters who spend a lot of time in traffic.