Hyderabad City in Dire Need of China Wall Dividers on Roads

Purnima Sriram, The New Indian Express, 7th January 2016

Increasing density in traffic is  choking roads in the city, a concern shared by every emerging metropolitan in India. A recent survey by cab company Ola states  that that the average car driving speed in Hyderabad is 19 kmph during peak hours. We are only better  than Bengaluru (18) and Kolkata (17) which have been rated as slowest of all metros. But every problem demands a ‘smart’solution and if we can swear by Telangana government’s  word, then Hyderabad has aced the required solutions to meet  the high density traffic demands of city.

The state  government recently announced multi-level flyovers, skywalks and signal-less junctions will  be developed at 54 places in the city. But will these solutions be effective to tackle traffic woes in the city? Answering to this question Laxman  Rao, HOD of JNTU Civil Engg department, which teaches traffic management as a core subject said,  “The state of traffic management plan is absolutely poor. Around 25 lakh vehicles interacting on these  corridors per day and put to a delay of more than 15 minutes of delay on an average. When we calculate value of travel time it records to `4,000  crore per annum is the congestion price which includes vehicle operating cost, value of person to that time , health etc. Local area planning with  demand, supply, and system analysis are to be conducted. Critical locations  are to be treated with technology and personnel traffic management by L& T people. Pedestrians are to be facilitated at most importance on side walk and continuity of side  walk,” he said. He also suggested a few practices that would surely be effective to control the nerve wrecking traffic.

“All the vehicles  are to be tagged with LED based display system with sensor of horn tracking. Every road user will emotionally behave when ever he opts for horn and drives in  rash creates risk. Camera technology should be used to track the violations of speed, horn keeping with  this technology. All the road assets must be digitized and geo referenced  with advanced technologies and plan to update the land use changes, geometric deficiencies and traffic problems. City mirror on roads are to be mapped and placed in Central Hall. Central hall should be  established for online monitoring of traffic on Geo fenced roads. e-Measurement book with all analytics should be given to  police, engineers, planners for online  recording of the violations, illegal occupations and road user tracking systems. This will be recorded in central hall. Third dimension mapping of the city should be developed,  it leads for solving the problem of congestion, creates geometric viable roads, water stagnations and road  deteriorations can be avoided. Accountability, efficiency and transparency are going to be tagged.”

Instead of flyovers, can we construct  underpasses in Hyderabad like Benguluru? “Under passes are not successful. This is by taking into account of road use behaviour and embedded construction of supportive services in the city,” he says. Mamidi Bharath Bhushan, Secretary, CARPED, and also a renowned environmental  activist said, “Changing the road width is not the only solution. We have alarming rate of road accidents. IT corridor of Hyderabad had about 3,000 road accidents in  2015.”  Questioning on the smart ways which the city can adopt to increase efficiency in clearing traffic blocks, Bharath opined, “There is a need to decongest certain areas to overcomeeverybody travelling to some pockets    the city. Long term measures equire zoning regulations’ and reallocation of functions across the city. Short term measures like road  widening or flyovers will not help much except making the city lose its face. That way city’s shakal badal tha magar pareshani  kam nahi hota.

Problems due to inadequate traffic police and unmanned junctions is a serious problem. Permanent road dividers like China walls for a few kms may help traffic police to see that traffic moves in particular direction.”  The recent announcement of multi-level flyovers across the city at 54 crucial junctions has surely sowed hopes in Hyderabadi commuters. In  this regard, the activist said multi level flyovers may avoid the traffic problem for some part of the road,  but that’s is not solution if those who get back to the ground are again part of the same old problem of traffic congestion and jams. “That doesn’t  seem to answer the problem fully. and roads are not only for those having cars and traveling long distances. what about all other types of road users? what about pedestrians?,” he questions. “Long term solutions need to incorporate  public transportation and minimal use of private means of transport solutions like odd-even are must and we need to introduce such rules immediately before it is too late,”  he beams.