Ready. Set. DECONGEST.

How each of us can do our part to reduce road congestion

Traffic. We all know it. We all hate it. As much as we like to make it the butt of our jokes & the villain of our stories, it’s something we can only escape so much. And in the past week, pictures of Bengaluru’s clean, traffic-free roads got us thinking. What would it take for us to keep it that way?

We’ve reached a stage where being stuck in traffic has become an essential part of our daily routine. In fact we set aside ‘traffic time’ because we have no other option left. Road congestion has only gotten worse with a huge influx of IT professionals and young people looking to start their career in Bangalore.

The roads are just so crowded..even at 11 pm! If you remember Bangalore 20 years ago, it truly lived up to its reputation as the garden city of India. The roads were free and taking a long drive in the evenings was nothing short of a romantic rendezvous!

It’s time to revive the old traffic-free Bangalore through innovative mobility and traffic management solutions.

A rare glimpse at the city of our dreams: clean, green & blissfully empty

We found a report by BCG (Boston Consulting Group) which concluded that road congestion costs 4 Indian cities 1.45 lakh crore every year. No points for guessing which cities those are. Kolkata leads the pack with the worst congestion in the country, followed by (no surprise) Bengaluru, then Delhi, and finally Mumbai. The study further stated that during peak hours, 7-9 AM & 6-8 PM, commuters were likely to spend one-and-a-half times longer on the road, than non-peak hours.

Bengaluru ranks shamefully high on the list of Asia’s most congested cities. Not the feather we wanted in our caps.

The New Identity

What’s most unfortunate is that traffic and road congestion is now what Bengaluru has come to be associated with. There’s no sugar coating it. Not ‘Garden City’ ‘Pub Capital’ or even ‘ Silicon Valley’. It’s ‘Traffic Capital’, and it’s likely to stick, unless things seriously change around here.

The unprecedented rise in traffic can be attributed to the city’s growing ambitions,  limited infrastructure and staggering vehicle ownership statistics in the city. You must have seen reports about how over 1750 new vehicles are added to the roads every day, and how the vehicular population has far surpassed 80 lakhs.

Lose some, Win some

We began to wonder: what would losing a few cars add to the city?

So we did the math. Assuming the size of the average vehicle in Bangalore to be 25.4 m2 we thought of what we stand to gain, by losing a few cars. Would this actually help avoid a heavy traffic jam?

Here’s what we found.

By getting 40 cars off the road, we could have enough room to build a new Olympic-sized Swimming Pool!

There’s more! If 295 cars went off the road, we could have another Football field. Is that the sound of Bengaluru FC fans, cheering?

Let’s take this up a notch! Had 2868 cars never been bought, we might have another Chinnaswamy Stadium and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru might have another venue to train for the IPL.

We could also squeeze in a Taj Mahal in the space 6693 cars would normally occupy, in case you were wondering.

And for the finale, this one will blow your mind. On the day that Bengaluru would be 47,245 cars short, we could make room for another Cubbon Park. Just a small move towards reclaiming our beloved traffic-free ‘Garden City’ title.

Couldn’t we do with some more of this? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Leave the car behind

It’s time for us to make the difficult decision of choosing what’s better for us as city, as a society and as individuals. While cars may be a necessity in many households, it’s not uncommon to see a car plying with just one or two people inside it. And what sense does that make?

So the next time, choose better to make your city traffic-free. If you’re travelling alone, a Bounce scooter can get you there faster, cheaper and in a third of the space a car would occupy. Let’s make room for the things that really matter and take a vow to minimize road congestion.

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