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The Traffic Quagmire – Using Logic & Rationality the Right Way

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Metro RailTraffic

Vasanth - your post ‘Using Technology the Right Way’ made good reading.

We can come up with umpteen reasons for the chaos that traffic is, but simply put, there is just one real core issue – the city is trying to cope with traffic loads for which it’s road network certainly was never designed nor envisaged. Despite having lost the battle time & again, all efforts so far have been to satisfy the ‘Car lobbies’, even at the expense of pedestrians, bicyclists & public transport users. Planning & Construction of the Metro rail is the only exception.Plans, policies & procedures that involve a multi-dimensional approach to seek long-term & permanent solutions have never materialized, though efforts have been made.

BMTC had commissioned a feasibility study for a bus-based mass rapid transit system. The study, completed in 1999, had identified a promising network of 20 bus routes, composed of twin central rings intersected by 8 radial routes. A pilot 12-km line from Jayanagar to Shivajinagar was estimated to cost Rs.39.5 crores. This had included the corridor and depot infrastructure and 35 special-purpose buses. Assistance was also available from SIDA (Swedish Industrial Development Agency). This never saw the light of day as the authorities did not seem to muster enough courage to face the backlash that was anticipated from the industrialists & the ‘Pro-Growth Forces’ when road space would be consumed to build the bus-ways. If attempts had been started then, by now, the city might have been better positioned.

Even today, it is often stated time & again that the available street space is far too low. This position is then used to argue not only to widen streets, but build additional elevated roads. Only recently has construction of an off-road public transport system commenced (Metro-rail). It is worth considering if the available road space is being managed properly or not. Whilst additional roads are also needed, the available street space needs to be managed much better. The essential question is, of course, how is the available street space going to be allocated amongst competing types of users ?

Road widening & building new elevated ones has only benefited one type of user – the motorized vehicle owner, whilst leaving out all other types of users. Instead, if the focus were shifted to street based rapid bus systems (with buses offering superior ride quality) at the expense of motorized private vehicles, solutions would be nearer, as vehicle owners would soon begin abandoning their vehicles & prefer these buses, but then, do the authorities have the nerve to convince the public at large & particularly the strong ‘Car Lobbies’ to see this through ? In Delhi, rapid bus has already become a ‘Controversial Issue’, with the media appearing to support the car using public, instead of being sympathetic to government efforts.


tsubba's picture

welcome back naveen.

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welcome back naveen. 39.5 crore for 12km BRTS! absolutely amazing!! Piddly underpasses are costing more than that these days. 2007 estimates for BRTS 12 crore/km. In 8 years the cost has gone up 4 times!!! costs will keep going up. meanwhile BMLTA has finally approved the CTTP. there are no perfect plans. now i think it is time for actually executing, whatever plan we have. another member a piercing comment ... "You should read Bangalore's CDP for 2005 created way back in 1995. Reading the CDP, you'd imagine a world class city by 2005. But you know what state we are in." regarding BRTS, BMTC, Mono etc etc just to take off from where we had left off, check blrsri's logs on travel in the buses and this is Murali Sir's letter to the ToI yesterday solid piece on some of the points we had discussed. --------------------------------- HCBS model has serious flaws Muralidhar Rao in ToI March 25, 2008 Curitiba in Brazil supposedly pioneered this model, following which quite a few other cities wo rl dw i d e adopted it. In India, a team of technocrats from IIT, Delhi have been advocating this model from long, and as a result, New Delhi has just launched one route on these lines, with a few more to follow. The Delhi experiment has been receiving a lot of flak in the media, which though the supporters of the model would like to label as the propaganda by Metro/Mono rail lobbies. Allowing for 20+20 ft for dedicated lanes on either side of a 10-foot wide median to accommodate the access structures, it will leave only 50 ft for everything else on a 100-foot (between outer edges of drains on either side) road, like the one in Indiranagar. Now, if you provide for 20-foot lanes on either side for general traffic, which in itself is going to be crammed, you get a balance of 5 ft on either edges for drains, footpaths, and utility lines, etc. This will be the end of the majestic trees along this road. The question is: How many roads do you have of this width in Bangalore? Supposing in any given route direction, BMTC is operating at a frequency of a bus every 3 minutes, and the buses are moving at an average speed of 10 kmph, there will be a gap of 500 metre between any two buses. If a lane is dedicated exclusively for buses, it will then push out 100 other vehicles from this 500-metre stretch (making for 200 vehicles per km), assuming an average vehicle length of 5 metre, and near bumper-tobumper traffic conditions. This is total under-utilisation of high-demand city road space. If the cost of this much land is factored into project costing, particularly in cities like Bangalore, then the differential between the Metro Rail and HCBS will narrow considerably. Rather than dedicated lanes, total ban on private vehicles (vehicles other than buses, taxis and autos) on select stretches during peak hours would be preferable. In Bangalore, the BMLTA has been instituted. There is a proposal to strengthen and broadbase it. Once it’s in place, hopefully Bangalore will open out the sector even to players like Tata, TVS, with more freedom rather than pursuing the BRT model.
satish shile's picture


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i am satish. i happened to see your blog as i was searching for info on pre-cast elements and its usage in bangalore. i am working with deccan herald as reporter. i need to talk to naveen and others who wrote extensively on pre-cast elements. how do i reach them? my contact number is 9844213028.

Naveen's picture

Thanks TS

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TS - Many Thanks.

Also, read yr posts 'Stasis' & 'Fruits' under 'Think Traffic, Think Solutions' - very accurate & correct.

I will revert with a post about Murali Sir's ideas about HCBS later.

Naveen's picture

Hi Satish Shile !

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Hi !

My Contact Nos. are:

Mob: 9945562470;  Res: 25935112.

Tried to call you, but no. is engaged continuously - naveen.

s_yajaman's picture

UITP - Int. Ass. of Public Transport - calling for papers

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TS, et al

UITP has called for papers on public transport for its exhibition in Vienna in June 2009.

Anyone interested in sending in a paper on public transport in Bangalore? We could send it in Praja's name. See link



Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

tsubba's picture


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thanks sri. not a bad idea at all. it need not be a generic praja. all authors should be listed. i am hoping naveen, murali sir, sudhir have seen that. though remember most of these conferences have no podium, no paper policy. unless somebody can go, or we get somebody going to present our paper, they will not publish it. nevertheless it might be a worthwhile exercise to think about a paper or even a short paper even or even an article even. some ideas... a citizen's review of BMTC services. a review of the CTTP. i am hoping naveen, murali sir, sudhir have seen that. and can come up with some feasible topic. i volunteer for work on diagrams and pictures, editing, revision, latexing etc etc...
murali772's picture

a critique on BRTS

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The full text of the article, a shortened version of which appeared under 'guest column' in TOI yesterday, has been posted under the blog captioned 'need for BRTS' as the first comment. Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Paper on CTTP

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Hi TS - I could do something re. CTTP if praja wishes to submit a paper on the subject. Actually, if you remember, BMRC had dfirected me to RTI the UDD for more info abt implemention of CTTP & other modes of mass transport, etc. So, I am preparing a ltr to RTI them. Whilst doing this, I am referring to the CTTP quite a lot.

 Do let me know.

tsubba's picture


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awesome naveen. sure might be a good idea. i am looking at existing travel characteristics chapter, for a while. some numbers are very wierd from what we have been reading for a while. if possible, send me the draft. its ok if the sections are not filled up. just to get the general trend of the work.
ramesh_mbabu's picture

Delhi is showing the way for corporatisation of public transport

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Have a look at

Hopefully in the right direction.


blrsri's picture

draw lines..

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Place- Bull temple road(near turn towards hanumanthanagar)

Chaos reigned till yesterday at the junction where right turn was treated as  a free left turn and busses and all other vehicles simply drove on the opposite lane with disdain!

However yesterday was a plesant surprise..all vehicles were moving peacefully without encroaching on the opposite lane and turing at the right place..what made this happen? cops? no!

It was just drawing of two white lines on the road! We are not unruly if there are visible rules! Lets see if it works in days to come..however one thing is true..lane markings on road will sure bring some order to traffic!

kbsyed61's picture

Revamp the whole traffic infrastructure !

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I would suggest that all concerned take a pragmatic view of situation on the ground and take steps to ease some of our traffic and commuter issues. It is a reality that:

  1. B'lore roads are narrow and there is hardly any space left for widening specially which are built over couple of decades back.
  1. Traffic is going to increase many folds.

Having said that, I strongly believe that with the scientific and realistic approach we can decongest B'lore traffic to a large extent. That should be done with 2 prang strategy.

1. The newly developed areas should be built with wider roads, signal less junctions and with space for pedestarians, bicycles and with ample space for mass transit stations / stops.

2. Revamp the whole traffic infrastructure for the existing ones.

I would comment on #2 as # 1 is self explanatory. A complete overhaul approach should be adopted in order to decongest the trrafic.

A. Need to do a comprehesive study / survey of present day main roads, arterial roads, junctions, Public Transport services, private transports and financial aspects of policing the traffic.

B. Based on the study and its analysis it should not be difficult to:

  1. Make all the Major Intersections specially in Central areas Signal free (atleast in Heavy traffic directions). Solution - Magic Underpasses?
  2. Skybirdges/safe paths for pedesterian crossings at all Intersections.
  3. Rationalize the whole BMTC routes with more Transit Centers.
  4. Instead of area destined, make BMTC busses ply more on Major Roads lengths. Example, run busses on Mysore Road more frequently that would go upto Mysore road transit center. Then full/small size busses running on roads which runs perpendicular to Mysore Road.
  5. Institute PPP for running buses/vehicles serving area schools
  6. Private vehicles on weekdays should be discouraged.
  7. Stagger the working hours for different commuters like office goers to start early, schools to delay a bit etc.
Hope my thoughts becomes visible to all those who matters.


ssheragu's picture

Excellent  i glipmsed

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i glipmsed through what you have said and I generally agree with may of your suggestions as it close to my line of thinking

Srinath Heragu

ssheragu's picture

Excellent Point # 1 - New

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Point # 1 - New areas / layouts should be built with wider roads (MINOR ROADS SHOULD BE TWO LANES ON EACH SIDE & MAJOR ROADS SHOULD BE FOUR LANE ON EACH SIDE), signal less junctions and with space for pedestarians, (GREENERY ON EITHER SIDE OF ROAD),  bicycles and with ample space for mass transit stations / stops.

Point # 2 - Skybirdge safe paths for pedesterian crossings (SHOULD HAVE ESCALATORS) crossings at all Intersections; PLEASANTLY & COMPFORTABLY SLOPING UNDERPASSES SHOULD BE PROVIDED PEDESTRAINS

Point # 3 -  Rationalize the whole BMTC routes with more Transit Centers (DEDICATED & EXCLUSIVE BUS LANES BETWEEN SATELLITE & INTER MODAL TRANSIT TERMINALS


santsub's picture

Continuing on Road devl in new areas

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I think we shoud bring in the 3 lane and 5 lane systems. 3 lanes here I mean a turn lane in the middle where there are many turns on a main road so that thru traffic can move on while the ones to turn can enter the center turn lane and yield to traffic in the opp direction and turn. similarly 5 lane roads work where there is a broader road. Other places they should have turn lanes at junctions so that vehicles dont have to wait for signal to change on the main road and block traffic flow. comment guidelines

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