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Bangalore Traffic - problems & solutions

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EnvironmentTrafficPublic Transport

Presentations linked here were made by Mr Dasrathi (CEO of Cadem, Bangalore, and a member of Hasiru Usiru), who, even with being in his mid-forties, uses a bicycle for over 75% of the trips he makes, including client visits. He has stated that anyone may use these presentations in any way - view online, download, distribute, put them in blogs, whatever, as long as the message spreads.

Problems: cproblems-travel-places-nature-ppt-powerpoint/

Solutions: icsolution-travel-places-nature-ppt-powerpoint/

Muralidhar Rao


murali772's picture

biggest problem remains unaddressed

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One thing remains uncovered, and that is the biggest part of the problem - BMTC's monopoly status.  And, for the solutions thereof, check:


Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Bussing – the only sustainable commuting option

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An overall consensus is evolving that the automobile-centric development model pursued so far is not suited to Bangalore (or any of the other Indian cities), and that there has to be a paradigm shift to mobility based on public transport rather than on individualised forms of transport.

Given this premise, let us project a future commuting scenario which will be relevant to a major section of the city’s population.

Commuting time
A) A walk of a maximum of 500 M to the nearest shuttle bus stop - 5 min.
B) Waiting period for the shuttle bus - 5 min.
C) Shuttle bus ride to the connecting Trunk bus stop, or TTMC/ NM (Namma Metro) station - 15 min.
D) Waiting period for the Trunk bus/ NM - 5 min
E) Trunk bus ride say to a distance of 20 Km @ min 20 Kmph - 60 min.
F) Wait for the shuttle bus connection at the destination end - 5 min.
G) Shuttle bus ride - 15 min.
H) Max 500 M walk to the destination - 5 min.

Thus, the total time taken to cover a distance of 20 Km+ will be 115 min. If there isn't a Trunk route linking your destination, an additional interchange may be required at stage (E) above entailing an additional travel time of 5 minutes, making for a total of 120 min.

This is the near - maximum case scenario, barring of course the types who commute between say Whitefield and Bidadi. The average will be well below this level. On a comparison, all of us are already spending far more time than that whatever our present mode of commute.

Commuting Cost
Assuming uniform 'per ride' fare (irrespective of the distance travelled) of Rs 8/- (Rs 20/- for VOLVO) on Trunk buses, and Rs 5/- on shuttle buses, it will cost a commuter Rs 18/- for the 20 Km trip (Rs 30/- in case of VOLVO on Trunk route; and Rs 26/-and Rs 50/- resply if there is an additional interchange). As compared to that, even with a Maruti 800, the fuel charge itself will work out to Rs 120/-; and, with a Hero Honda bike, it will work out to Rs 20/-. If taking an auto, it will cost you Rs 140/-.  

Let us examine each stage and see how things can be made easier for the commuter.

A) Excellent, tree-lined, pedestrian pathways, with automatic right of way (over motorised forms of transport) at road crossings (A study by an expert on urban transport has shown that a large part of the commute is by walk and by bicycle).

B) Aesthetically designed shelters, along bus-bays.

C) The shuttle services will generally be to link the commuter to the Trunk route services (and to NM stations, as and when they are commissioned) closest to the locality. They can generally be operated using the 'Swaraj Mazda' type buses, with generally more standing space than sitting. A typical shuttle circuit will not exceed 10 Km, and, at an average 20 Kmph, even the farthest distance of 5 Km (half of 10 Km) can be covered in 15 min. If the waiting period is not to exceed 5 min, you will need 6 buses per 10 Km circuit. Thus, for an area like Koramagala, with some 3 circuits covering the entire area, you will need a fleet of 18 buses for effective operations during the peak hours.

This service is best farmed out to private service providers.

D) TTMC design will be similar in design to NM station, with all the requisite passenger amenities and facilitation. Both will in addition have 500 M radius pedestrianised zones (barring access lanes for the buses and pick-up and drop-off vehicles) around them.

E) Instead of spreading the services thin on hundreds of routes as at present, if BMTC concentrates on the Trunk routes, it should be in a position to provide services at 5 minute frequency on all the routes even during peak hours. For the buses to be able to achieve a minimum speed of 20 Kmph, lanes have to be marked out for their exclusive use during peak hours. On narrow stretches, private vehicles may even be totally barred from entry (during peak hours).

If the lane dedicating exercise, through just marking, proves ineffective over a 3-month trial period, an attempt may be made to further incentivise the car users to taking to buses by handing over the high-end bus services to (say) TATA's/ TVS.

If this doesn’t prove enough of an incentive, they may then be nudged with the threat of embarking on instituting permanently dedicated lanes with physical barriers, sector by sector, like in Delhi.

The dedicated lanes can have under/ overpasses at junctions. On narrow stretches, these may be one-way dedicated lanes, with the return routes being along parallel roads.

Size of Operation
The total number of vehicles on Bangalore roads, as per CTTP-07, was supposed to be 32 lakhs. Of this, the %ages for the different types of vehicles, users of which could be made to switch to using buses, was as at W in the table below, accounting for numbers as at X.

Assuming 80% of cars and 2-wheelers, and all the autos, being used during peak hours, the total number of these vehicles on the roads (at the peak hour) is seen as at Y. Further, assuming that 90% of cars and auto’s and 95% of 2-wheelers are carrying just one passenger, and the remaining carrying just 2 passengers, the number of people traveling totals as at Z.

The report by Dr Madhav Badami (visiting professor at IIM-B) had indicated that unlike in the West, a very high %age of trips made by people in Indian cities was for commuting for work and education related purposes. Assuming this at a conservative 50% of the 25 lakh odd people traveling, and assuming that they can all be made to switch to using buses, the number of buses required (with average capacity of 50 passengers, including standing) would be over 25,000.


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% of total


Total numbers


Peak time usage


People involved































And, these 25,000 will eliminate the usage of nearly half of the 23,74,400 vehicles (the figure in the last row under Y), leaving a nett of just 12,12,200 vehicles.

This, and more, can be achieved if the bus services are operated efficiently, simultaneously solving many of the traffic related problems faced by the city.

This is where the private sector could come in, particularly since this size and level of operation cannot anyway be left to be handled by the monopoly BMTC. The private sector will be more than happy to invest in the Rs 3,000 cr required for the 25,000 buses, at say an average Rs 12 lakhs per bus, if its entry is properly facilitated by necessary policy initiatives.

The advantage of the bus is its cost-effectiveness and flexibility, compared to any other existing system in the world. And, for those who swear by METRO, it will perhaps come as a surprise to know that the London Bus Service, between its 8,000 odd buses(over 90% privately operated), carries nearly 6.5 million passengers every day, about twice that carried by the London METRO (known better as UNDERGROUND), built over almost a century with huge capital outlays.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Couple of corrections

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E) Trunk bus ride say to a distance of 20 Km @ min 20 Kmph - 60 min.

Any trunk route designed to give only 20KMPH avg speed is a waste. 20kmph is the avg speed for buses with non dedicated lanes. Buses I think already do 16kmph right now in Bangalore. Metro, Mono, Tram, BRTS all with dedicated lanes travel at an avg of 35kmph. It can be higher if stations are spaced further apart.

C & G) Shuttle bus ride - 30 min

At 20kmph the shuttle bus on non dedicated street ride from both ends is covering 10kms + 1 km walk to bus stand

So your total travel time is actually 90 mins for 31kms not 120 or 115 for 20kms

asj's picture

Not really

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BRT speeds average 25kph.

In fact London Tube and Mumbai Locals do between 30-35kph

An exclusive ROW does not equate with speed - its determined by number of rolling stock (buses / trains) per route, time tables, number of bus stops, number of signals (even BRT buses have some waiting times at signals as also trains)...... London buses (and Mumbai) both penalise drivers for getting to destionations and stops before time - I have been on buses with entire road empty and the drivers driving slowly or waiting more than minute or two at bus stops to keep with time tables.

I have also recently shown that when one reduces number of bus stops that = more walking (8 minutes for half km, 12 for 750m and 16min for 1 km). Factor that in when discussing speeds of BRTS / Metro trains as these will not exactly be next to our doorsteps but on main roads (given that our metro systems are elevated on main roads). So they will be far and few in between.

Does speed matter? Average commute in Pune = 8km. 16 min at 30kph, 12 @40, 9.6 @50 and 8 @ 60.

Increased speeds are possible only on trunk routes, increased speeds also may make travel less safe unless money is spent on safety measures - but to get to a trunk route adds to travel time (whether one walks or takes a feeding bus).

Concept of feeders = take Mumbai and London, two successful models of TBS = concept of feeders is virtually unknown. When concept of feeders is introduced it automatically means there is greater focus on trunk routes, it means interchanges = more waiting times = ultimately the advantage of focusing on speed = minimal (unless your commute is well above the average 8-12km).

BTW - there are studies that have said bus lanes are useless unless roads are 70-90% saturated. In short, if there is no saturation, with or without bus lanes, speeds are similar. But how do we know if a road is saturated when a city has an irrational bus service or none / symbolic service as in Pune where people take to personal vehicles due to lack of decent PT - if London carries 6.5m and Mumbai 4.5 (with 3k buses) - what stops Pune and Bangalore from having a bus service that carries 60% of its current population - do that and then check how many roads are really saturated.

Bottom line as far as I am concerned - keep it simple, focus on reliability and not speed, coverage and minimal interchanges and not trunk routes (I have shown how this can be done on the bus route / frequency rationalisation  thread).

idontspam's picture

not a substitute

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Frequency rationalization is not a substitute for feeder based trunk routes. Just because London has optimized its bus routes does not mean it does not need the tube. Just stop all lines of the tube for a day completely and see how the 3 to 4 million tube users can bring the bus system down.

In my opinion, it is never an either-or situation. We have seen that even if an optimized bus route may cater to the traffic as of yesterday, you will be short 5 years down the line. Stockholm built its tvärbanan (crossways tram) as late as year 2000 to connect trunk metro routes and cover the intermediate locations.

I maintain the feeder based services as the most effective way to increase reach of BMTC and leverage the train/tram based trunk routes. I somehow find us settling for a single solution as panacea for all ills.
asj's picture

A thing for a place and place for a thing

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Never said a TBS is a substitute. I was pointing to facts most subtle and oft sidelined by attraction to concepts of poshness and speed that people refer to when talking about systems others than a TBS.

Try this - imagine a tube network in London without the buses!!! Imagine a tube network with a bus network that is not rationalised with regards its routes and frequencies.

We are too quick to compare emerging cities that don't have simple basics with cities like London and NY. London has a population of ~ 8m. With 6.5m are on the buses, 3.5m on tubes and yet their roads are packed to a point of needing a £8 congestion charge - its not hard to imagine that 1.5 to twice the population is on the move. We have discussed elsewhere and talked about Heathrow Express and dreams of something similar in Bangalore - all without basic maths (Heathrow has over 70m users against Bangalore's 10).

For cities that have not even known to have a basic bus service to de novo focus on Metro rail and BRT on grounds of speed is not good enough - it will never solve anything.

Feeder services - here I was pointing to semantics that lead to wrong policies. A Metro can act as a feeder if someone's final leg was on a bus too. My point is to get away from terminology that puts emphasis and importance on one over the other when in fact one can't do without the other.

Mind you, without TDM, none of this will work. In 04-05 I workedd at the North end of London. A 15 mile journey - tubes took 2 hours, buses even longer (as distance increases speed becomes relevant) - I used neither. I used my car daily doing 90 minutes on average one way.

In contrast today I was at a conference at Oxford Circus - similar distance - 90 minutes by tube, would have been less by car but I did not use the latter because of £8 congestion charge and £10 parking for whole day.

Without TDM its a lost cause whatever one does.

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