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Bus Bays - Traffic management is 'space' management

If we really think about it, traffic management boils down to efficient 'space' management. How best do you manage the utilisation of a finite commodity like space on the streets? All measures taken or discussed to de-congest, improve, smoothen traffic by advocating lane discipline, platooning, sync signal lights, parking, foot paths, lesser private vehicles, efficient public transport, car pooling etc boils down to this. MANAGE AVAILABLE ROAD SPACE.

All these need fail proof, non-tamperable, non-discriminatory, permanent, long term solutions which HAVE to be followed by one and all. Also there is no 'magic wand' solution. A beginning has to be made and then fine-tuned.

Consider this proposal:

Notice how buses park randomly, blocking traffic. Wrongly assuming this to be a social problem, several attempts have been made to 'educate' the commuter to stand on the footpath, auto drivers to not park at bus stops and the bus driver to park next to the kerb and only at designated stops. But to no avail.

An associated problem of random boarding / alighting at signal lights & unscheduled stops as also dangerous foot board travelling was solved with expensive automatic doors. But the ability to control these doors was again vested with the same callous, couldn't-care-less driver. And he ended up subverting a good system by either not closing the doors or opening them at signal lights. And how did we 'Indians' react? Stop fixing buses with these doors thinking they did not serve the intended purpose. Whose fault was it? The door or the human behind it?

The solution to any social problem is a balance between usage of machines and humans. And it is also true that lesser the human interference, the better the efficiency of machines. This is the way the developed countries developed. If our approach had been technological, what would the solution have been?

Factor out the rarely ‘responsible, conscientious, Human’. Devise a simple system whereby these doors can be opened only at the bus stops. A very simple lever mechanism which is tripped to open the doors only if the bus is parked within a certain distance from the kerb and only at the designated bus stop. When the bus moves away, the doors automatically close. Like with trains & trams, you have created an exclusive corridor, sans the track. Human psychology does the rest.

When people realize that there is no ’adjust-maadi’ human in charge, other vehicles and people automatically keep off this area. The bus drivers have no option. Civic authorities will ensure proper tarmac. Its either that or ‘inoperable doors & no bus service’ . And the same commuters who stood on the roads will ensure adherence coz the machine can't be manipulated.

Simple, ingenious, cost-effective, long-term? But why hasn’t it been done yet? That’s because the people ‘capable’ of suggesting such change are busy assembling billion dollar imported toys to send to the moon, debating e=mc2 & The Big Bang Theory or building useless, outdated planes, tanks, guns & ships which even our own armed forces shun. The rest of us are busy financing this addiction for all things hi-tech and phoren.

It would be the simplest thing in the world for the members of Praja to find the talent , skill and resources to make a prototype and demonstrate the benefits to the powers that be.

If enough of us agree here, then we can take it forward. comment guidelines

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