Frustrated with Bangalore ? Our research reveals some interesting findings…

Bangalore… one of the fastest growing cities, also known as India’s Silicon Valley, and a house of more than two million IT workers.

Bengaluru, as it has been officially called since November 2014, is the hub of the $150 billion information technology sector that contributes nearly 10% to India’s GDP.

In fact, Bangalore has become such a powerful city that foreigners dread the term Bangalored– which means losing your job in west. People from all over India flock here to get a job, earn a good living and enjoy a decent lifestyle. The expansion has been so great that it has grown twice its size in past 40 years.

However, this rapid expansion has come at a hefty price. There has been a 6000% increase in the number of vehicles on streets since 1990. And this humongous rise in vehicles have given rise to monstrous traffic. This has now become so great that people have started getting anxiety attacks from just the thought of driving to work.

In last 15 years, the rate of movement of traffic has come down from 40 km/hour to 9 km/hour.

But.. wait a second, do you think population is the reason for this distressing condition of traffic? Or is it something else? Our research reveals some interesting findings.

Is population the reason?

We started with asking ourselves a question, if population is the reason for traffic, then cities with highest population densities should suffer from similar problem.

The below picture shows live traffic in four most populated cities in the world on a Saturday evening.

Live traffic in four cities with highest population densities

Following are the stats for people living per sq. km for the four cities:

1. New York : 10,200 people/km²

2. Washington : 9,800 people/km²

3. Chandigarh : 9,500 people/km² (approx.)

4. Namma Bangalore : 6,000 people/km² (approx.)

However, when we observed the traffic condition in the other three, they showed almost no signs of traffic congestion. And on the contrary, Bangalore, which has lesser population density than the other three, was traffic blocked.

Is city plan the reason?

Once the population was eliminated from the list, we jumped to the next probable cause.

We studied the plans of the above four cities and it revealed some intriguing findings.

We observed that all the well planned cities in the world followed a Grid pattern where, the roads run parallel and across each other. While namma Bengaluru followed a Star pattern. (except in layout areas)

New York has Grid pattern. Whereas, Bangalore has Star pattern.

Grid pattern has an inherent benefit, that to go from point A to point B, you have multiple paths and the traffic gets distributed.

Grid distributes traffic in multiple paths

Whereas, in the Star pattern there is almost always just one (or two) main ways to go from point A to point B which congregates the traffic coming from sub-streets onto one main road.

Star congests traffic in single path

Star pattern is the result of rapid-unplanned growth. And the worst part is the main roads are not wide enough to accommodate the traffic coming from various sub-streets. This causes huge traffic jams on main roads while internal streets remain completely desolate — ineffective distribution of traffic.

Any other reasons?

Other than these, we also found some other reasons which contribute significantly in making Bangalore traffic worst.

  1. Common Office/School timings: School and offices use busses for their employees and students respectively. These busses come on the streets at similar timings and cram the traffic.
  2. Cars: Most IT professionals use cars to travel to work. This takes up a lot of space per person on already narrow streets.
  3. Ineffective public transport: The reason people use cars is because, the public transport is inefficient.
  4. Vicinity of IT parks: Major IT parks in Bangalore are located on single belt, which makes the matters worse on the Bangalore roads.
  5. Us: Yes. Even we are responsible. I agree, there is inefficient traffic management; but if we would follow road discipline ourselves, the situation could become a lot better.

Solution?

“It isn’t that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.” — G.K Chesterton

In the upcoming article let’s discuss the possible solutions.



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