Delhi India road traffic

View from India: Mantra for mobility

Image credit: Dreamstime

Online language platform Preply has thrown light on the traffic across many parts of the globe. Mobility is a common issue that crops up across geographies, bringing a host of challenges as well as opportunities to explore.

A Preply study has revealed just how long people across the globe spend waiting in traffic across various parts of the globe. With a population of 23 million, it’s no surprise that New Delhi in India tops the list. The Delhites spend 57.37 minutes per day stuck in traffic, followed by the people of Manila, Philippines, who clock 54.02 minutes per day. London occupies the 10th slot, with Londoners enduring an average of 43 minutes per day. The average UK driver spends almost four years behind the wheel in their lifetime, with eight months of this spent waiting in traffic. The typical driver also clocks up 592,920 miles in their lifetime: enough to travel to the Moon and back or go around the globe 24 times.

The Preply report also researched the cities across the globe which work the most hours per year. The number one city where people work the most hours is Hanoi, Vietnam, with its citizens working on average 2,691 hours, or 10.5 hours a day. The average number of working hours in London, UK, is 2,003. For its part, New Delhi takes third position here, its citizens working an average of 2,511 hours.

Going beyond the report, let’s look at traffic management in places that are congested. Traffic navigation software with real-time updates on road traffic congestion can be one solution. Alerts for last-mile delivery may also contribute towards better traffic management. Tech tools can be optimised for tracking and monitoring vehicular movement. Intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS), which are a common feature in many parts of the globe, can be incorporated here as well. This may include computerised control of traffic lights and dynamic information on road conditions. Smart traffic solutions, speed control devices, sensor networks and alerts on vehicular movement are essential to prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Technology has aided on-demand services and other new mobility business models such as multimodal trip-planning applications. Yet, urban transport woes are multifold. Sound road infrastructure may help fix road transport issues in India. The Union Budget 2022 has indicated that the 'PM GatiShakti Master Plan for Expressways' will be formulated in 2022-23 to facilitate faster movement of people and goods. The National Highways network will be expanded by 25,000km in 2022-23.

We need cleaner or alternative forms of fuel to lower the pollution emitting from the vehicles. Non-motorised options like the bicycle can be promoted as a means of transport. We do have a few startups that have launched smart bicycles for the Indian roads, which now grace some cities. In sync with the ecological pursuit, the Union Budget 2022 has announced the 'National Ropeways Development Programme' in hilly areas. This could be seen as a preferred ecologically sustainable alternative to conventional roads and will be executed through the private public partnership (PPP) mode. The aim is to improve connectivity and convenience for commuters, besides promoting tourism. This may also cover congested urban areas where conventional mass transit system is not feasible. Contracts for eight ropeway projects for a length of 60km are expected to come through in 2022-23.

Shared mobility could be encouraged in a big way. Public transport, be it the buses or metro rails can be a good option. Coming to the public transit systems initiatives such as smart-ticketing and perhaps, one nation-one card system could do well for this segment.   

Traffic management and traffic snarls also present opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs to carve out niche solutions that are noiseless, nonpolluting and energy efficient, benefiting cities and citizens alike.

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