Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pune Traffic: Any long-term solutions

The situation: I happen to run into a number of people who complain about Pune’s traffic situation (”Pune in the Fast lane? No way!” - Times of India). The roads are bad, pot-holed and congested to no end. I understand their frustration. I categorize most folks into 3. Those who want to do something about it, those who don’t care about it much and finally, those who just want to leave the city and its problems behind.

I would like to get in touch with friends and citizens of the city interested in solving this issue. The idea is to try to come up with an overview of any long-term plans in the pipeline relevant authorities (Central Institute of Road Transit?) might have, analyze them for deficiencies. If there isn’t such a plan, then we need to make sure the authorities sit up and take notice. Perhaps if the situation were to remain in constant public focus, a lot more resources would be devoted to solving the issue.

The cause: I came across this article on Suresh Kalmadi’s web-site (”Dealing with Pune’s sloow traffic“) that stated the following reasons for poor/congested traffic flow:

  1. Heavy vehicles using the city as a transit point, they usually slow down and congest traffic.
  2. Inadequate parking infrastructure.
  3. Enroachments on footpaths, poor pedestrian discipline.

It appears that the focus has been to build wider roads, build highways that bypass the city entirely and to enforce better discipline (I don’t see much of that claimed enforcement around these parts). The current approach has helped alleviate the conditions, but it appears that the growth in traffic originating within the city will easily outpace both road-widening attempts, flyovers and other attempts to improve the city’s existing roads. Somehow, parking infrastructure has been neglected entirely, people are still allowed park along most roads, even those that are critical arteries for the city. The roads are also in very poor shape and probably cost the authorities a fortune to maintain, aggravating delays and congestion.

I am of the opinion that Pune’s roads have been stretched far and wide enough.

Some Internet aware organizations exist that also want to solve the problem. Their focus lies with self-discipline, observing traffic rules, minimizing pollution by making sure vehicles are tuned and so on (Save Pune Traffic). While road discipline is important, I don’t think one can ignore the core problem - the existing infrastructure cannot support the volume of traffic. I also spoke to Harshad Abhyankar who responded to my query on the SPTM site. He is unaware of any long-term plans put in place.

Initial thoughts: Cheap Mass transit, rail, below ground maybe. I think Pune Municipal transport buses are also a big part of the problem. Get the citizens off the roads, off their two wheelers, out of their rickshaws and onto tracks on trains or trams. The idea is to maintain the trip between any two points within the core city area to within 10 minutes by rail. Important areas would include, main-City, Nal-stop, parts of Cantonment, Shivajinagar, Deccan, University and other congested areas.

At first, the idea seems to be an expensive proposition. Rail will also never be able to rival PMT’s extensive service coverage of popular destinations and the accessibility of PMT bus stops. Building a rail network will probably take ages while Pune traffic will continue to congest, pollute, delay and harm citizens. Despite the negatives, I think that a radical change in mass transit is necessary to ensure that the city’s growth does not outstrip its existing transport infrastructure.

Perhaps this idea has already been discussed and labeled as not feasible. But the need still remains. A long-term solution is needed that moves massive number of people efficiently and beats the use of surface roads. If you have any feedback or related information, I would look forward to hearing from you.

(This post originally appeared on Sukshma.net)

31 comments:

Medha Purandare said...

Public transport is major factor causing traffic jams in Pune. I will be happy to travel in tram as I once upon a time did travel in Mumbai. It doesn't affect bus transport,so trams can be utilised as addl.facility to control no.of two wheelers,three wheelers on road.

Moreover, if Delhi can get metro railway, why Pune should lag behind? Sounds over expectation? Since Pune is becoming favourite of IT industries, it needs to be pampered first with infrastructural facilities.

sniper said...

read my blog and u will know what's the real face of pune di transport and one is left with no option but to buy his/herown 2wheeler.

Santosh said...

Thanks for your comments.

I am starting to realise there is only so much one can do through Blogs, Newsgroups and the Internet. Any real impact is still exclusively the domain of print and television media. Case in point, IIPM still publishes full page ads with questionable claims in leading dailies. This despite the fact that a majority of desi blogs attempted to discredit those claims.

Gurudatta Raut said...

1) Create Roads for outsiders out of the city with toll for it reducing ours.

2) Take a survey, connect and widen roads where people move max from one point to another.

3) Flovers , Flyunders , Subways (without uphills or downhills) and signalless circular junctions that eliminate current places like university circle, FC rd end, shivajinagar etc etc. And one ways instead of signals like the Garware Bridge, Yes this is as good as Space Science.

Anonymous said...

Read a true punekars blog at agneya.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Read a true punekars blog at agneya2.blogspot.com
regarding illegal cyber crimes in Pune.

Vishal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vishal Kelkar said...

Well Pune needs
1. Very good roads (wide and free of potholes and encroachments).
2. Efficient public transport. PMT is not at all efficient.
3. Disciplined people. Punekars love to break traffic rules. So better policing in traffic. May we take help of some high tech solutions?

This will result is better traffic and more importantly reduce pollution which is I think one of highest in India.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree wtih most of you. I think many of the solutions mentioned including trams, wider roads even better surfaced roads are kind of long term.

The present and immediate solution is to optimise the current available infrastructure. The biggest menace is the lack traffic discipline. Rarely do you come across signals where two wheelers and rickshaws dont dart across red signals (any time of day or night). People travelling in the wrong corridor of the road as matter of right, especially after 9pm. Lane discpline is almost non existent. I guess the coordinated signals would be welcome. Proper barricades along road closures would be welcome.

All these may seem pretty simple but would go a long way in improving the comfort level of the drivers and reduce stress levels considerably.

Bivi said...

I think biggest problem is the utter disrespect for traffic rules and the concept of sharing the road. people driving like crazy making a bad situation worst.

I visit the city every year (live in the US) and ofcourse drive around and every year things get worst. this year i was there in May and all the roads were dug up. drivers were making things worst by trying to get ahead of each other.

Pune drivers think the "Red Signal" is for street decoration and lets not just blame the riskshawalas all my engineer/doctor (the so called well educated) friends were skipping red lights as if they didnt exist.

oh ya the "Horn", whats up with that, pune driver think the horn is a substitute for Brakes, the car in front slows down they dont step on the brake , they HONK.... so much noise pollution.

It is so easy to blame the govt for not having Buses, Rails etc... but has anyone thought how many times they break the traffic rules and dont give a rats a***

I beleive these are basic manners that all of us follow in our own home, then why not on the roads??

Adhiraj Joglekar said...

Much of the world wide web is full of sarcasm & mocking of driving on Indian roads. This site http://driving-india.blogspot.com/ has been created with the purpose of providing driver education and training rather than criticism.
The driver education is to be provided by way of a series of short videos focusing on concepts and principles most Indian drivers are unaware about. The goal is to move beyond the traditional clutch-accelerator training provided by the otherwise friendly neighbourhood driving instructor.

Currently 14 video's are available -

Video 1: Covers the concept of Blind spots
Video 2: Introduces the principle of Mirrors, Signal and Manoeuvre
Video 3: At red lights, stop behind the stop line
Video 4: At red lights there are no free left turns
Video 5: The Zebra belongs to pedestrians
Video 6: Tyres and Tarmac (rather than bumper to bumper)
Video 7: Merging with the Main road
Video 8: Leaving the Main Road
Video 9: Never Cut Corners
Video 10: Show Courtesy on roads
Video 11: 5 Rules that help deal with Roundabouts
Video 12: Speed limits, stopping distances & 2 seconds rule
Video 13: Lane discipline and overtaking
Video 14: Low beams or high beams?

To watch these video's visit - http://driving-india.blogspot.com/

PM said...

Pune has infrstructure problems. But above all it is the Pune vehicle owners who do not obey any rules. I was shocked to see 3 people (adults and not kids) riding on a bike and traffic police did not stop them though the were next to him for 2 mins. everybody in Pune seems to be in emergency mode and wants to reach in fastest way possible whether it is moving in wrong direction, breaching the signal or troubling others. And the excuse is "everybody does that". If corporation creates a divider these people break it. After 8:30 PM and before 7:00 AM it becomes a Jungle Raaj, all one ways are turned into 2 ways, no entries are not obeyed and every body does whatever he wants. Pune is the place where people started movement against british laws / rules and unfortunately they are continuing it even though they are free from british and the rules are basic requirements. May be mercyless punishments is the solution. Educating people will not help and these people are educated and tend to have baseless arguments. They want all the rights but do not want to do duties.

Aditya said...

I myself live in Pune .Everyday when I go out I pray to god that I return home safely,especially while crossing the roads.
Punes traffic is simply 'disgusting' ,'chaotic' notorious' ,with fatality rate of at least one peson a day,and 10-15 per week
and the situation simply goes from worst to worser.

You really cant blame te government because they have at least tried to do whatever they can to control the unpleasant scenario -
construcing fly-overs ,road dividers, and putting up signals at clogging points - but none of this work because of sheer lack of
discipline among people -especially uneducated ,uncivilised ,illiterate ,immature& unethical citizens of the city who simply want
to 'joy-ride'.
Also because the number of vehicles have increased epecially 2-wheelers , and in some families there is at least one vehicle per
head,and at times this is simply not necessary.Some people still travel by cycles in prmitive manner.With increase in BPO's no of cabs
in the city have doubled adding to bottlenecks in traffic.
Add to that the influence of disgusting movies like 'Dhoom' 'Dhoom2' on idiotic youngsters and there you have a completely spectacular
mess.
Pune's traffic is so bad that even a person abiding by traffic rules is forced to be a part of this rat race .And yes even educated
civilians disobey the traffic rules
Peope simply do not have a scent of humanity in them,they have become so cruel,so inhuman -its as if they have total disregard fo whats
happening.

Its good you people are humanitarian enough to post comments,and maintain blogs on this issue - but unfortunately no matter how much we
comment on this I dont see any change in the situation at all myself until the common man who drives on Pune's streets does so.After all it's
necessary to get to the skin of the matter.

'No wonder why so many people leave this country and settle in foreign lands ,despite racism allegtions ,or racial profiling amidst all the terrorism
taking place in the world!'

Ranjit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ranjit said...

The root cause of all problems in India lie in its population. I am currently staying in New Jersey USA and am witnessing the situation when the population starts growing. Its nothing but the frustration that makes a person behave erratic in this traffic. But the major diference lies in the Law Enforcement which IS NOT CORRUPT. Here unlike our country the traffic cannot get away with breaking rules by bribing the Police. Even if our Law Enforcement tightens who the hell will dare to violate rules. The only remedy to this situation is to improve up on public transport which is stinking since ages. I will never say that government is doing its job. Well it does do the job of being currupt effeciently. Its impossible to expect self dicipline from people who are already pressurised, frustrated and actuallty helpless. Its easy to recomend what US or UK does to its traffic. Just look at the two wheeler that get released on to the roads these days, thats pathetic. If we are really concered about traffic we need to limit this in the first place LOL.
And flyovers, does anyone understand what that means, have a look at the one at paud phata, the next in line is one at wakad. I feel sorry to see these things happening. I thought we say "Pune thithey kai uney". We are proud of our IITans, MBAs and of course the Engineers, but its sad that their knowledge is totally outsourced ;-). I call this as "Diya taley andhera"

We have only one solution here, BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORT and REDUCE 2 wheeler traffic.

Jai Hind. Jai Maharashtra.

Anonymous said...

This is to highlight the Traffice (in)discipline in Pune . The Traffic Police does not seem to be aware of concept of moving violations. All the major traffic junctions are continuously witnessing traffic rule violations . A very frequent such occurrence is cross over to the lanes of the incoming traffic whenever a queue starts building up at a signal or crossing . These queue jumpers in the hope of making a short cut in their journey , further worsen the situation and block the oncoming traffic and create a dead lock on all directions.
Twice I have witnessed a deadlock at the crossing of Kalyani Nagar Bridge and North Main Road Koregaon Park, which has taken more an hour to clear with the help of several volunteers and traffic cops. I did not see a single traffic ticket being given by the traffic police on duty. These experiences were so dreadful that I changed my daily commute route and I avoid this route now.
Such traffic deadlocks are created by drivers who are over smart and believe in jumping the queue . But they are further encouraged by the traffic police who does not believe in imposing fines for these violators. These deadlock creators are not only violating traffic rules,
* they creat heavy delays in the traffic,
* increase the pollution levels at the junctions causing a serious health hazard to the pedestrians, 2 wheeler riders,
* increase commuting cost by forcing traffic to move at 1st or 2nd gears,
* increase road rage amongst the drivers
* create accident prone conditions
Regards
Sandeep

Anonymous said...

Hello Punekars,
I want to bring the noice of all punekars one major problems of untrained drivers.In pune you give money to the agent you will get the driving licence easily.In the driving training institutes also they only teach how to drive,manouver.
Think such type of drivers when come to road what happened to the traffic in pune? Therefore I think there should be institution which teaches road signs,how to drive in differnt conditions(rain,night,desert,fog etc)
road user behavior,Hazard perception,first aid,prevantive maintainance of vehicles,t and lots of subject the driver should know before he comes on the road.

Pankaj Kale said...

This is wrt the recent drive to check the Autorikshaw papers, I feel;
a. Instead of papers attitude of auto driver should be checked which matters for the traffic.
b. Show me any auto driver not taking over from left side
c. Show me any auto driver who does not drive slantly on the road
d. finally, I bet, no rickshw driver takes a right (or U) turn from first getting into right lane. (all Auto drivers takes right turn from left most possible lane)

This what will make pune traffic better and not the papers.

Beating should continue till morals are improved.
I hope this suggestion will be taken forward by negotaing above with auto documents.

sanket said...

Pune Traffic isnt traffic anymore its a "death trap" , i mean it....
for me solution for this can be follwing
1.use of good public transport system
2.take care of pedestrians by creating footpaths(atleast i feel safer)
3.collect heavy amount of fine from rule breakers
4.i had 1 idea actually why not ban some types of vehicals on a particular day
i mean MONDAY no NonGEAR vehicals,tuesday no cars and so on

i think even these ideas can not be sufficient there can be more but even if everyone start thinking for not breaking the rules then it will be ,anf at least for me i obey all the rules

PB said...

To an extent I agree, that we need better infrastructure in terms of
1. Wide Roads
2. Remove the encroachment on the sides
3. Have the proper lanes
4. Flyovers at the busy signals
5. Traffic police personnel to control and guide the people
6. More public transport facilities

But the biggest challenge and issue is people. I don't see people following the traffic rules. The change would come from there only as you can manage the traffic even in congested areas if people are disciplined.
There are wide roads with lanes in pune, but how many people follow the lane system. Everyone is in hurry; no one wants to stop even at a signal. And forget advanced rules, people don't follow the basic rules. How many knows the traffic rules, e.g. use of dipper at night, giving signal while overtaking someone, overtaking from the right side, respecting zebra crossings.

So the important thing is bringing discipline to the people and it can only come by two things:
1. Making people aware of these rules, giving them details
2. Applying strict rules with the help of Traffic Police personnel

Also the process of giving license should be strict. RTO should thoroughly check if the person knows the rules, if they have gone through all the rules and follow them, and then only they should provide the license. At least it will help in people knowing the rules, because problem with a lot of people is they don't even know the rules.

A very simple example is, people use high beam at the night and I am sure that some of them even won't realize they are on high beam and even if they realize the won't know how to go on dipper.

Any change can only come when people want to bring that change.

VJ said...

I have gone through the
http://better.pune.googlepages.com/SB_Road_Pune_Bus_Priority_Part_One.pdf

a proposal presented to PMC. Its worth reading. Every reader should go through it.

In Pune there is ample space but there is no proper planning. The porposal is best suited to identify this and PMC should act on it.

Mr Joglekar,good work, did you receive any response from PMC

VJ said...

Readers before putting in yuor comments do watch
http://driving-india.blogspot.com/
and request to support the porposal presented.

Everybody is aware of the situation and everybody wants some action to happen. mr Joglekar has done something to this and I guess this is what everybody wants Pune to have. Check it out.

CHINMAYFUN said...

Hi,

I recently started driving my bike in pune. When I leave late from office I am not sure if I would reach home. There are no street lights in many places and in this darkness there are pot holes (and all this on a wide road) so 4 wheelers and trucks are in high speed.

Anyone i talk to about traffic say that "you will get used to it". why should we get used to such a thing.

When coming out of a lane, i see ppl dont wait for the traffic to stop but start from the wrong side and then suddenly get in the right lane.

The mentality of people driving here is wrong. No rules is the rule if you want to drive in pune. Why ?

In mumbai RTO is pretty strict why not in Pune ?

Preets said...

What Pune really needs is a decent Public Transport like Mumbai. I doubt more or better roads is going to SOLVE the problem. The number of two wheelers and rickshaws will always grow to fill the space available, both on the road and the footpaths!

Mumbai has Locals, BEST, Private transport like Meru and now even an underground is being built. Why can't any ONE of them happen in Pune?

The Pune Auto walas are possibly one of the biggest curse in Pune. They obey NO traffic rules and actually dominate the locations they travel to! If the auto-wala actually takes you to your destination, thank your stars!

Anonymous said...

I feel effective mass transit will definitely work. for that encouragement for bus-travellers, avoiding the hikes in bus ticket rates are useful. & another one genuine but impractical solution(thanks to municipal corp) is encouragement of bicycle. which will drastically reduce pollution & will help banishing the famous image of pune as most polluted city.

- said...

hello Santosh,

we, at Janwani, (www,janwani.org) have read your blog and are interested in meeting all the people who are keen to resolve Pune traffic issues. since we did not have your contact details we request you to send us your contact details at arundhativ@mcciapune.com

Rahul said...

Bloody..
Does no one here knows how to drive..?

Max population seems to have gotten into a fight before leaving their places.
Someone please teach them how to drive properly.

Latkar V said...

Pune should have driverless cars and busses as main public traffic PLUS private transport system.
If developed in mass, will be economical. Configure your daily route on your andriod and a driverless car will pick you and drop to the destination or will drop you to a bigger bus. People already having cars.. just park them outside Pune boundaries

Latkar V said...

Out source driver less public transport to google + andriod for Pune city, google will do it for cheap rate in the pilot project

indhu M said...
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VMS master said...
This comment has been removed by the author.