Solution to Bangalore Traffic woes
The biggest problem ailing the Silicon Valley of India, is the traffic of the city. Ask any bangaloreans, what is that they don’t like about the city, and the answer will be traffic. I will put the polluted water bodies as another reason, but that is for another day.
(Warning: this is a long post.)
Every major city in the world, is built around a trunk and feeder system. New York has its subway, Mumbai has its local trains, even Delhi now has some good metro connectivity.
Bangalore as it grew, it has not evolved to have a good trunk and feeder system. The metro is work in progress for years now. The plan of Metro is such that, even if it gets completed, I doubt it is going to help in reducing the traffic hot spots.
Does that mean we are doomed? Not really. There is a possible solution to this nightmare. I must warn you now, it is not an easy solution.
( Update- A solution which could be implemented without needing help from government. We are smart people in bangalore, and we can show we are capable of improving things even without the help from the government.)
There are two parts to this.
1. Trunk and feeder system
2. Pushing the usage of this system (stop cars from being used)
1. Trunk and feeder system:
Before I write about the possible solution, let’s identify the core of the problem.
80-90% of the traffic is due to the office going public. This is the case in every city.
However, the majority of the office going public in bangalore, work in IT companies. Most of them have cars, and use them to travel to office. Many others use the on-demand taxis.
There are three key reasons why people use own transport/cabs:
i. Door to door transport
iii. Safety and comfort
Currently, the available public transport or bus transport provided by their offices do not fulfill these need. Hence, there is a need to use own transport or taxis.
Now the solution.
The trunk system need not only be local trains or metro rails. An efficient bus system can also make a good trunk system.
The bus network needs to run on the major roads, and connect tech parks with the key areas around the city. These buses can be run by private companies. (Yes, some bmtc buses are already plying in such fashion. In my opinion they are an inefficient system with a lot of redundancies.)
Now these buses stops need to be connected with inner parts of the city by a feeder system. These feeder systems could be cabs or autos, picking up/ or dropping people at their doorsteps. The buses would be running every 2-5 mins. And the taxis or autos would be on-demand.
This trunk and feeder system could be connected via an app like Ola/uber and will be available on-demand. That is, once a person takes a cab from home, they will know the time when the next bus is coming. The bus driver would know that a person is coming in case if they are delayed a min or two. Similarly, once they are traveling in a bus, a cab will be waiting for them at the transfer point. The entire trunk and feeder system should be available as a monthly package, based on the distance or complexity of travel.
This is not going to be easy, but this system could be better than what is available today in New York or Mumbai.
Such a system can be implemented by, IT companies in a tech park coming together to run a common fleet. e.g.: all the companies in Ecospace or Manyata tech park come together to run buses from different places, every 2-5 mins.
Many companies have individual buses running at specific times and allowing only their employees to board the bus. They need to open up from their end and run buses as one. May be able people to board the bus with a boarding pass on their app. This could begin with just for the employees of the tech park and slowly opening up to anyone with an app.
The system of each company having their own bus was good, as 10 years ago there was no system to regulate this open boarding system properly. Now with smart phones, this is a no brainer.
Also, 10 years ago, the houses were not to far away from the pickup points of their buses. Now, it is a different case.
I am pretty sure, that with today’s advanced technology, an effective private trunk and feeder system can be built. There could be some implementation issues, and that would be polished really really quick.
2. Pushing the usage of this system:
This is a bigger challenge than the previous one.
Everyone, including me, is now comfortable with taking out our own car or booking a cab. We don’t realize that we are a reason for the story state of the city. We don’t take public transport, yet blame the traffic for everything.
Again, cities like New York or Mumbai had something in common, which pushed the people towards using public transport. They did not have space to park their cars. Left with no other options, they were forced to use public transport. Slowly, it become second nature to them. As new people came to the city, they learned from the existing people and followed them.
If bangalore needs to solve this traffic problem, bangaloreans need to come out of their comfort zone.
This could start with the IT companies again. A very simple step would be, banning parking of cars in their buildings, followed by not allowing cabs or taxis inside the IT parks. Even better, it would be great not to allow cabs stop 500 meters near the gate.
The purpose is simple. Push their employees out of their comfort zone.
This could take away between 10k to 20k cars away from each major road, both ways.
Like I said earlier, this is not going to be easy. It needs a bit of a change in habit. It is doable.
Can we find some of the tech parks which could be included in such a system?
Will this system find any adopters?
Can we find champions from different companies come together?
Can we start as a brain storming group?
I am open to help build such a community/group, if few people are interested in coming together and finding a solution to the traffic problem in the city.
Comment or email or ping me on Twitter (@rashmiranjan) or FB (rrpadhy), if you would like to become a part of such a group.
P.S.: I am not saying this is a perfect solution. I have had this idea since Feb, 2015. The more I think, the more I believe this could be a possible solution. As more smart people come together, we would be able to arrive at a solution.
P.P.S. : Please do share this, even if you are not able to participate now. We need more people to discuss this, and hence more people to read this.