Examining the Impact of Traffic as Delhi Shops on Dhanteras

This post is part of a series using Uber Movement to measure the impact of urban infrastructure projects and major events on traffic patterns. Uber Movement provides free and public access to travel times data averaged and aggregated by boundaries used by urban planners.

Traffic during Dhanteras

Dhanteras is a Hindu festival, where devotees pray to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. It is an important festival in India, associated with prosperity and wealth of happiness, health and soul, and is celebrated two days before Diwali — the festival of lights. Traditionally, people buy precious metals, utensils, and give gifts to family members and friends and pray to Goddess Lakshmi for the health and happiness of their loved ones. As a result, during this period, roads and markets tend to get extremely congested, and the Government has had to invest significant resources to keep traffic under control. For instance, in 2017, the Delhi Police had deployed more than 5,000 Delhi Traffic Police personnel in various hotspots to regulate traffic.

A Before & After Look at New Delhi Travel Times

Fig 1. Travel Times during Dhanteras | Map Tiles © Mapbox | Explore the Data in Uber Movement
Fig 2. Travel Times during Dhanteras by Period | Explore the Data in Uber Movement

In Figure 1, we are comparing the PM peak travel times during Dhanteras (2017 October 17) to average PM peak travel time in the same week (2017 October 16–2017 October 20). Travel times are broken out by wards, a geographical boundary frequently used for analysis. Dark red indicates an increase in travel times; inversely, green indicates a decrease in travel times from the selected origin. In this instance we’re looking at travel times starting from Vasant Kunj to Lajpat Nagar.

Fig 3. Increased travel times during Dhanteras | Map Tiles © Mapbox | Explore the Data in Uber Movement

From the travel times data in Movement, we observe that on the day of Dhanteras, there’s an increase in travel times throughout the area. In particular, you can see a ~30% increase between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand. Similar increases in travel times of around ~20% occur throughout the city. We observe a consistent pattern in the inbound traffic towards the city center as well.

When broken down by by time of day, the biggest increase in travel times occurs during PM Peak hours (4–7 PM). Interestingly, as the chart on the left also suggests, the impact on the other time periods (AM Peak, Midday & Evening) was relatively less significant (~10% increase). These observations can be used by urban planners to investigate and recommend potential schemes to incentivize commuters to travel outside the PM peak on this day to smoothen the travel times.

Overall, the data suggests that Dhanteras significantly increased travel time in the city center in Delhi. This data also be applied to other similar large scale festivals to approximate the impact of traffic. Further investigations in spotting traffic zones with any negative outliers of travel times can help put police on roads for traffic facilitation to efficiently to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

Want to see how the festivals and events impacted Delhi’s travelling time in more detail? Explore and download the data for free, through Uber Movement.

Have a question or research you’re interested in pursuing with this data? Contact us at movement-research@uber.com — we would love to hear from you!