Building flyovers won’t solve Delhi’s traffic mess | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Building flyovers won’t solve Delhi’s traffic mess

Delhi may be a city of flyovers and elevated roads, but is building more of them a long-term solution to the growing traffic mess? Atul Mathur finds out.

delhi Updated: May 07, 2013 00:29 IST
Atul Mathur

Delhi may be a city of flyovers and elevated roads, but is building more of them a long-term solution to the growing traffic mess?

Most experts believe otherwise. According to them, rising income levels translate into a shift to personal vehicles, which increases the burden on roads, thus choking them.

A joint study by the urban city planners of German Development Corporation (GIZ) and The Korea Transport Institute concluded that city officials often provide space for more vehicles by way of road expansion projects or building flyovers. “It may please the implementers but in the longer run, the situation again returns to the earlier state wherein the congestion prevails,” it stated.

According to a study by Victoria Transport Institute, half of the increased road capacity is consumed by added traffic in five years and 80% increased road capacity is taken over by induced traffic. Delhi itself is an example of this phenomenon.

Four flyovers and one underpass on the 7-km stretch between Ashram and AIIMS have failed to ensure smooth traffic on the Ring Road. Traffic crawls, sometimes at less than 5kmph, during peak travel hours on a normal weekday.

Outer Ring Road, on which three new flyovers came up between IIT Gate and NH-8 before the CWG, is another example of elevated roads failing to solve the traffic problem.

Delhi government’s recent decision to construct another elevated road to decongest intersections at Munirka and Rao Tula Ram Marg T-point has evoked strong reactions from traffic and transport experts. “Outer Ring Road will be more jammed and more damaged by these ‘solutions’ within three years,” said a central government urban planner, on condition of anonymity.

In the past few years, the public works department and Delhi Development Authority have constructed several single carriageway flyovers. Most of them are now already clogged and the government is contemplating constructing a parallel carriageway for vehicles moving in the opposite direction.

“Delhi’s intra-city planning is based on the American model of the 1950s and ‘60s, which was highway-oriented where roads are wide and density of population less. Even the Americans have now changed that model,” Ashok Bhattacharya, who is the director of Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) — the agency that clears all transportation and road safety projects in Delhi — had earlier told HT.