One-way corridors, congestion fee soon on busy Delhi roads
Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday described traffic management as the biggest problem ailing the national Capital and revealed that three key measures — congestion tax on busy roads, a network of one-way streets, and reducing the growth rate of vehicle registrations — were in the works to unclog the city.
Speaking at the inaugural session of ConnectKaro, a conclave on sustainable cities organised by the World Resources Institute, Baijal also sought other suggestions from urban planners and transport experts to intervene in decongesting Delhi.
Hindustan Times had reported on March 12 that Baijal, along with the three municipal corporations and the Union urban affairs ministry, had zeroed in on 21 stretches where congestion tax could be imposed in the coming months. The stretches included the corridors between Aurobindo Chowk and Andheria More, the Nehru Place and Modi Mills flyover, areas around Hauz Khas Metro station on the Outer Ring Road, the ITO intersection, and parts of Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Mathura Road and Pusa Road.
“Over the last one year or so, with great persuasive effort and pain, I have been able to identify 77 corridors that are congested and require specific engineering or technological intervention. Delhi police has recently partnered with Maruti for the implementation of an intelligent traffic management system. This is being done in one of the busiest corridors of Delhi,” Baijal said on Wednesday.
“We are contemplating to identify some roads which could be converted into one-way traffic. The other idea we have been toying with is to introduce in some form of congestion charges on selected roads,” he added.
When contacted, special commissioner of police (traffic) Depender Pathak said that work had begun on creating a network of one-way streets. He said that a survey was being conducted by an expert committee headed by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) to assess stretches where one-way restrictions could be implemented.
“We will take a call on the stretches where one-way circulation is possible once we get the report. It will mainly be worked out in areas where parallel connections are available. A methodology is also being worked out for the implementation of congestion charges,” Pathak said.
Speaking at the conclave, Baijal said that the growth of vehicles in the capital was such in the last couple of decades that the there is now a private vehicle for every three people. “As a result, management of traffic in the city has become a humongous challenge,” he said.
Delhi has more than a 10 million registered vehicles, out of which nearly 6.8 million are two wheelers. The Centre had come up with a detailed decongestion plan for Delhi in 2016. But the plan remains in abeyance as the Delhi government is yet to appoint a high-level monitoring committee to finalise and implement various decongestion measures.
According to government data, the number of cars registered in the city as of May 2017 was 3.1 million — the highest in the country — with a density of 93 cars per km of road.
Experts welcomed the decongestion steps and said the it was important to promote public transport. “We need to invest more in public transport which is a shared mode of commute. People who are now using cabs on shared basis should be made to feel safe while using public transport,” said IIT-Delhi professor Geetam Tiwari. “This way people will move to mass transport and traffic can be reduced.”