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Long waiting time delays BRT launch

With traffic cycles of 3 minutes or more, the South Delhi road will rival some of Delhi’s worst traffic intersections such as ITO and Ghazipur, reports Sidhartha Roy.
Hindustan Times | By Sidhartha Roy, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2008 03:01 AM IST

If you take the Josip Broz Tito Marg to office or home, prepare for endless delays at traffic intersections. And there are nine intersections on the 5.8 km long Bus Rapid Transit corridor (BRT) itself. Originally slated to open on Tuesday, the BRT has now been delayed due to the inability of authorities to accommodate all signal cycles within 180 seconds.

With traffic cycles of 3 minutes or more, the South Delhi road will rival some of Delhi’s worst traffic intersections such as ITO and Ghazipur.

Unlike normal roads with common traffic signals for all vehicles, there would be four different traffic signals on the BRT stretch to regulate different modes of transport – buses, cars and two wheelers, cycles and pedestrians. Experts say 3 minutes is just the waiting time at the BRT, not taking into account traffic pile-ups. “With such a huge volume of traffic and narrow lanes, crossing the signal at one go will be impossible. If you are stuck at a signal for three signal cycles, you would end up waiting 10 minutes or more,” said an expert.

While the ideal wait time is 120 seconds, the wait time in the BRT corridor would be 180 seconds at bigger intersections. This, when serpentine queues of cars have already started forming on intersections at Pushpa Vihar, Madangir, Chirag Dilli, Archana cinema and Moolchand. “We have tried to keep the maximum traffic wait time at intersections to 180 seconds,” said a senior official of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS), which is supervising the project.

Traffic police officials said too many intersections and four simultaneous signals would cause endless delays. “We have installed all the traffic signal hardware on the stretch and are waiting for the software, which is being developed by IIT researchers,” an official said.

Attempts to call Geetam Tiwari of IIT-Delhi's Transport Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP), the brainchild behind the project, proved futile.

“If any cycle fails, the delay would be up to six minutes. A wait time over 120 seconds is unacceptable,” said P.K. Sarkar, head of the transport department, School of Planning and Architecture.

“A traffic wait time above 120 seconds taxes motorist’s endurance level and road engineering solutions are needed to ease congestion,” said former Delhi Traffic Police chief Maxwell Pereira.

“There are some intersections in Delhi where the wait time crosses 180 seconds due to huge volume.”

“At junctions like ITO, Rajouri Garden and Punjabi Bagh, buses had to be diverted or flyovers built to reduce the wait time,” he added.

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