Making sense of the Pune traffic chaos and how road safety can be ensured
The increasing number of road accidents in the city have raised several concerns about the safety of city roads for cyclists, pedestrians and also vehicle drivers. Jui Dharwadkar spoke to Harshad Abhyankar, coordinator, policy advocacy, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Pune, to understand how the of road safety problem can, and will be addressed.pune Updated: Oct 02, 2017 17:07 IST
What are the major causes of roads becoming unsafe?
Roads in the city are becoming wider. Wide roads are enabling people to ride at a faster speed making the roads unsafe. Today, the same road is being used by pedestrians, cyclists, two-wheeler riders, four-wheeler drivers and heavy vehicles. Due to this, presently, the pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable on city roads.
What can be done to improve safety of city roads?
The design of the roads must be changed and signages should be improved. At present, our roads have lanes that are 3.5m or wider. Such wide lanes should not be provided. Narrow lanes help in bringing down the speed of vehicles, which is important. To further control the speed of vehicles up to a permissible limit, pedestrian crossings at regular intervals must be constructed.
Are we not enforcing traffic rules properly or effectively?
We need to improve our licencing process. Today, everyone in India gets a licence to drive. The tests for getting a driving licence must be made very stringent which has not yet happened. Apart from this, driving skills need to be improved. For this, the focus should be on improving the training of drivers. Also traffic violations at signals must be monitored by CCTVs so that manpower of traffic police is not exhausted at traffic signals.
Will improving public transport address the issue of traffic congestion?
Along with improving public transport, the space for parking of private vehicles must be reduced. Also separate lanes must be provided for cyclists, pedestrians and buses. With all this the use of private vehicles will reduce and the congestion problem can be addressed.
Do you think the new Motor Vehicle Act, which aims at increasing fines for traffic violations, will help?
For people to follow traffic rules and drive in a disciplined manner the fear of enforcement will always help. For this, increasing the fine amount for traffic violations will help to some extent. Also, traffic police need to use their manpower judiciously.