BY 2011 DELHI TRAFFIC WILL CRAWL AT 5KMPH.
A recent report published by the Delhi government has brought out the startling fact that the average vehicle speed in the city has come down from 18 kmph to 15 kmph. This is expected to decrease further to 5 kmph by the end of 2011.
Alarmingly the sharp dipping trend has been witnessed despite an increase in the length of the road network, availability of wider road surface, construction of a number of flyovers and grade separators, and the launching of the Metro.
The State of Environment 2010 report highlights the fact that traffic congestion has increased unabated owing to an exponential growth in the number of vehicles in Delhi. This has had its inevitable consequences in terms of a spike in accidents, pollution, commuting time and wasteful fuel consumption.
During the past decade the city has added 3,500 km of road length, but the number of vehicles has increased from 33.7 lakh in 2000- 01 to 63 lakh in 2008- 09. This imbalance between the growth of vehicles and road network in Delhi has resulted in heavy traffic congestion and reduced vehicle speed.
The report reveals that during the 9th five- year plan, 11 flyovers, overbridges or grade- separators were constructed in Delhi. During the 10th five- year plan, 22 flyovers, two underpasses and two underbridges were made.
The report also states that there is a tendency among Delhiites to own private vehicles. Even as the national average figure is eight private cars per 1,000 population, Delhi has 85 private cars per 1,000 population. The total vehicular population of the Capital is more than that of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai combined.
Moreover, Delhi has developed as a borderless city with an urban continuum extending up to towns in Haryana and UP. This has added to the flow and movement of traffic within the city.
Delhiites are also having to pay for rapid urbanisation. The largescale urban sprawl has increased the effective average distance travelled daily by personal vehicles by 50 per cent.
The report states that the cumulative impact of all these factors is a much higher air pollution load being contributed by a single vehicle.
Some stringent steps have been suggested to rein in the rising traffic congestion on city roads. A team of experts is also studying various options. Among these is levying a congestion tax in some areas.
During the second week of February, the Delhi High Court had raised concern over the rising number of vehicles in the city and had suggested the imposition of a congestion fee. A special task force was formed to suggest measures to unclog the Capital's roads.
A government official said a high- powered committee would also study the availability of parking space in different areas. If the number of cars exceeds the parking space in a particular area, more tax may be levied on car owners there.
Some other options include road pricing and expanding the public transit system. Besides, the government is considering widening Ring Road from six to eight lanes.
In addition to this, a dedicated corridor of around 103 km is under construction for highcapacity buses.
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