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Old 6th October 2014, 10:23   #1
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Default Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

Interesting point is how a member of the city traffic planning committee claims the SIAM plugged the flyovers!

http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...?homepage=true
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Old 6th October 2014, 11:09   #2
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

Withing city limits, some of the flyovers shifts the traffic congestion to the next junction which doesn't have a flyover. So, flyover is always not a solution.

Example: Outer ring road - Silkboard junction in bangalore.
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Old 6th October 2014, 11:30   #3
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The article is complete bilge and that is putting it mildly. There are too many people in this country who would rather we live in a low level equilibrium with lousy infrastructure and everyone slumming it. Yes, we need better public transport through extensive metro systems. But the same people usually oppose metros as well. Their favourite, Bus Rapid Transit, is an idea that has worked in one city in the world, and no where else. Further, to say that we should not build new roads since they will get congested with cars is truly nutty. People choose cars over other forms of transport until congestion reaches unmanageable levels - which shows cars have a utility. Flyovers and better roads increase car ownership and usage - which is good. And yes, they are not permanent solutions - new roads will need to be built in future. But as long as car owners are paying for the roads, there is nothing wrong with that. And given the level of taxes on cars in India, no one can say car owners don't pay their fair share.
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Old 6th October 2014, 12:11   #4
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Their favourite, Bus Rapid Transit, is an idea that has worked in one city in the world, and no where else.
What's that one city? I see several here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_ra...it#Performance

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Further, to say that we should not build new roads since they will get congested with cars is truly nutty. People choose cars over other forms of transport until congestion reaches unmanageable levels - which shows cars have a utility.
People choose cars over other forms of transport because roads are being built with no public modes of transport running on them. And yes, it's true that the more roads you build the more cars there will be shortly to occupy them. The quote "if you build it, they will come" can't be more apt - it has been proved that adding additional lanes to roads only works for a while before making it worse than before.

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Flyovers and better roads increase car ownership and usage - which is good.
What! Why is car ownership good? Everyone driving a chimney under their bum can't be good for the planet!

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And yes, they are not permanent solutions - new roads will need to be built in future. But as long as car owners are paying for the roads, there is nothing wrong with that. And given the level of taxes on cars in India, no one can say car owners don't pay their fair share.
Car owners may be paying for the roads being built, but we're not paying for many of the other costs that are a result of us driving these cars - pollution of the air, sound and the resulting health hazards, occupation of large areas (acres and acres) of land that will be covered by asphalt for good, alienating and ripping away local communities as a result of these dirty and noisy roadways cutting across communities, making walking a dangerous and uneasy mode of commute for many, among more reasons. Not to mention the billions of rupees spent on importing petroleum, setting up road signage, cleaning up after accidents, manning traffic signals, issuing and pulling up driver licenses, etc.

Also, public servants and governments tend to take public transport lightly because they assume the public will "just" buy vehicles and go on with life as opposed to pressuring them into rolling out more public transport services.

I recommend you watch this when you can: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/..._madness_2008/

Back to the topic, flyovers might reduce congestion if built well, keeping in mind future increase in traffic. But again, if you build it, it'll soon be congested, so there's nothing that can be done.

Last edited by hellmet : 6th October 2014 at 12:15.
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Old 6th October 2014, 12:54   #5
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

In most of the cases, it is not the solution.

Case in case, the Aarey Flyover after Hub Mall in Jogeshwari is a prime reason for the serpentine traffic jams on the Western Express Highway
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Old 6th October 2014, 14:07   #6
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

They rarely help. Of all the cities I've been to, the ones with flyovers usually have the worst traffic, eg. Bangkok, SFO, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai. Flyovers only shift the bottleneck. Unless the whole city has flyovers everywhere with no bottlenecks, they don't work always. The best cities are the ones with the most eco minded commuters and best transport system, eg. Amsterdam, Copenhagen
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Old 6th October 2014, 14:38   #7
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

I would say this depends on the flyover construction and how much thought has been put in to it. A well designed flyover with the clover-leaf entry/exit along with sufficient lanes would definitely reduce congestion. Sometimes along with a flyover an under-pass may also be required.

However, a badly designed flyover only augments traffic issues, typical examples are the Silkboard flyover and KR Puram flyovers at Bangalore.
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Old 6th October 2014, 14:52   #8
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

In my opinion, flyers would serve the purpose only if the number of lanes are consistent through out. In most of the places including Mumbai, we always see that there are 4 lanes on the highway and suddenly it is mapped to 2 lanes on the flyover then it again lands on the 4 lane highway and again gets mapped to 2 lanes of next flyover. I mean, this adds big time to traffic congestion and people are forced to change lanes. In the mumbai WE highway, sudden lanes going missing has been the biggest reason for traffic congestion. If lanes are consistently available, no matter what is the volume of traffic, it will still be moving.
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Old 6th October 2014, 15:20   #9
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

Both yes and No.

Yes - In Bangalore, the travel time once you cross the KR Puram 'mess' and drive towards Hebbal, has improved till you reach an under construction flyover near Manyata Tech Part, but once that is completed the traffic will move smoothly till Hebbal.

No - Flyovers are NOT the only solutions. In the example above, once you reach Hebbal, you are stuck at a 'signal' and that is the bane of any flyover. Unless there are a lot more of signal free corridors (end to end), these flyovers are only a stop gap arrangement.

OT- For a brief period, Bangalore had a traffic signal on top of a flyover, IIRC at the Richmond Road Flyover.
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Old 6th October 2014, 17:13   #10
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Default re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

The way they are designed in India, no they are not a solution to our traffic congestion. All flyovers in Mumbai are mere means to cross a junction without stopping.What we need are wide (12-16 lane) expressway's running North/South & East/West with switching points all over. Many flyover's wouldn't be needed if the licensing system was honest, road design scientific, quality top notch & illegal shops & slums were not allowed to come up. It's weird that because the government keeps regularising illegal shanties, many times we tax-payers have to fund the construction of a flyover to tackle traffic mess! Politicians need to get out of urban planning. They regularise slums without thinking of the impact. When mall's or any commercial complex's are planned, all agencies including traffic cops should be consulted before permissions are given (assuming none of the agencies take bribes)

There are many basic things that can be put in place to ensure faster travel. This is also a cheaper solution then flyovers.

1.) Focus on is road design & quality.
2.) Remove potholes and you will see traffic moving much faster.
3.) Take off the shops & banks from the road's & move them into commercial complex's with adequate parking.
4.) Remove taxi's & auto's that stroll around on our roads looking for passenger's slowing down traffic.
5.) Programme the signal's based on traffic density and timing of the day.
6.) Look at water transport in cities where it's possible. Yes, with minimal environment impact. A single 'boat' can take off many car's from the roads. For example waterway's can be used from Versova to Nariman Point in Mumbai. People can take their cars on the boats and drive off after embarking.

Yes, public transport is the way ahead. Probably the best solution, Europe is a great example of that. We need to think how to make public transport comfortable for people. Remember, the weather too, it can get very hot in some cities.

In Europe you can time the arrival of your bus/train/tram and leave from home accordingly. The entire network is integrated because there is one transport authority in charge. Here in Mumbai you have western & central railway for trains, BEST for buses, Reliance for metro, someone else handling mono rail. Every transport system has a time table independent of others so if I get off a bus, I may have to wait 15 minutes for the next suburban train - in the heat. You want to make public transport the primary choice of people, start by integrating it into one organisation.

Also, lets not follow the European model. The cities there are compact & the entire continent is well developed. We are a huge country with big cities & becuase only 4-5 cities in all of India are developed they are bursting at their seams with people. Let's think of our own solutions. I guess before we tackle transport problem's, we need to tackle our population & literacy issues & ensure that even villages are developed & sustainable.

Last edited by amit : 6th October 2014 at 17:18.
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Old 6th October 2014, 17:51   #11
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One key factor - traffic fines. Hike the living day lights out of traffic violation fines and you'll see how quickly people stay in lane, use indicators and follow the rules. It's the same old "build better roads, we'll drive better" hypothesis. We Indians need discipline. Say it with love and we stomp all over the roses. Say it with a cane and we'll bend over quickly enough.

Yes, my view is harsh and possibly unpalatable. Having lived in many cities and towns outside India with lesser infrastructure, I can say that we are the problem and solution to our traffic problems. Not ONE of us will tell the interstate bus driver NOT to stop at the entry /merge point of a flyover to offload us and our luggage. We will not walk the 200 feet to the designated auto stand but chose to pull over an auto going in the fast lane /opposite way. We all try our best to squeeze our cars into the little spaces alongside the road to go shopping even if there's a nominal pay & park system nearby.

Perfect example of the last one, Sarjapur Road where I live. There are people who won't even think twice before parking with half their vehicles hanging out into the road. And mind you, I am not talking about the (possibly uneducated) driver class. I am talking well educated folks with possible global exposure.

Why? Because, the violation is 200 Rs. It's not even a marginal fraction of their salary. So, why bother? Some even joke about it (arre... It's easier to give that traffic fellow 100 Rs yaar.. ).

So, getting out of my soapbox, no amount of public transportation, wider lanes etc. etc. will help. Make the no parking fine as 3000Rs and see clean, non-intrusive roads.

sorry for the rant!
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Old 6th October 2014, 21:01   #12
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Default Re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

Widening of roads and keep on building the flyovers is not a solution for traffic issues. No matter how much we widen our roads, the ever increasing population will always outgrow it. Delhi is a prime example of it. Metros run packed throughout the day in all directions. Despite of probably highest number of flyovers and Ring Roads, still there are bad traffic jams in Delhi.

Things that can be done to come out of this mess:
1. Control population.
2. Decongest the Metros by shifting industries and work opportunities to smaller cities.
3. Plan the new cities by creating true suburbs connected to the business hubs by high speed and high frequency public transport systems. Like in US and EU, where people travel 60-70 miles easily to their workplaces, without getting tired, or soaking in sweat.
4. Properly planned exits and U-Turns should be there on roads, rather than a cut for every 100 mt. like LBS Marg in Mumbai. It makes the traffic speed slow like hell.
5. Allow the cars having minimum 3-4 passenger to use the high speed lanes. This may help people inclined towards car pooling.
6. Design roads in such a way that cyclists can ride without fear and a lot safety. In India even enthusiastic cyclists avoid cycling because of rash drivers, no dedicated lanes and virtually no law in support of cyclists.

I totally agree with Mad Max. Here in Mumbai, in Hiranandani Gardens Powai, illegal parking is biggest issue which causes long traffic jams everyday.

Last edited by GTO : 7th October 2014 at 14:53. Reason: Typos
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Old 6th October 2014, 22:09   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
What's that one city? I see several here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_ra...it#Performance
Curtiba. And perhaps a few other towns in South America. But BRT has not worked in any large city.


Quote:
People choose cars over other forms of transport because roads are being built with no public modes of transport running on them. And yes, it's true that the more roads you build the more cars there will be shortly to occupy them.

Why is car ownership good? Everyone driving a chimney under their bum can't be good for the planet!
Anything people voluntarily choose is good. Your assessment of why people buy cars is wrong
Even in cities with fantastic public transport like Singapore, anyone who can afford it buys a car, and chooses to use it. Hell, even in congested places like New York, folks buy cars and like to use them.


Quote:
Car owners may be paying for the roads being built, but we're not paying for many of the other costs that are a result of us driving these cars - pollution, occupation of large areas of land that will be covered by asphalt for good, alienating and ripping away local

Let's just agree to disagree. Everything you say is just what I was talking about, folks coming from a wrong headed perspective.
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Old 7th October 2014, 18:51   #14
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Default Re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

Are we simply answering whether flyovers help traffic woes, or are we comparing the benefits of building flyovers vs investing in public transport?

To answer the first, yes. Flyovers do help with reducing traffic, or at least commute time. I'd like to ask any Mumbaikar reading this post to imagine the Western or Eastern Express Highways with intersections and signals instead of the flyovers, and imagine how much longer it would take them to travel past those roads.

Heck, even the tiny flyover at Kemps Corner makes a huge difference in ensuring that traffic on Peddar Road can flow smoothly.

While I agree that we need better investment in public transport, it is a folly to assume that flyovers do not make a difference.
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Old 7th October 2014, 19:50   #15
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Default Re: Are Flyovers the solution to traffic congestion?

As many people have pointed out earlier, I also believe that flyovers do more good to traffic than otherwise.

I think this is a classic supply chain problem. If you can keep all items on a conveyor moving fast enough and at a uniform pace, you'd get the best throughput. But if there is a bottleneck at some point in the conveyor then no amount of widening before/after the bottleneck point will help improve throughput.

Similarly, I think flyovers are constructed to address a bottleneck point. They have the effect of shifting bottleneck from the point they were constructed to some other place on the road that has more constraints, eg narrow lanes, traffic light, etc. So if you have a bottleneck immediately after the flyover then there is little use of the flyover. However, if after having the flyover, traffic can pass with greater ease say under it or there is very good traffic dispersal after the flyover then the purpose is certainly served.

IMO it makes sense to have long flyovers with periodic entry/exit lanes to the left. That way cars already on the flyover can keep cruising in fast lane. Those who need to use the flyover can do so midway and those wanting to exit midway have an option too. Just like US freeway exits.

As someone earlier has already mentioned, Mumbai's western express highway was a mess before flyovers came in to existence. But now one can go from Bandra-Borivali without a single red light. Its much less chaotic.

From safety perspective, flyovers means less traffic at intersections which means lesser chances of collision too.
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