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Old 6th June 2007, 19:52   #1
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Post Easing Bangalore Traffic - Rocket Science?

Hi all,
This thread would make sense to mostly Bangaloreans, but I am sure that all other BHPians will know what I am talking about. Over the past week or so, I have read in the news that the Bangalore Traffic Police are going hi-tech to solve the Bangalore traffic woes. First, all the traffic cops are to be given Blackberries. Then they decided to put up electronic billboards all over the city to update the people on the traffic situation on the major roads. And now, the traffic police has tied up with Airtel to provide traffic updates via SMS!! This surely has to be the joke of the year. The traffic police intends to determine the number of vehicles on a particular road by checking the number of Airtel users in that particular area!! As a friend pointed out, how can they differentiate between 60 Airtel users crammed into a BMTC and 4 Airtel users in 4 cars? It seems that the Bangalore traffic police has got its priorities all wrong.

I have been travelling from Domlur to my office in ITPL every weekday for the past year and I have some damning observations. I usually travel by Airport road, but I do take the Old Madras Road on the odd day. And I have come to the conclusion that 95% of the traffic jams are caused by having bus stops at major intersections. From Domlur to ITPL, I can list out the bus stops that create bottlenecks.
Domlur Signal - HAL Signal - Marathahalli Market - Marathahalli Bridge - Kunthanahalli Gate - AECS Layout - Graphite Circle (near Hyundai service center) - Vydhehi Hospital - Oracle office - ITPL

This about 10 out of the 14 bus stops on this route. In some cases, if there are 2 buses at a stop, instead of stopping one behind the other, they stop side by side and block the whole road. Shifting these bus stops to 50 to 100m before or after the major intersection and providing them with a proper bus bay would go a long way to reducing a chunk of jams and bottlenecks. And most importantly, the BMTC bus drivers must be trained to stop at the designated stops and to use the bus bays properly. I have seen only one bus stop in Bangalore with a dedicated bus bay, in Halsoor. The bus drivers drive as if they are having the most important race of their lives and that reaching the next jam before the other bus brings them the ultimate glory.

Also, the blantant corruption by the traffic cops must stop. Before I came to Bangalore, I have seen most the bribing being done in hush-hush tones and usually very discretely. But here in Bangalore, the cops don't give a damn how many people witness them taking a bribe. When I was waiting for my company transport at Domlur signal, a cop had flagged down a Tata 407. The vehicle didnt even come to a complete halt. Before that, the guy sitting in the passenger side stuck out his hand and gave the cop a 20 rupee note and the vehicle continued on its way. The people at the bus stop first looked at each other in amazement and then broke into laughter at this incident! Another example of the corruption by the cops can be frequently witnessed at the HAL signal. This is where the private buses to places like Kadugodi and Hoskote originate. During peak traffic hours, these buses just park at the signal and wait for passengers. The cops at the signal just go over and collect about 20 rupees from the driver. Now, the driver can wait there for another 10 minutes and get a few more passengers. So it's a win-win situation for both. But who are the losers? The people stuck in the traffic jam due to the bottleneck caused by this bus!!

Things aren't messed up just on the Airport Road alone..... I do travel by Old Madras Road. Here too, the traffic jams can be avoided easily in most places, except for the railway track crossing. Most of the time, the road under the KR Puram cable bridge is jammed. The reason for this is the same. Bus stop at a major intersection. However, there is the additional problem of the people going into or coming out of the KR Puram railway station. You can almost always find a bunch of 5 or 6 poeple stranded in the middle of the road, trying to dodge the traffic. I know the solution is slightly more expensive in this case, but in addition to shifting the bus stop, the authorities could also build a pedestrian bridge here. And there are traffic jams on the road from KR Puram to ITPL because of huge container trucks parked on the side. I don't think any cop gives a damn about this.

Since I travel by these two roads frequently, I know the problems here and how it can be resolved to a certain extent. I am sure most of you who travel frequently by other routes also might have noticed similar issues. But what I don't understand is why our so-called authorites spend lakhs of rupees on getting experts to study our traffic problems and how to resolve them. (I read this too in a newspaper article, that they are bringing in a traffic consulting expert from some European country)

So at the end of the day, are the Blackberries being handed out to the cops going to solve our traffic issues? No. It is just a gimmick to divert the attention from reality.... that they aren't doing anything useful.

Is Airtel trying to count the number of users in a particular area doing us any good? No. They just want to get the public to SMS them at a premium rate and get an additional source of income in the same way they get millions from KBC.

Are the messages being displayed on the electronic billboards about traffic jams going to help us in anyway? No, but trying to avoid jams from occuring will.

This now brings me back to the title of this thread. Is easing Bangalore's traffic woes rocket science? A firm NO!!! If a casual traveller like me can note all these drawbacks and point out possible solutions, I see no reason why the so-called experts can't do it!
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Old 6th June 2007, 20:38   #2
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Very good observations buddy. I too have a few pointers. Mekhri Circle bus stop from hebbal to town is right at a turn. Thus causing a traffic jam for all those who wish to go to R.T.Nagar. I mean what were the planners thinking off? Same with the hebbal flyover bus stop too. Right before the flyover begins. Busses that have to get onto the flyover are most often than not perpendicular to traffic trying to get into the right most lane to get onto the flyover. And causing more accidents than rash driving by modded bikes or cars.

It seems our authorities are paid to get these things wrong. Then, near banaswadi a 20-25ft road on the flyover is two way. Atleast for the time being. Whats the purpose? Its high time they get their act right.

Well, traffic is so bad that I no longer go out anywhere during the day unless I am compelled to. I travel in my car only after 10pm when there is no traffic. Its scary to go out during day time.
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Old 6th June 2007, 20:41   #3
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Forget about Blackberries or billboards, every single commuter needs to undergo a fair amount of training in road rules & ought to inculcate some road sense.

Honking at the lights is something I just can't stand!! Also,at railway crossings,people try to reach all the way upto the front, and in turn block both sides of the road (hence,on-coming traffic gets blocked,and its mayhem!!)

These are simple things that should have been corrected long ago,but it hasn't been done and now it seems normal to do such things on the road.

God save Bangalore!! err..actually, God save India!

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Old 6th June 2007, 20:54   #4
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If only motorists obeyed road rules strictly, I believe 80% of the traffic woes would be solved all over India. To add to this, any rule violation must be dealt with severely and should create a fear in the heart of every motorist to obey road rules. This is not only applicable to Bangalore but the whole of India. I concur, "May God save India "
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Old 6th June 2007, 21:08   #5
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Totally agree with you. If there are two buses one behind the other at a stop, the one which is behind wont wait for an extra second for the bus ahead to move. The driver simply changes lanes creating chaos for drivers/riders behind. By the time he has come to the next lane, the bus ahead moves fwd. The smart drivers again change lanes and cause further chaos. Auto Drivers and Cab drivers are the next big culprits. The biggest problem (solvable ) is that of people changing lanes as they wish.

I drive on Airport Rd every weekday. I find traffic on airport rd to be the more disciplined when compared to other congested rds like OMR. Driving in Koramangala is an absolute nightmare.
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Old 6th June 2007, 21:10   #6
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Funnily from what I have observed is that traffic moves faster when the lights are red than when green. Seriously. I mean when you are stuck in a jam.

Its nice to know we have so many moral brigands. But how many of us wear seatbelts everytime we get into the car? How many of us wait at the signal at 12am for it to go green. I do.
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Old 6th June 2007, 21:28   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
I drive on Airport Rd every weekday. I find traffic on airport rd to be the more disciplined when compared to other congested rds like OMR. Driving in Koramangala is an absolute nightmare.

Agreed - I go to Sarjapur and find the airport road way easier although it takes 10 min longer.

1: Lane discipline is better (relatively!)
2: Roads are better
3: Junctions are managed, Marthahalli is a bit of a queue but you get there

Only show stopper are the VIP movements

K'managala is okay during school holidays. Nowadays it is a mess. Sayinthat, I find it easy to return this way as Richmond Road gets clogged badly
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Old 6th June 2007, 21:31   #8
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Originally Posted by rr_zen View Post
If only motorists obeyed road rules strictly, I believe 80% of the traffic woes would be solved all over India.
I agree that many traffic jams are caused by sheer foolishness on the part of drivers who are in too much of a hurry and jump lanes and block up the road. And sometimes we see vehicles unwilling to stop at an intersection and let the traffic pass on the cross-road even when their route on the other side of the intersection is clearly blocked. So what is the point in rushing to the centre of the intersection and blocking the cross-road?

I maintain that there are those drivers who follow the rules strictly, but are such sluggards that they end up blocking traffic. They are over-cautious and slow down/stop for no reason at all, when there is a clear route ahead. Once upon a time when the traffic was much lower, that was tolerable, but not today.

For example, when following a bus, one must always be prepared for the bus to slow down/stop unexpectedly; so one must follow at a slight distance and when there is space on either side of the bus with a clear route ahead, one must *quickly* and safely change lanes to get past the stopped/slowed down bus without any interruption of the traffic flow. But this seldom happens. People often fail to anticipate that the bus may stop (sometimes right in the middle of the road) and end up taking an enormous amount of time to get past the bus, blocking the traffic behind.

Recently I got stuck in a big traffic jam on the Sion-Panvel route. The reason was that the road became narrow at a certain point due to repair work being done. Fine. But this was a one-way route, and lorries/buses could pass through the narrow road with no overtaking space; there was no blockage in the road itself. I could understand the traffic being slowed down at the bottleneck because of slow-moving vehicles, but it was actually blocked for almost 30 minutes. Sheer frustration caused by idiots behind the wheel, who probably managed to block each others' way.
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Old 6th June 2007, 22:14   #9
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Its a very useful idea discussed on this thread and if some of the conclusions and suggestions are pointed out to the authorities or atleast to someone who is authorised to analyse in this perspective, bangalore will be a better city to drive around.

I agree 100% to what mclaren has said = "Its scary to go out during day time". I am driving a car since 2 months and have never touched a steering wheel ever in my life, since I had stand-by drivers and cars provided by the company whenever needed. Driving outside India is like a breeze, no matter what time of the day or what climate of the year, you have your road, your signals, drivers who are respecting each other, majority keeping to the rules either due to higher fines or love for life.

Bangalore is better than most other cities when it comes to traffic jams, rule violations, speeding and dangerous driving. But with the present infrastructure of roads, availability of enough government properties/ spaces, number of policemen, use of equipments etc. bangalore is supposed to be a much better city with less traffic confusions. When I left bangalore in 1996 for overseas appointment, there were hardly any fly-overs or one-ways. Now the city can boast of dozens of fly-overs and number of one-ways that are the best tools to avoid jams.

My observations to improve the traffic here are;

1. Similar idea expressed by leodelg above; wrong positioning of BMTC stops, certain areas totally blocked by stops on both sides of the road at the same spot (devasandra stop on New BEL road as an example).

2. Malfunctioning of the traffic lights; either they totally go off at certain hours of the day, or shows green for 5 seconds and change to red putting half the vehicles stuck at the centre without any escape. Have witnessed it at many junctions.

3. Corruption of the cops; cant compare to other cities since I dont have much idea except bangalore. But I myself have gone through bribing situations due to silly reasons which nobody can understand. One is forced to pay money to escape the situation and keep the appointment/meeting/class/business hours not missed. Cops know very well who is in a hurry and who is not. Accordingly they behave. We have many rules and more loop holes for everything. Currency note can change any rule and issues created on the road. Corruption has reached a stage public will doubt what is normal and what is 'out-of way'.

4. Present rules and regulations are more than enough to keep any city free of troubles, but I doubt even 30% of the rules are kept to its fullness. Experts and so-called rule-makers only worry about new rules to be implemented or announced. Nobody bothers to see if the existing ones have any value. Most major cities in the world have got restrictions on trucks and heavy vehicles in entering the city or parking at places. Here I dont find any such thing. I witnessed a dozen times heavy trucks entering small lanes where 'no entry for trucks 24 hours' is displayed big and clear.

5. Another curse of this country is = allowing all kinds of living creatures to be part of the road. Its very sad to see there is no improvement on this since the first motor car came on indian roads. Its a hectic exercise on the steering wheels to avoid every dog, cow, cat, chicken, donkey and wandering kids on the small streets regardless of day or night. Lot of accidents occur attempting to save the creature on the road but causing heavy damage to someone's vehicle ahead or beside.

6. Potholes on a clean, standard, busy road ?? It must be a joke !! Its true when it comes to bangalore atleast. I cant recall a single road in bangalore which does not have atleast 1 dangerous pothole somewhere, either a surprise pothole while you drive, or one which is unattended for many weeks or months. It includes protruding drainage caps/lids which will damage your tires or wheel allignment if not driven with utmost care.

7. Uneven speed breakers/ humps around the city reminds me of the construction standard and quality of roads 50 years back. With the present equipments and electronic levellers speed breakers are supposed to be of international standards, but sadly not in bangalore. If you own a modified car, imported vehicle or anything thats with less ground clearance, its tough to remain in 4th or above gears for more than few minutes.

These are few observations I have made in my last 2 months. But as mentioned in the beginning "Its scary to go out during day time". I wish I could do all my outdoor things from 10 pm to 5 am and spend the day being at home.
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Old 6th June 2007, 22:57   #10
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Its true that going outside in Bangalore is a nightmare from 8 am to 10 pm.... My social life is almost dead because I normally prefer to sit at home alone, watch TV and relax rather than going out in the traffic and increasing your blood pressure! I had to go to J.C Road, S.P road and Chickpet market last Saturday. I had some electronic item purchasing pending for weeks. I just waited for my shopping list to grow and then went ahead and finished off everything in one go. And of course, I spent my Sunday recouperating from my ordeal the previous day!

@McLaren - I admit I told wear seatbelts when I drive in the city... thatz cause I rarely go above 40!! But I ensure that both my front seat passenger and I wear seatbelts if we ever leave the city. And I do stop at traffic lights. I learnt my traffic rules back in Bahrain. If you jump a red light there, you are imprisoned and if you are an expatriate, you are then deported! Pity we dont have any lonely island some in the Indian ocean where we can send our violaters!
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Old 7th June 2007, 00:41   #11
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Wasn't there some kind of team that was set up to help the traffic police in B'lore? I think it had something to do with kids from schools/colleges to undergo training, and actually stand with traffic cops to easen the traffic issue. I remember something like that happening when I was in school (10yrs ago.. !)

The funniest thing is how fast speed breakers come up in B'lore. They'r built, 3-4 motorists fail to notice it, they crash,file a complaint, and in comes the municipality guys to remove the speed breaker..! If only they were this quick to impose strict & worthwhile traffic rules..

Not sure if this is possible, but would it be possible for TBHP ( with 12,000 + members) to file a petition of some sort with the Commissioner of Police-Traffic, and get them to involve more citizens in the process of improving traffic conditions? Is there some kind of Govt. body that would be able to facilitate this? Its a matter of approaching the Govt, getting them to increase awareness and spreading the message of following rules on the road.

Any inputs here?
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Old 7th June 2007, 09:39   #12
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Originally Posted by leodelg View Post
However, there is the additional problem of the people going into or coming out of the KR Puram railway station. You can almost always find a bunch of 5 or 6 poeple stranded in the middle of the road, trying to dodge the traffic. I know the solution is slightly more expensive in this case, but in addition to shifting the bus stop, the authorities could also build a pedestrian bridge here.
Not gonna work.. becoz nobody uses them.. I have seen so many pedestrian bridges in Chennai left unused.. because pple find it a real pain to climb all the way up and then down. Maybe pedestrain subway is a better idea, but would be more expensive. There are a couple in Chennai, like near Ritchie street thats very usefull and well maintained.
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Old 7th June 2007, 10:00   #13
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Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
I drive on Airport Rd every weekday. I find traffic on airport rd to be the more disciplined when compared to other congested rds like OMR. Driving in Koramangala is an absolute nightmare.
Traffic is disciplined on Airport road- the reason is quite simple. Width of Airport road is almost same throughout, mostly 2 lane and it is fenced. This gives less option for some crazy frog to dive into the junction on the wrong side and create mayhem.
To know what I am talking about, be there on the bottleneck railway underpass before KR Puram railway station. At times I have seen 5 lanes of vehicles queing up to take an underpass that can acommodate single lane traffic.

Best solution I could think of in Bangalore....REDUCE the width of the road and fence it. I don't need four lane highway that is jammed, I need a single lane that moves
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Old 7th June 2007, 11:56   #14
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This morning i saw 4 traffic cops/wardens sitting on/near their shiny new Pulsars yapping away happily at the new HSR Layout junction while vehicles were fighting it out inching their way through each other at the junction. Do they care a damn?! NO, they dont.

Definitely not rocket science, i tell you. All it requires is basic common sense.
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Old 7th June 2007, 12:11   #15
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Originally Posted by leodelg View Post
Hi all,
This thread would make sense to mostly Bangaloreans,
My suggestions.

Traffic police should strictly ban the use of Mobile phones while driving. When they get a call while driving most people try to attend the call by slowing down and just ignores the rest of the traffic. Today I had a horrible time on Marathahalli bridge, this fellow infront of me was driving so slow, and he is not letting anyone overtake also. Finally I managed and turned to look at that @$$, there he was bindaas chatting away on his phone!

Public transport like BMTC volvo buses should be used more and wherever possible. I am doing this, I stay on Airport road near Manipal hospital and I have stopped driving to Majestic and places like that since Volvo buses are plenty in that route. They should start more routes and I was thinking if the companies start encouraging their employees to take the public or Office transport a lot of traffic in the morning will ease off.

Call center cabs! No discussion about Bangalore traffic is complete without talking about them. The companies who take their services should be made responsible for their behaviour no matter if they were outsourced or not.

I have been driving here for last 4-5 years and I feel after this goverment has come into power, there were some good progress. But Politics is something we cannot trust. But I hope for the best like all of you.

take care//
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