“I’m The Traffic” instead “I’m In The Traffic”

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Abstract
Bengaluru and many other large cities are facing huge crisis in terms of traffic and pollution. In this article, we are trying to highlight the fact that citizens need to take control in their hands instead of waiting for a miracle to happen. Citizens need to understand that “I’m The Traffic” instead “I’m in the traffic”. We are analyzing how bad the situation is, what are the options available, how much dependent we can be on Govt, how number of vehicles are increasing day by day, our research and analysis over last 6 months on Tech Parks or large companies, should we have odd-even rule or can we do something about it. If we together can reduce even 10 vehicles from roads, lives would get better. You might like to continue to read further to get more information.
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I stay at Bengaluru and traffic situation is worsening day by day. From my home to my workplace, it is just 2.5 Kms and it takes 30-45 minutes to travel that much. What could be 5 min peaceful travel has turned into a nightmare. Productivity and happiness goes down after such bumper to bumper drive. Many friends are working from home or taking innovative steps, like, starting early or late from home/office or taking different routes which is almost double in distance but ensures predictable time to reach home or office.

Traffic Joke

Can a miracle happen? Can Govt help?
I see everyone discussing traffic issues and status of Metro, roads, public transport, highways, underpasses, sky-walks for pedestrians to cross roads, one ways, no right turns etc etc and my facebook wall, whatsapp, twitter, Inbox is full of that. I do get very innovative jokes on traffic nowadays and I love them (see the pic).

Everyone is blaming Government, politicians, political parties, civic authorities, policies, etc and partly, they are right but does blaming help anyone? Many of us have met local MLA, Traffic Inspector, Corporater and other officials and prima facie, it looks that everyone is working but seems, problem is beyond even their comprehension. We recently met our MLA and shared our concerns on traffic situation. Traffic police is actively looking at various options available and proposing certain one ways and no right turns which has got local citizens worried. It seems that we are not trying to reduce traffic but only shifting it to one junction to another junction. MLA mentioned that even if we wish to build another flyover, its going to take an year as lots of steps are involved. Budgets need to be approved. Designs need to be made. Comprehensive thinking needs to be done. Tenders need to be floated and given etc etc. Problem is of today. MLA asked what does citizen want and do they have any solution? Citizens are providing multiple solutions and not aligned among themselves. Someone says lets build underpass as it can be built quickly but another person says that it would get submerged in rain-water without proper drainage system.

What is the real issue? Is it Govt policies? What does research say?
Now, lets look at what is actually creating the issue. Number of vehicles are more than 10 times compared to capacity of roads. One friend whose flat faces the ORR and who also deals in roads etc, shares that almost 1 Lakh vehicles pass in just 3 hours.

At RideAlly, we have done some studies and we have observed that maximum traffic is during office hours, say, 8 AM to 11 AM and 5 PM to 8 PM. This traffic is more near big tech parks, high rise buildings, large campuses or workplaces where during these hours, 1000s of cars, SUVs, bikes, tempos, cabs come out or go in. If I drive in night at 2 AM, I can cover same distance of 2.5 Kms in just 5 min as it should be.

Just to mention basic statistics to highlight the gravity of problem, On ORR (outer ring road) from Sarjapur Junction to Hebbal, there are about 100s of large companies with more than 3 lakhs employees on a stretch of 20 Kms. Some Tech Parks, like, RMZ Ecospace, Manyata Tech Park etc itself has > 50,000 employees working. Can we request these IT parks and companies to shift? What will happen to jobs and so many families? Can’t we co-exist? It takes humongous effort to build a company and many lives depend on that and we just cannot leave everything just like that.

In last 6 months, we have discussed with management or employees of many large corporates and we have realized that about 25% employees comes in cars, 20% by bikes/scooters, 30% by company transport (only few company provides it) and rest 25% use public transport. You may take 5% here and there on percentages but more or less, it follows similar pattern. We have also looked at parking places and each basements or multi-level parking usually tells the same story.

In a Tech Park, if there are only 10000 workers than it means that about 2000 Cars (mostly driven alone and few has 2/3 persons), 1500 bikes, 500 tempos/cabs and about 100 buses are entering in the premises within 2 hours range. It takes almost half an hour to just travel 500 mts stretch. Nobody can predict if it rains or any vehicle breaks-down or if there is a minor accident. Only saving grace is that there are no fatal accidents as vehicles are only running at 10 km per hour or even less. :)

Now, what could be the solution?
One of the solution is to realize that the problem is right in our control if we collectively do something. We need to understand that I’m The Traffic instead I’m in the Traffic.

What I as an individual can do? Every revolution starts with one person and one step at a time. We can share our vehicles, we can travel together and reduce number of vehicles on roads. We cannot afford vehicles being driven lesser than their capacity, be it Bus, Auto, Car, Cab, SUV or even a Bike.

Delhi tried odd-even rule to reduce vehicles on roads and got mixed response. For many reasons, they did not continue hence it can be concluded that it is not long-term solution. Does Bengaluru need odd-even? Can we Bengalureans survive it? or there can be a pro-active solution. Do read more on odd-even rule and my letter to Kejriwal Ji here.

When we met various corporates, they shared interest in promoting ride-sharing among employees however they shared their concerns as well. We felt that Safety and Security (especially for females), ease of use, cost sharing are some of the big concern and At RideAlly, we have addressed that to the core. We introduced a Workplace feature in which only employees of that workplace can join, access, share rides and no outsider can even see what is going on there. Same time, we have big apartments and they also exhibit same traffic issues like big Corporates.

Do carpool, bikepool or lets share existing vehicles
If each vehicle can take take just one additional person, it would reduce traffic/pollution by 30-40%. However, its easy to say but difficult to do. Thats the precise reason, we have  customized RideAlly in a way that it provides best safety, security with ease of use. We are focusing only on travel from home to workplace and vice-versa. We would connect interested people with other poolers so that they can travel together. This way, we reduce number of vehicles on roads pro-actively. We do not charge anything for this if you do not charge your co-passengers. If you wish to, you can share the cost of travel with other co-passengers.

With your little support, we can make world greener, better and worthy to live for next generations.

Best Regards,
Hariprakash Agrawal,
Founder/CEO, RideAlly

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