Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Traffic jams are good for you

Traffic jams are good for you
By: Imran Gowhar Date: 2009-08-18 Place: Bangalore

A study shows that Bangalore's notorious traffic jams might actually be keeping the city roads safe

INDIA maybe the most unsafe place in the world for road users but Bangalore's record isn't as bad thanks to traffic jams.

A case study on micro level analysis of accidents conducted by transportation expert Prof M N Srihari indicates that huge snarls may be a blessing in disguise for Bangaloreans.

By slowing down vehicles on city roads, traffic jams have ironically helped to bring down the number of fatal accidents considerably, the study has found.

A recent World Health Organisation report had grabbed headlines across the country after it revealed that more people die in vehicle accidents in India than in any other country. According to the report, 1.14 lakh people were victims of road accidents in India in 2007, an increase of 6.9 per cent than in 2006.

Disguised blessing?

In the recent years, the nation's IT capital has witnessed a steep growth in vehicle population with 3 lakh vehicles being added to the existing population every year. However, the uncontrollable increase in the vehicle population has reduced the average speed of vehicles on city roads from 50 to 35 kmph, according to the study.

"Fatality in road accidents increases with speed. The severity of the accident involving a vehicle at 30 kmph speed is far less when compared with one that is moving at a speed of 60 kmph," Prof Srihari said.

Thanks to signals, junctions, badly maintained and narrow roads, vehicles can rarely run beyond 35 kmph within the city, including ring roads, the study revealed. And this, despite the scores of flyovers that have been built in the city recently. This is especially true in peak hours, where the number of fatal accidents have been found to be considerably low.

There are some interesting revelations in the study. For instance, married people, both male and female, make better drivers; middle-aged drivers hardly ever cause accidents and 53% of those killed in vehicle accidents are pedestrians. The study has also found that two to three people die and 21 people get injured in an average of 27 accidents every day in Bangalore.

Fatal Statistics

Year Killed Injured Total
2000 659 6347 8391
2001 703 6929 9026
2002 820 7577 9856
2003 883 7980 10505
2004 903 6921 9101
2005 836 5899 7578
2006 915 6048 7561
2007 981 6591 8426
2008 892 6150 7772

Common causes
>>Young drivers cause more accidents than matured drivers. Old drivers also seem to cause more accidents than middle aged drivers
>>The least number of accidents are caused by those aged between 40 and 50 years
>>Male drivers have more accidents and convictions than females.
>>Married people, both male and female, have been observed to be better drivers
>>The driver's training, especially of heavy vehicles, has an effect on their record
>>Fatality rate is lower in signalised intersections
>>Rate of accidents are high during the first week of the month and low during the last

At a glance
>>Population of Bangalore 75 lakh, vehicle population 35.6 lakh. Thus, almost every second person has a vehicle
>>75% of all vehicles are two-wheelers
>>Two-wheelers are involved in 37.96% of the total accidents. Of them, 39.46% are killed and 42.26% are injured. In 2008, 892 were killed in 7,772 accidents
>>2 to 3 people die and 21 people are injured in an average of 27 road accidents per day
>>Out of every 7 dead, 6 are male and out of every 5 who get injured, 4 are male
>>53% killed are pedestrians.
>>33.52% of those killed are aged between 19 and 30 and 37.66% are between 30 and 51


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