Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Citizens get chance to share ideas with experts on city's traffic woes

Citizens get chance to share ideas with experts on city's traffic woes

On November 21, IISc's Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning will discuss transport policy reforms and also hold a first-ever interactive session with citizens on the traffic problems they face, Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna



Even as citizens' walking space is fast shrinking due to hawkers, and dumped materials blocking the side walks, they are getting a rare chance to highlight their woes and suggest solutions.
They will be sharing their ideas with experts from the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) and urban secretary during an interactive session at the Indian Institute of Science on Saturday. Issues like traffic congestion, bad roads, slow movement of vehicles, and delay in completion of infrastructures will be discussed. Citizens can also suggest ideas for improving the traffic and road situation.
Earlier, the state transport department had sought the advice of CiSTUP experts for reforming their transport policy. Saturday's session will be the first-ever such meeting involving experts. It is expected to give a sketch on the possible solutions to tackle traffic problems.
CiSTUP chairman Prof TG Sitharam said transport officials had met them a month ago with request to upgrade and analyse the transport policy keeping in mind key issues that need immediate attention. The policy, apart from helping to improve administrative set up and public transport, will also focus on pedestrians and cyclists whose problems usually remain ignored.
Sitharam was speaking to DNA on the sidelines of the meeting on 'Open source GIS in India: Present Scenario' on Monday.
CiSTUP has set up a unique Geoinformatics laboratory with state-of-the-art gadgets in spatial and temporal analysis. Open Source Geospatial Foundation, a non-profit NGO, has created and built this highest quality software. It is a source tool anybody can access, update and cut. Under this, all data can be converted into comparative software for study and improvement.
"There is no one-point solution to improve the city's traffic woes. It is a combination of various efforts. But for any policy to be successful, it is important that road users cooperate and follow traffic rules. For instance, it is essential for commuters to reduce the speed of their vehicles," he said.
"A recent interaction with a Swedish group, which has studied traffic across India, revealed that vehicles run at 50kmph even on bad roads where it is not normally possible. We have outgrown of what the city can have. Infrastructure is no solution. We need an integrated understanding and it is essential to reduce speed. All sorts of vehicles are plying on narrow commercial roads like Malleswaram 18th Cross. Thus this first-ever interaction and expertise policy will help in improving the traffic situation in the city," he said.
The policy and interactive session will focus on road design, including designing speed-breakers, and the needs of all sections like hawkers, pedestrians and cyclists. It will also focus on speed and infrastructure enhancement where it is needed instead of wasting public money and delaying projects for long. Practical short-term solutions for six months and long-term solutions for 15 years will be looked into. It will stress the need for implementing short solutions immediately.
Sitharam said lot of queries kept coming but there was no platform for finding solutions. One such is being provided by CiSTUP on November 21 with the officials. It will give answer for the question why the traffic situation in Bangalore cannot be improved like in other cities.
He said CiSTUP was advising various agencies for improving urban transport and planning. These included directorate of urban land transport, transport department and traffic department.

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