Traffic in Indian metropolitan cities is rising at a brisk pace. It is not only leading to congestion on narrow roads but a lot of pollution as well. The air quality index in the national capital has become very poor over recent years, which has led the government to take necessary steps to better AQI.
While the capital’s city would remain deadlier than other cities, Mumbai is the most car-congested city in India. Times of India reported that the density of private cars in Mumbai soared by 18% in just two years. The town has 510 vehicles per km on the road as compared to 108 in Delhi.
This figure is nearly five times more than that of the national capital. The other cities reeling under traffic congestion are Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore with 359 cars per km, 319, 297 and 149 cars respectively.
The reason behind such high traffic is the lack of road space. Though the entertainment capital’s private car population is less than a third of Delhi, the city has just 2,000 km of the road as compared to 28,000 km in the national capital.
The under-construction Mumbai metro network has also made the city more congested. Growing vehicles with narrowing roads lead to hour-long traffic jams. According to Maharashtra transport ministry data, there were only 430 cars per km in mid-2016.
The vehicle population of the city stands at 36 lakh, out of which 10.2 lakh accounts for private cars on the city roads. It means 28% for the vehicular population in the city is due to ownership of private vehicles.
Though the Mumbai local is at the heart of the city’s transport system, these also run with people on board- much beyond the permissible limit. Upmarket areas in eastern suburbs like Powai recorded the highest number of private car registration as well as western suburbs with over 5 lakh registered cars.
Transport expert Ashok Datar speaking to TOI said, “Mumbai has been bursting at the seams past few years, and if there is no control over the purchase or mobility of private cars across the city, travelling by road will be a nightmare.”
Chembur was the next big suburb in the eastern side to have car registrations in almost every middle-class household, the officials stated. The Eastern Freeway is a preferred route for those in Chembur as it provides a high-speed connection to SoBo and saves time by over half an hour.
Majorly high-end cars had taken over the roads which is why the average speed on the Western Express highway dropped to 10 kmph during the peak hours.
In western areas like Andheri and Goregaon, commercial complexes have been mushrooming which has led to a hike in the private car population. In Kandivali, Bandra and Borivali, a large number of households are going for bigger cars.
Rising traffic congestion is alarming. Transport experts fear that they impede the growth of public transport in the city. It is also leading to increasing parking woes. Experts said that there was a need for an efficient parking policy as well as the imposition of a congestion tax in business hubs.
Though transport commissioners in the past have appealed to citizens to ditch their private vehicles and use public commute, there has been little progress on these suggestions. The government is even looking at establishing metro rail corridors to ease traffic shortly.