Aug 8, 2012

When “Traffic Merging Ahead” on every alternate road, clashes are bound to happen

Bad transport infrastructure and poor road designs leading to conflicts on road.

No one wants to get into argument or fight on the fine morning office hour or while on the way back home, really!! Everyone has some plan for the day ahead, and they really can’t afford to waste time here on road arguing for nothing. But what to do with these urban roads that make these people susceptible to conflict and road rage due to design which lack consistency and continuity. It’s ironical that in the same alignment of road where mile long vehicle queue is witnessed also has a part of stretch like super smooth expressway, either right in the middle of metropolis or connecting neighboring cities, districts and states leading to gridlock. It’s like speedy route to gridlock. So 70-90 % of the whole journey stretch you can cover in 20-30% of journey time, spending rest of the journey in gridlocked section travelling in snail’s speed. Journey on that reaming 10-30% stretch becomes more frustrating because you have just witnessed a test of speed on the expressway like road stretch back on the journey.

Things become worse when variety of vehicles start competing for the lanes with suddenly reduced carriageway near bottlenecks at every few hundred meter due to variety of reasons like poor road design, bad road geometry, old narrow bridge, recent construction and maintenance works, frequent vehicle breakdown, faulty or unrealistic traffic signals (it’s unbelievable that there are also around less than 10 seconds of green signal assigned for some stretches at some busy road junctions) etc. at least similar is the case in many developing countries.

This induced conflict is result of lack of cohesiveness and isolated accountability among different agencies and consultations hired at different point of time, for revamping urban transit stretches and systems. In Urban scenarios, Road stretches cannot planned and designed in isolation, hence no question of isolated accountability, like trunk routes cannot be designed in isolation without  considering feeder traffic flow. What is happening here in bottleneck situations is that vehicles are allowed to reach the bottleneck at high speed which encourages quickly accumulated high volume traffic at bottleneck, and then the real struggle begins, people ruthlessly competing for limited lanes!! It’s a painful experience of struggle for daily commuters, not because of slow speed but due to immense psychological pressure and tiresome drive to negotiate that rude, ruthless competing traffic while trying to protect their asset and peace of mind. No wonder it also leads to frequent road rage incidents. Even if bottleneck situation is unavoidable there has to be smooth transition from high speed stretch to the bottleneck point, which can only be done through proper road design, sensible signage and its highly visible locations, commuter education, manual or automatic traffic assistance and guidance, strengthening alternate route, staggered office timing, land use restructuring, etc.

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