Stuck in traffic for hours often made me think that did I deserve to curse the status quo when I could not contribute in giving solutions. “No you don’t!”, bang came the reply from inside. After long brainstorming sessions with self I chose to take the blog route. Since I decided, I have always been on hunt to look out for the next business idea which can unclutter our city roads. My tireless pursuit for the smart and implementable ideas made me run into many ongoing ventures in the space. Ibibo Ryde,Tripda, Go Together and Co Yatri are few front runners in there. But is this enough? We all know the answer is no. So what we can do before we take a dive into the solutions we need to ponder over the origin of the problem. Why the city roads are cluttered at the first place and what we can do to address the same?
- The first culprit is the inventor of air conditioner. The accusation is off course in the lighter vein but fact remains that the hot weather conditions culls any inclination to walk even stone throw distances. In Summers people go by car to fetch a pack of cigarettes from a khokha ( 3×3 ft wooden shop) which is 200 meters from there living or to fetch grocery. The comfort of the air conditioned car is a comfort zone no one seems to leave. Result ! we see cars all around us.
- The occupants ratio in 90 percent of the cars is 1:1. This means that majority of the cars have only one occupant. That means the road space being eaten up by 60 cars could have been easily replaced by a good, clean, air conditioned bus with 60 seats capacity. Does that mean the current proposal of Delhi govt. to introduce 10000 buses on roads will solve the issue. Well it may not until we ensure last mile connectivity.
- Human psyche is the last culprit. How? Even if we manage uncrowded, clean and air-conditioned buses and also ensure last mile connectivity, we will still fall flat in curbing the trend. The reason is our human nature of owning and controlling things and swaying to the music while we drive with one hand and hold a cigarette with other is one challenge that generally go unnoticed. In other words we want to be in control of thing . And honestly I can’t abhor this human nature as I myself suffer from anthropocentric attitude. The whole world is talking of infrastructure and give a miss to the human side of the problem. If we and our governments are really serious in solving the puzzle we have to rope in the human factor. Remember we are dealing with humans first and infra later. If we take care the former it will complement the latter.
Following measures can be immediately adopted :-
- Facilitation to intra city car sharing practice by govt. and corporate houses. If I live in Dwarka and drive daily to Gurgaon for my job and four other my known neighbours also share the destination then the obvious should be followed and exercised on weekly turn basis.
Benefits : less pollution, less road space, extra earnings, savings on fuel.
Challenges: difference in office closing timings, duty bound to return on the given time, personal likes and dislikes of driving habits.
- Introduction of clean, stylish ,air conditioned and commuter friendly minibuses with free wifi services which are comfortable enough to discourage the car option and small enough to negotiate narrow roads and sharp turns of city interiors.
Benefits : less pollution, more space on roads, last mile connectivity.
Challenges : rigid timings
- Staggered timings of opening and closing of govt. and private offices.
Benefits : no excess burden on infra during peak hours, less pollution, more road space.
Challenges : convincing corporate houses.
- Innovative ideas for last mile connectivity. Putting cycles, motor bikes at bus stations, common landmarks, railways and metro stations. But it is hardly innovative. so what is? Lots of sections argue that putting cycles at metro stations may be impractical as roads are not friendly for cyclists.
Benefits : will encourage people to take up public transport, uncluttered city roads, less pollution
Challenges: implementation , making roads cyclist friendly.
It’s necessary we all become part of the thinking process. That we all contribute. we don’t need anything short of a mini revolution to change things around. The time is running out and we can’t afford to leave things with the government or to others. And the attitude that someone will do something might put the urban developers in deep mess. Let’s unclutter the roads and reorder the urban mess.
You can contribute your ideas through your replies. And if they are practical we will make sure that they reach to the right people.