Bengaluru stares at another doomsday prediction; city might become unliveable by 2030
Bengaluru’s vehicle population is 73.5 lakh (as on February 2018) with the Road Transport Offices (RTOs) registering over 2,000 vehicles every day. As much as 90% of these are cars and two-wheelers.
Bengaluru’s vehicle population is 73.5 lakh (as on February 2018) with the Road Transport Offices (RTOs) registering over 2,000 vehicles every day. As much as 90% of these are cars and two-wheelers. Over 5.8 lakh new vehicles were registered only between 2015 and 2016. This might be good news only for transport department officials, who have been directed to increase registrations by 10% every year. For every one else, it is bad news.
By 2030, this development might result in a 2,313% increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. Total vehicle km travelled (including number of vehicles plus potential trips for work and pleasure) will reach 48 million km a day, up from 31 million km a day today.
Put together with land use and population realities, this presents a grim picture. Built-up area in Bengaluru has increased by 584% in the past decade. Its population simultaneously grew from 8.5 million in 2001 to 10.8 million in 2011, with 90.94% of people in the Urban district.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which was part of the Indo-Norwegian project Climatrans, has released a study report called ‘Sustainable Transport Measures for Livable Bengaluru’, which proposes mitigation and adaptation measures after studying data from 2008 (which it considers as the base year) and quantitatively evaluating it for over a period of four years till the present.
The report comes at a time when there have been several objections raised by civil society against flyover and signalfree corridor projects and the RMP 2031 draft prepared by the Bangalore Development Authority.
“A study like the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031 should have followed sound, quantitative methodologies to prepare plans that connect with the development and liveability of the city,” said Prof Ashish Verma, chairman of the transport engineering lab at the IISc, and principal investigator in the study. He has dispatched copies of the findings to key government authorities.
The study was conducted taking into consideration best practices worldwide, like de-congestion practices in London and Singapore, on-share mobility in South American countries, cycling infrastructure of Scandinavia and The Netherlands and Metro services in Tokyo, Berlin and Paris.
Bengaluru, Verma explained, is trapped in a “vicious circle of congestion”, which is linked to the city’s massive economic boom. The government tackles the problem of increasing vehicle volume by capacity-building (that is, by constructing flyovers, overbridges and underpasses and widening roads), which, according to Verma, will only encourage a modal shift to personal vehicles. “The ultimate result will be an increase in pollutants, which will also impact the overall quality of life.”
The real solutions to the city’s myriad problems, the study points out, are a combination of planning and regulatory measures like declaring car-free roads, mixed development and improving cycling infrastructure; economic measures like congestion charges, additional tax on purchasing vehicles and increasing fuel prices; technological measures like promoting electric vehicles.
Among the several recommendations, the study has suggested restriction of car use on 15 stretches that see heavy congestion and pedestrian users, including Brigade Road, SP Road, BVK Iyengar Road and Malleswaram 8th cross. On the other hand, MG Road, BMTC’s Traffic Transit Management Centres, Madiwala, Ring Roads (Inner, Outer and Intermediate) should concentrate on mixed building development to reduce transportation requirements, says the recommendation. Congestion parking fee is suggested for ten roads, including KR Market, MG Road, Whitefield, Silk Board Junction, Hebbal, Koramangala and Yeshwanthpur.
Addressing the issue of roads getting inundated during monsoon due to water accumulation, the quantitative analysis reveals an extensive strategy involving introducing permeable material on roads to reduce runoff and increasing drainage network. This, the report states, will increase average vehicle speed in floodprone areas during rains by 27% by 2030.