Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Traffic chaos

Rapid growth in the use of private motor vehicles over the last few years is creating serious problems of congestion in our city and towns. This congestion is creating horrendous traffic jams. The loss of time and the mental agony as well as physical stress is stealing our productivity. The burning of extra fuel, with air and noise pollution all along increasing, are fast becoming major health problems for us. This is diminishing the quality of our life and causing a huge national loss. By the time the widening of roads is carried out the whopping pace of the number of vehicles in our cities/towns will reach its limit and the situation will remain the same. Can there be anything which is organized and chaotic at the same time? Why bees, which follows no rules, never hit one another in their swarm of thousands. It is a chaos, but this chaos is a design by nature and it is called organized chaos. The same organized chaos is seen with our traffic system. It works because everyone is more or less aware of others position and are willing to share and the crowd is moving forward. But with the explosive growth of vehicles on our roads this organized chaos seems to becoming a serious problem for us. The traffic in Dimapur city resembles the motion of gas molecules in a chamber, particularly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. With too many vehicles like cars, 2/3-wheelers, pushcarts, street vendors and pedestrians, all finding a way to dodge each other for their destination. Haphazard and leisure movement of auto rickshaws and their stopping anywhere even in the middle of the road to drop or pick or wait for passengers, blocks the traffic flow. Even ambulances and school buses are not given the passage. Three-wheelers, pushcarts and pedestrians are crossing the roads everywhere weaving their way in and out of the flow of traffic. Adding to the chaos are the auto rickshaws and their load carrier versions that zoom in and out of the traffic, scaring pedestrians and other motorists, sends shivers down the spine when head on collision is narrowly averted by the last second decisions. Though we have acute shortage of road width and off-road parking space but at the same time, half of the road width always remains under the occupation of pushcarts and vendors selling fruit, vegetables, garments, etc and even the footpaths are not visible. There is no timing for loading or unloading of goods by the shopkeepers. Senseless parking of vehicles everywhere adds more chaos to the situation. This is a real hell on earth. We need to adopt new traffic rules, new driving ethics on roads, new planning for road opening and relocating the vendors to some new environment. The traffic and other concerned departments needs to hold frequent camps at the auto stands and organize camps to convince drivers and other people about the traffic jam problems and the need for observing traffic rules. They need to install surveillance cameras to monitor the traffic flow in the city. Besides, we need to phase out the old pollution emitting vehicles and put constraints on bank car finances. Traffic jam problems have been studied by mathematicians and physicists world over and numerous research works have been carried out. For example, in some models it has been shown how major delays occur on our roads with no apparent cause. Though we say that jams occur due to the sheer volume of traffic, this clearly plays a part in the new theories, the main issue is around the smoothness of traffic flow. The concerned departments need to study these research works and find an efficient way of managing and handling traffic on our roads. In the days to come, it is certain that thousands of new different types of vehicles will be on our streets which will further block the roads and things like going to office or for work can become extremely difficult. This will not be a sustainable way of living. The need is to find a radical approach to solve our traffic congestion problems in a sustainable manner to preserve environment and our economy. Urban planners and other agencies have to draw a comprehensive policy for developing a sustainable transport system for improving the quality of our life. The sooner, the better