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Traffic Problems in India

 Traffic Problems in India

Assistant Editor

10 Apr, 2019

It is hard to imagine life without automobiles. Before the invention of automobile how did the human race get around? Ancient humans who were hunters and gatherers travelled through vast expanses of land on foot. Once humans started settling down humans started domesticating animals sometimes around 4000 BC and they use their animals like horses and camels for moving from one place to another and also for carrying the heavy loads that they needed to carry. It was around 3500 BC; wheel was invented in what is now modern day Iraq. The first wheels were made out of wood. However, still humans had to walk long distances because even though the wheel was invented but there were no roads. Slowly with the development of roads carts and chariots came into existence. This went on for several thousand of years until the 17th century when there was a flurry of new discoveries that began gracing the globe. This was also the time when many new modes of transportation were invented. The bicycles, steam engine, motor cars, trams, airplanes to name a few. By the end o the 19th century there was cars that were powered by steam, electricity or petroleum. The car makers competed with each other. People who could afford bought themselves cars to make their traveling less tiring, fast and comfortable. The invention of automobile brought equal amount of both positive and negative effects than any other invention throughout the history of transportation. Through generations the automobile industry has constantly evolved, the makes and models have changed and so has the lives of people.

The excavations at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa revealed and established the fact that the Indians had already adopted the art o building roads during 4000 B.C. However, the importance of road and transportation came to be realized only after organized governments were established. During the reign of Chandra Gupta Maurya, they had a complete department for transport and the Grand Trunk road connected Patna to the North West Frontier Provinces. It was along these roads that the Greek travelers Magasthenes and Irasthenes travelled to the North o India during the period of Emperor Ashoka. Chinese traveler Fahien documented in his journal the existence of good well developed roads and a developed and functional public transport system that existed for the common man. However, vehicles were used by the kings and member of the elite society in a larger scale.

The transport and roads were further developed for growth of trade and commerce during the period of Mughal Rulers. Sher Shah Suri was famous for the construction of roads and the historical volume on Sher Shah Suri reveals the fact that during his reign the roads were well constructed and looked after and managed by the state.

The British rulers paid attention to the roads for the convenient of marketing and having ease of administration. Lord Dalhousie created the public works department for improvement of transport.

India even in those days was self sufficient when it came to transport as the system of public transport was prevalent and the Indian villagers were self sufficiently using their own carts and animals for their transportation needs. The elites had their own carts or horse drawn carriages.

Post Independence the Indian roads were developed under the five year plans. The first car to ply on the Indian roads was in the early 1897 and Jamshedji Tata was the first Indian to own a car in the early years it was a luxury and novelty only meant for the rich and elite. It was only in the 1920's that public road transportation took a leap and the growth was unprecedented with a large number of vehicles operating all over the country. The urban public transport system began in Kolkata in the year 1881 with the Tramways Co. Fast forward to the present India is now world's second most populous country after China and unfortunately we are looking at congestion like no other country. Most countries have automobiles like cars, buses, trucks, scooters, bicycles, however in India in addition to all of these we have some other vehicles that share road space and those are auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, bullock carts and different DIY types of two wheelers. The roads are not at par with the number of vehicles that are laying claim on the road. Traffic congestion is serious problem not just in all of the major metros in India but also in the towns that are steadily growing. The Public transport system is overloaded and bursting at the seams. The economic growth and the growing income of Indian middle class is only adding fuel to the fire. Traffic is growing four times faster than the population in all the major metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

There are several factors contributing to this terrible traffic congestion that the country is facing today. There is inadequacy of traffic police. There are lack of traffic police and added to that is the lack of proper instructions leading the vehicles getting into a traffic snarl.

There are always illegal encroachments of roads of the cities, which is narrowing down the roads leading to slow movement of traffic. Broadening roads is always not a possibility and incase it is attempted it becomes very time consuming following all the rules and regulations of land acquisitions. 

People park their vehicles irresponsibly and illegally. Lack of proper traffic management team and adequate traffic police is one of the reasons why this illegal parking thrives. Parking the vehicles haphazardly on the road creates traffic congestion. 

The growing middle class, with higher purchasing power are opting for more than just one car per family. Almost all earning members use some sort of private transportation like car, scooter, bicycle which are constantly adding to the already sky rocketing number of vehicles on the roads. 

The Roads of the cities are not scientifically planned and with the growing economy cities have grown haphazardly. All of these factors are only adding to the already deteriorated state of traffic congestion. Added to it is the improper planning of city development.

This kind of traffic congestion is already having a lot of negative impact like waste of valuable time and health. These traffic congestions have catapulted the emission of the oxides of nitrogen and some hydrocarbons which is majorly responsible for the smog that plagues the population during winters. 

We need to take immediate action to curb this menace. Adequate planning for comfortable public transport is necessary and every individual must try to use public transport as much as possible. We as individuals need to work on ourselves so that we follow the traffic rules and regulations so that slowly but surely we can work ourselves out of this tangled mess of Indian traffic.

By: Madhuchanda Saxena