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Worsening congestion, spiralling pollution choke Delhi, says study

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHRINKHALA SHARMA
Published : Jul 11, 2017, 3:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 11, 2017, 3:06 am IST

Delhi crossed the 10 million mark of total vehicle registrations in 2017.

Lutyen’s roads are less congested and have considerable difference between the average peak and off-peak speed. (Photo: PTI)
 Lutyen’s roads are less congested and have considerable difference between the average peak and off-peak speed. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: For daily commuters in Delhi, what has been the general experience is now being backed by hard statistics. The Centre for Science and Environment’s new assessment of travel time and traffic speed in Delhi shows that the city is in the grip of a worsening case of congestion and pollution crisis. Gauging was done based on hourly and daily travel time and speed derived from Google Map which showed low traffic speed, near disappearance of non-peak hours, weekends with higher congestion, and higher air pollution with lower traffic speed during peak hours.

The study shows that the average traffic speed is 50 to 60 per cent lower than the designed speed limit and 35 to 48 per cent lower than the regulated speed of 40 to 50 km per hour. From Ambedkar Nagar to Lajpat Nagar on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg and Sri Aurobindo Marg from Lado Sarai to Kidwai Nagar West are some of the most vulnerable of the 13 arterial roads which were analysed in June this year. The data was noted for every hour from 8 am to 8 pm and the speed was calculated for every hour for all these roads every day. These stretches are representative of the geographical spread of the city and Lutyen’s zones of Delhi. They are important also because of their connection with national highways and state highways to the NCR region of Gurugram, Faridabad, and Ghaziabad. In Delhi, the non-peak hours are vanishing. The speed remains constant as there is negligible variation between the speeds at peak and non-peak hours. The average morning and evening peak speeds are 28 km/hr and 25 km/hr respectively on the 13 stretches. But the off-peak speed is 27 km/hr, which is almost equal to peak-hour speeds. This is much less than the regulated peak-hour speed of 40 km/hr and non-peak-hour speed of 55 km/hr. The myth explodes with the analysis that Delhi’s roads have less traffic during the weekends.

There is more congestion during weekends than weekdays. The average peak speed noted during weekends is 25 km/hr, which is lower than the weekday speed of 26 km/hr. Clearly, the use of personal vehicles increases significantly during the weekends.

Lutyen’s roads are less congested and have considerable difference between the average peak and off-peak speed. The off-peak speed of 52 km/hr is a 20 per cent improvement on that of the peak-hour speed of 44 km/hr. The peak-hour speed is almost 40 per cent and the number doubles during the off-peak hours when compared to other arterial roads. When the average morning peak speed of 28 km/hr drops to 25 km/hr in the evening, NO2 levels increase from 68 microgram/cubic meter to 94 microgram/cubic meter, which is an increase of 38 per cent. During winter, this can get worse when inversion builds up during the evenings.

Delhi crossed the 10 million mark of total vehicle registrations in 2017.

The CSE executive director of Research and Advocacy, Anumita Roychowdhury, said: “If not addressed immediately, Delhi will come to a standstill. The numbers are further inflated by daily influx of vehicles from outside Delhi. With a further drop in car prices under GST, congestion will only grow.”

In this pollution and congestion battle, both the Central and the state governments will have to recognise the implications of road infrastructure, she added that gives priority to vehicles for overall motorisation and related problems of pollution, congestion, and energy-guzzling.

Tags: google maps, delhi traffic
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi