Bengaluru, often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of India,” is facing a substantial economic setback due to its severe traffic congestion problem. A recent study conducted by traffic expert M N Sreehari and his team has revealed that the city is suffering an economic loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore annually due to the ongoing traffic woes. The implications of this issue go beyond just inconvenience, as the losses have a cascading effect on various sectors of the economy.
Despite boasting 60 fully functional flyovers, Bengaluru continues to grapple with transportation challenges. The study attributes this struggle to an infrastructural deficit and a disproportionate growth in road length compared to the increasing number of vehicles on the roads.
The population of Bengaluru has surged to 14.5 million, accompanied by approximately 1.5 crore vehicles on the streets. This disparity between infrastructural development and population growth has resulted in congestion, delays, extended travel times, and, most crucially, significant economic losses.
The city’s information technology (IT) sector, which serves as the backbone of Bengaluru’s economy, has borne the brunt of this ordeal. Employees often spend considerable time stuck in traffic, leading to substantial productivity losses. According to the study’s estimates, the IT sector alone has suffered a loss of around Rs 7,000 crore due to traffic-related hindrances.
Moreover, the issue’s impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cannot be understated. These businesses struggle to meet delivery deadlines, causing shipments to be delayed and consumers to be dissatisfied. This, in turn, has a ripple effect on the city’s overall economy, resulting in losses of approximately Rs 3,500 crore.
To address these pressing challenges, the study suggests a comprehensive approach involving various strategies. One proposal is to explore underground transportation systems, particularly for metros and government buses, as well as discourage roadside parking to prioritize road space for traffic flow and pedestrian safety.
The report also recommends enhancing road traffic with the integration of metro rail and linear railway lines, accompanied by the establishment of one or two circular routes. The study underscores the importance of boosting mass transportation options like metro, monorail, and high-capacity buses while discouraging private transportation systems.
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and the introduction of robotics and informatics for road users through a Variable Message System (VMS) are also proposed solutions. The study advocates for the deployment of personnel to observe traffic violators and execute immediate action plans, alongside the use of camera and sensor systems. Additionally, the report suggests exploring underground transportation options, especially for metros and government buses, with openings every one or two kilometers for ventilation and disaster management purposes.
The traffic congestion issue not only hampers the city’s productivity and economic growth but also impacts the overall quality of life for its residents. As the city grapples with these challenges, adopting comprehensive solutions and rethinking urban planning and transportation systems becomes imperative for ensuring a sustainable and thriving Bengaluru.