Friday, February 7, 2014

The Transit Developments.

Analysing Inter-relation and Inter-dependence is very significant.

The core hypothesis of the traditional urban and transport planning – ‘growth of mobility’, travel time saving by increasing speed’ and ‘freedom of modal choice’ are myths and do not exist in the real urban and transport system. This is the reason why urban planning and transport planning based on traditional non-scientific assumptions is creating continuously not only more transport problems, but also environmental and social as well as economic problems all over the world, where these principals are applied (Hermann Knoflacher). The road traffic congestion is a recurring problem worldwide. In the developing nations being the growing economies, the problem is acutely felt in most of the cities. In a research work performed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, the reasons for the much intense problem of traffic congestion in respect with the second most populous nation of the world i.e. India were quoted as – infrastructure growth is slow compared to growth in number of vehicles, due to space and cost constraints and the traffic being generally non-lane based and chaotic, is largely different from the western traffic.

The role which transport engineers and planners have played in the total process of urbanization is very critical in the efficiency of the urban settlements of the past. This has to be based on perceiving the settlement as a system and isolation planning will worsen the scenario in the coming decades. There’s one good example quoted by Mr. Knoflacher in his research work under the title of ‘Success and Failure in Urban Transport Planning in Europe – understanding the transport system’ which raises the role played by the traditional transport planners resulting in the higher level of issues and problems which flourished after the lack of information and study of the urban settlements. ‘If traffic flow exceeds the capacity of a road, traditional transport engineers tend to add additional lanes to reduce density and enhance the speed. This is the effect of traditional transport education. If density is decreased, the car transport sector becomes more attractive, more people use the car, the speed is enhanced not only locally; this produces more car traffic and finally the same congestion appears, but only on a higher level.’... ‘This has been studied on an urban motorway in Vienna where traditional transport planning had forecast a reduction in traffic flow when the motorway was opened. Ten years later, the urban roads had more traffic than before and there was about four times more car traffic on the motorway. This was because the motorway produced its own urban structure consisting of urban sprawl and economic activities along the motorways.’ The solution to any urban problem if done after studying and analysing the causes and the roots of them has a greater chances of taking its stand in the future. The planners have rather seem to have got indulged in the ‘trial and error’ method in spite of looking in for the long-term approaches. The idea is not in against with the technological advancements and the rising standard of living, but ‘Have the race of Humanity forgotten the concept of quality of life which it deserves and is worth of?’

Planners have to understand the complexity of urban systems and should understand the fact that ‘a little change or a small policy implemented may result into catastrophic situations in the coming decades. The transport planning is a very critical factor that determines the shape and functioning of an urban settlement. The models proposed by various transport engineers and planners, for instance ‘transit oriented development’, will not enhance the efficiency of the urban system if other factors involved in its efficient functioning will be ignored or less emphasis will be given on them. The transport system has its very vital role in the whole of the urban progression and developing just for the sake of present convenience will surely give the birth to a set or urban problems in the coming decades. Planning for flyovers, by-passes can’t be provisioned just for the sake of the rising traffic congestion. It has to be dealt with integration of the other significant factors which I’ve been discussing through my blogs for the efficient functioning of the urban settlements. Nothing in case of the urban settlements can be planned and designed in isolation with the other phenomenon. The inter-linkages and inter-connection should be wisely understood. The conclusion of the research work mentioned above states that ‘There can be no solution for a sustainable future of the traffic problem through conventional methods and measures. If we do not learn from the past, we have no chance of surviving in the future.’ The problem of traffic congestion is widespread around the cities across the Globe and if we didn’t understood the diverse effects of the things done in present on the future trends, the situation will only get worse and complex to sort out. Transport planners and engineers should understand the significance of their job and should understand the complexity of the system rather than promoting for transit-oriented developments blindly.

Image from valleymetro

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