Category Archives: Traffic Management

A seat belt is the difference between life and death. Buckle up.

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US cops amazed at how well Indian police handles policing.

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An article in the Economic times dated 6th December 2013, mentioned how US police chiefs from Los Angeles, Austin and Aurora were amazed at the way their Indian counterparts handle the policing challenge due to the sheer volume of the population.  Art Acevedo, the Chief of Austin Police Department, said he was taken aback by the policing complexities in India and said police here had done really well. “Watching a cop here controlling the traffic is like watching a ballet,” a US cop said. Given the volume of the population to be handled and the magnitude of law enforcement required, Indian cops have done a commendable job. All that is needed, is some cooperation and initiative from the citizens to support the police on various civic issues to bring about a positive change in the society.

Eliminating the inconvenience caused due to poorly scheduled road repair work.

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A lot of roads in Mumbai have been in very bad shape and the only thing worse than them is the repair work undertaken for the same by the BMC moving at snails pace and causing inconvenience to everyone. Often the road repair work isn’t optimally scheduled causing unending jams and inconvenience to commuters and road users. In some cases, work that be completed quickly if done at a stretch is distributed over  a number of days. With the BMC planning a mega block for road repairs on the lines of ones undertaken by Railways, the matters are only expected to get worse.

Ideally repair work should be scheduled at non peak hours or during the time of the day when the vehicular flow  is minimum. When limited amount of work is involved, road repair should be taken up at night time to ensure smooth completion and least inconvenience to the citizens and road users. If a substantial amount of work is to be done, it should be done round the clock at a stretch rather than distributing the same over longer intervals.

We are taking up the issue with the government authorities and the law enforcement agencies directly and also shall request media to help create awareness and pressure on the authorities. We look forward to your suggestion and support to take up better governance.

You can send your suggestions to info@theroadtochange.org.in

Solving city’s traffic woes through strict law and civic sense enforcement

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With around 400 deaths caused by road accidents and 8000 injuries reported daily, India tops the list of most road crash fatalities globally. Add to it the loss in productivity, fuel and environmental effects and the gravity of the current situation is unavoidable. The city of Mumbai alone witnesses numerous traffic snarls and mishaps every day affecting millions of commuters and pedestrians. The major cause for the same being an acute lack of civic sense in the citizens, the motorists and pedestrians alike. Although a lot of people have voiced their opinion on reducing the number of vehicles and constricting more flyovers/underpasses, it needs to be understood that good civic sense and ideal road and infrastructure usage can reduce our traffic woes to a great extent. Simple measures such as stricter law enforcement, adherence to disciplined driving and road usage following traffic rules and protocols can go a long way in positively changing the current scenario.

The government officials too opine that people in India cannot be governed and it is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce rules and regulations as people tend to leverage their clout with higher authorities and it gets increasingly difficult for law enforcement officials to function. But is this the sole reason? Of course voluntary adherence to laws and regulations is the basic duty of the citizens but more often than not adherence is a direct result of strict law enforcement.

This has been emphasized through the constructive actions taken by IPS officer Rishi raj Singh, Transport commissioner and ADGP Kerala. Road crash fatalities in Kerala have come down thanks to measures such as strict enforcement of speed regulations and compulsory helmets for motorcyclists. His efforts have sufficiently validated the fact that enforcing the rule of law and civic sense and discipline coupled with awareness can bring about the necessary change. It is important that similar necessary and constructive steps are taken to reduce the city’s traffic congestion and promote responsible and safe driving.

We are taking up the issue with the government authorities and the law enforcement agencies directly and also shall request media to help create awareness and pressure on the authorities. We look forward to your suggestion and support to take up better governance.

You can send your suggestions to info@theroadtochange.org.in

Tackling errant auto and taxi drivers refusing to ply.

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The public transport service is for the benefit of the people, this aspect is totally lost sight of by regulatory authorities and the service provider unions. Though periodic crackdowns  by the traffic police and the RTO against errant taxi and rickshaw drivers who refuse to ply are commendable and a step in the right direction, a more holistic approach is required to solve this issue effectively. We do endorse the present action however, it is important to have a balanced view in the interest of public and the people who are affected and connected to the service

Our suggestion is as under

  1. The taxis and rickshaws should never refuse
  2. Authorities need to be very strict against offenders
  3. Providing each vehicle (taxis and auto rickshaws) an identification card mentioning the working time and lunch/break times explicitly. This card should always be present in the vehicle.
  4. It is equally important that specific regulations are framed for compliance taking care of all the stakeholders.

We are taking up the issue with the government authorities and the service provider unions directly and also shall request media to help create awareness and pressure on the authorities.
We look forward to your suggestion and support to take up better governance for stopping such incidents.

You can send your suggestions to info@theroadtochange.org.in or provide them in this google form https://docs.google.com/a/theroadtochange.org.in/forms/d/1yB1jHwcdYuMUcCBn7si2XWucaDYRm9AeGb7o4_aknxI/viewform

Mindjam! Don’t make traffic woes your own

If you are the least bit ambitious in this day and age, you probably are grappling with tall schedules. Our social and personal lives are characterized by a series of dates, appointments, meetings, outings, and some. Our ‘to do’ lists end up looking more like essays than just pointers. Maintaining the mad schedules, juggling tasks with mere minutes between each, can be a challenge.

I am sure most of you would identify with this craziness that is urban living, and not discard them as exaggerations. A common result of falling back on that challenging ‘to do’ list is falling back on life. But for most of us, there’s hardly a choice. The other thing to do is strive to stick to our plans, and acquire a lot of stress in the bargain. This stress, resulting out of personal, social and professional obligations, is experienced right from the time children come to their senses, enough to be enrolled in nursery schools and probably does not end with retirement. And ironically enough, the retirement pensions, funds, insurances are perhaps responsible for the unceasing stress.

However, for the sake of our well-being, emotional as well as physical, there are times when this stress should take a back-seat. Your life, literally, depends on it! How? Your emotional and mental state directly reflects on your driving. You may be in a haste to make it to a meeting or you may have had a showdown in your personal life. What do you do? You drive recklessly, breaching traffic rules, and answer calls while you are at the wheel. It is, therefore, important that you remember your car is not your punching bag or a place of socializing or even your place of work! It is only a mode of transportation and nothing beyond that. It is your binding responsibility to drive carefully, respect all traffic rules for your well-being, as well as of others. An accident is the last thing you want in your already stressful life.

More often than not, mental stress and distractions cause bad driving and traffic jams, and in unfortunate extremes, accidents. The noise pollution and commotion only add to the stress. In these terrible traffic conditions, how you maintain your calm, and your life, is in your hands. Remember that you are not personally responsible for these jams, and your anger won’t solve them. Positive approach is the key. Don’t make traffic woes, your woes.

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Innovative methods for road traffic management

Urbanization comes with a cost and terrible traffic is just one of them. Our times strongly call for an innovative plan for traffic management, but at cost effective rates. Road traffic management mainly involves a smooth flow of traffic and avoidance of accidents. Maintaining discipline on the roads is the end view.

The primary methods used to achieve road discipline are traffic signal control, traffic monitoring, and access management. These methods are more effective, when combined with innovative but simple traffic management techniques.

In populated areas, opportunities to build up access points and remove underused signals are plenty and should not be overlooked. If an area is under a redevelopment project, traffic flow should be managed by creating turn-lanes, service roads, etc. in co-ordination with property owners and developers.

The volume of traffic has increased manifold over the last decade. Traffic management devices like traffic lights and signs quickly become obsolete, leading to congestion and chaos. These devices should be upgraded from time to time, after a thorough analysis of the traffic situation.

Today’s traffic management techniques are driven largely by developments in engineering and technology. Not only is the installation of sophisticated traffic management systems costly, but also require a higher level of maintenance. However, effective management systems can be made affordable, with effective and careful budgeting. Also, traffic management centers can be operated jointly by the government and private sector contractors, who can provide maintenance at reduced costs.

Besides the implementation of technological advances, a few basic rules should be made mandatory in every city/town. One of the elementary methods of bringing down accidents by at least 85% is the strict enforcement of speed limits. For reckless driving and over-speeding, heavy penalties should be imposed. But for the effective implementation of this rule, co-operation and honesty by the Road Traffic Officers is fundamental. Installation of tamper proof speed controllers for all heavy vehicles can also be helpful. Children, below a certain age, should be prohibited from cycling on busy roads, where heavy vehicles are plying. Safety awareness should be made a mandatory part of the academic curriculum in primary schools. If safety awareness is imparted during childhood, it is likely to be followed throughout adult life.

Charles M. Hayes rightly said “Safety First” is “Safety Always.” These words should be the guiding motto for the citizens of the country and it should be borne in mind that road safety is not only necessary for the individual, but also for the society on the whole.

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Steps taken in other countries for effective traffic management – Part 2

With rapid development and proliferation of technology, there has been an equally massive surge in urbanization. According to a number of researches, in the year 2007, for the first time in history, the majority of human population, the world over, lived in cities. This is certainly a massive landmark, and yet, urbanization is happening just as strongly.

Most of the population in cities drives cars, and their number is only expected to rise. Sadly enough, this has also led to an increase in road accidents, and the injuries and deaths they cause. This is a situation which calls for immediate, effective solutions. We must ask the question, “Can our transportation infrastructure and management approaches handle this rise?”

To this end, globally, officials are implementing changes in Road Safety Management. Let’s continue our investigations of some of the more effective ones:

In Stockholm, a dynamic toll system has played a vital role in controlling the flow of vehicles into the city. It has reduced traffic by 20%, decreased wait time by 25%, and cut emissions by 12%.

In Singapore, sensors are installed to measure and predict traffic scenarios, with 90% accuracy.

In Kyoto, city planners study huge traffic situations, involving thousands vehicles, to analyze the impact of urbanization.

In Bangkok, during certain hours of the day, the direction of the traffic on many one-way roads is changed.

Manila has a rather peculiar way controlling traffic. In heavy traffic, vehicles with number plates ending with the numbers 1 and 2 are forbidden from operating on city roads on Mondays, between 7 am and 7 pm, to reduce traffic jams.

Bermuda has gone ahead – imposing similar bans on rental cars.

The Romanians have been very proactive. Logic dictates that in the time-gap in which the accident takes place and the paramedics arrive, a lot can be lost. The Romanian Red Cross, a partner of the Global Road Safety Partnership, addressed this issue by training people on first-aid. The goal is to compliment the efforts of the paramedics, and boost the chances of survival of accident victims.

Remember the walking cars of The Flintstones? Sure you do! The concept exists even today. Students in South Africa get on a ‘Walking’ school bus, and walk in pairs behind an adult driver who directs the route between home and school. Physical fitness, clean and pollution free environment, and strong community relations are only few of the pros of this age-old concept.

If one country uses buses without wheels, another changes the name of its town to promote road safety. Strange but true – a town in Australia, named Speed, decided to modify its name to Speed Kills, to promote road safety. On Facebook, a campaign was launched for the name change, and it was decided that if the campaign received at least 10,000 ‘Like’s, the town would be renamed. It achieved over 33,000.

In conclusion, we can say that effective urbanization needs at its heart an effective transportation system. This increases the emphasis that must be laid on road safety. Let us work towards not just getting better roads from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, but making sure we can travel those roads safely. ‘Smart’ traffic systems can be the key to reaching this goal, but, in reality, it will be achieved only when individuals make efforts.

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Steps taken in other countries for effective traffic management – Part 1

An estimated 1.2 million die, and 50 million get injured, each year due to flaws in traffic and road management systems – and this is no less than a catastrophe! Road injuries were the ninth-leading cause of death the world over in 2004, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, by 2020, they will be “the third highest threat to public life.” If proven true, they will be a threat more serious and dangerous than HIV/AIDS. As such, it has become the need of the hour to implement a more systematic approach to traffic – Road Traffic Management. Firstly, we must recognize the importance of regulating public transport and road traffic. Once key areas are identified, effective measures must be swiftly taken towards the implementation of the plan. By observing the road safety practices of other countries, we can better realize our needs, and identify the measures, that need to be taken with some immediacy:

Europe’s Road Safety Days: Every country has its unique design of traffic management, suitable to its roads and vehicles. In the UK, Malta, Ireland, etc. traffic mainly drives on the left, whereas it is largely the other way round in the rest of Europe. The continent practices ‘Europe’s Road Safety Days’ – a great opportunity to work towards road safety, with many of the youth actively participating, by targeting themes such as alcohol, drugs and education. The first European Road Safety Day was celebrated on 27th April, 2007 – in tandem with the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week, being commemorated from the 23rd to the 29th of April of the same year.

New York City institutes infrastructure for pedestrians: USA’s safest city is a threat to pedestrians, and research points out that it urgently requires better infrastructure for their safety. To this end, pedestrian countdown signals are being installed, and some busy street are being re-engineered.

England’s town has no traffic lights!: The English town of Portishead, about 120 miles west of London, had an interesting experiment. They turned off the traffic lights on a major road in September, 2009. The four-week study, to solve long-standing congestion at the junction, was not only unique, but also successful. In the trial period, roads were monitored using cameras to see the impact switched-off traffic signals would have on congestion. It turned out that drivers were forced to pay more attention to other vehicles, and pedestrians. And, obviously enough, there were considerable savings on the maintenance of traffic lights.

Kenya says, “Rewards for speeding!”: Nairobi, working closely with the Kenya Red Cross, carried out a radically distinctive workshop for road safety. They said, “Wear a helmet, and speed!” This brought into focus new revelations on specific risks associated with speeding. Techniques are now being developed to counter them.

To conclude, it can be said that innovative techniques of Road Traffic Management maybe easier to implement and more effective. Accidents are rising at an alarming rate, and, more than anything, it is the citizens’ awareness, and active participation, that will help curb the menace. “Precaution is better than cure” is a commonly-used adage, but the question that arises is, “How often do you practice it?”

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The Road to Change – On a mission to save lives!

Dr. Sheela Aggarwal is a gynecologist and she has an urgent patient that she needs to attend. She looks tensed and is constantly giving instructions to her subordinates over the phone. In between she is also asking her driver to move fast. But every time she gets the same answer “Madam traffic hai.” It took her almost 3 hours to cover a distance that could have been covered in an hour otherwise. Inspite of trying so hard, she could not make it on time.

Most of us have gone through a similar situation where we could not make it on time because of traffic and thus, have suffered. Traffic is the latest nightmare of Indian cities. The collapsing infrastructure and growing number of vehicles are causing deaths, loss of mental peace, health crisis & economic loss. Road traffic injuries are a neglected epidemic in India and as studies suggest, by 2020 road accidents will be the 3rd most important health hazard worldwide. AIDS being 10th and World War being 8th.


We are “The Road To Change,” a non-profit organization and we believe that the cause of this epidemic is lack of awareness and training. People in India are not properly trained or aware about the importance of being disciplined. Thus, it is our mission to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries and the consequent personal and financial losses by developing a public and private partnership to promote the best driving practices, enforcement of traffic regulations and ideal management of traffic infrastructure.

Understanding the importance of traffic management, we plan to interact with government authorities and private organizations to obtain their support and involvement. But we believe that it is not possible without creating awareness of traffic issues and the need for enforcement of driving regulations. The Road To Change also wishes to supplement/assist all regulatory authorities in activities of traffic discipline, control, technology, enforcement and response to various public issues. We are here to promote and encourage disciplined driving and pedestrian movements and work towards facilitating such efforts.

We believe that creating awareness is an important step toward building commuter’s understanding, influencing opinion and motivating behavior.

As Dan Bellack says “Life is too short for traffic” so, let’s not waste our lives on road.

Do you agree with this statement?

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