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Re: [sustran] Re: [NewMobilityCafe] World's Most Congested Cities

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  • Sujit Patwardhan
    25 December 2006 Christmas Haven t read what Eric s written (and I m sure he wouldn t say that) but in my humble opinion advocating underground (especially
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 25, 2006
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      25 December 2006

      Haven't read what Eric's written (and I'm sure he wouldn't say that) but in my humble opinion advocating underground (especially Underground Metros) transportation mode as a means of reducing with the traffic congestion on the roads is like an Ostrich burying its head in the sand.

      Perhaps the same logic was put forward by the pioneers of flyovers (plenty of them hale and hearty in Asian cities) to overcome the problem of crowded streets. What many (not all) advocates of the underground are saying is that we simply can't do anything about the mess we have created on our streets so let's not waste time on locating the "source" of the problem (too many auto vehicles) but get on with building the underground tunnels with their promise of high (overkill levels) capacity,  which may de-congest the streets.

      This of course never happens. Just like flyovers (ones meant to relieve congestion, not the ones meant to cross railway lines etc) constructed at huge cost become magnets inviting even more auto vehicles (cars and two wheelers) to come on the roads, underground metros consume huge finances at the cost of other needs of the city and fail to attract level of ridership projected in the concocted project reports.

      But by this time the politicians have pocketed their loot, the infrastructure companies their obscenely high profits and the public left high and dry with over-crowded streets, crowded flyovers and underutilised underground metro.

      If one is really concerned with sustainable transportation and indeed sustainable life on our planet one has to acknowledge that auto vehicles have long crossed the limit in terms of their ecological footprint. NEW faster/high capacity modes, NEW cleaner fuels,  we can certainly pursue but let's not lose sight of the REAL problem and see how that can be reduced. Incentives for Public Transport, Non Motorised Modes (Walking and Cycling) and real disincentives for auto vehicles through various TDM measures appropriate for each city. I know I'm not saying anything new but in all the technical discussions of pphpd and cost per Km etc we sometimes miss the most obvious.

      On 12/25/06, Lee Schipper <SCHIPPER@...> wrote:
      Kind'a naive: Where does underground  transportation relieve congestion?   
      I would call Hanoi congested because of all the motorbikes parked on the sidewalks - last week I walked as much in the street (at great peril) as on so called sidewalks. And there are only 150 000 cars, a few thousand buses, and well over 1 MILLION two-wheelers!
      To leave Jakarta from a meeting..on congestion pricing - a bunch of us were given a police escort. I got to ride shotgun in the  police car itself (no they were kicking us out..the police escort didnt help much;    Jakarta has pay tollways as well as free surface streets, and while the pay tollways are  crowded they are much faster than the parallel streets that are free..
      Bangalore? Bangkok? Calcutta? Delhi? All bad.
      It really depends what you mean by congestion.  In cars/lane-km of street? In cars/sq km of city? Where do we count motorbikes? In lost time compared with travel time at freeflow? That's unfair because there really is no such thing as free flow except at 2 AM...
      The best emblem of all of this - the CICI bank in Pune  with a card table set up in front and a sign offering low cost loans for two wheelers - even though the streets themselves have no real sidewalks...why is there lots of private money for private transport but not even money to p rovide the public infrastructure for private transport but neither money for cost effective, clean public transport nor the will to charge people  for using the public infrastructure.

      >>> eric.britton@... 12/24/2006 9:00 AM >>>

      World's Most Congested Cities
      Robert Malone <javascript:fdcBioWindow('robertmalone')> , 12.21.06, 6:00 AM ET -

      <javascript:popit(' http://www.forbes.com/2006/12/20/worlds-most-congested-cities
      -biz-energy-cx_rm_1221congested_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=10000',800,700)> pic
      <javascript:popit(' http://www.forbes.com/2006/12/20/worlds-most-congested-cities

      In Pictures: World's
      <javascript:popit(' http://www.forbes.com/2006/12/20/worlds-most-congested-cities
      -biz-energy-cx_rm_1221congested_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=10000',800,700)> Most
      Crowded Cities

      Having the worst traffic can mean the worst accidents, worst pollution, worst
      crowding, worst commutes and a host of other ugly conditions and experiences.

      The list of the worst world cities for traffic is skewed by the growing impact
      of transportation revolutions in developing countries. It takes time to build a
      road infrastructure. It takes time to install and maintain a traffic system.
      Traffic lights have to be coordinated and their power source has to have
      redundancy. It takes time to train and educate drivers.

      The list of the world's most congested cities centers on many Asian and a few
      African and Latin American cities that for the most part are playing catch up or
      trying to. For the moment, at least, their growth is defeating them. Moreover,
      "traffic is only one of the side effects of growth," says Roy Barnes, the author
      and former Georgia governor, who had to contend with his own problems of
      congestion and growth.

      The inner cities in developing countries normally don't have underground
      transportation, and that means street traffic, and that means congestion. Even
      the presence of a new subway as in Cairo has not really relieved the pressure of
      ever more vehicles on Cairo's roads.

      Cities with the highest density of population per square kilometer are the
      logical candidates for becoming the most congested, because congestion increases
      as the growth in their wealth increases the number of cars versus the less
      expensive alternatives of bicycles, motor scooters or motorcycles. Cars take up
      more room whether they are in motion or when parked--if they can be parked. U.S.
      and European cities have often chosen to place garages in new buildings, while
      older non-industrialized cities often lack such amenities. Cars may therefore be
      parked everywhere, legally or illegally.

      The cities with the highest level of population congestion are:

      * Manila, the Philippines;

      * Cairo, Egypt;

      * Lagos, Nigeria;

      * Macau, off the Chinese coast;

      * Seoul, South Korea;

      * Dhaka, Bangladesh;

      * Buenos Aires, Argentina;

      * Jakarta, Indonesia;

      * Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Santo Domingo,

      * the Dominican Republic.

      To drive a car in any of them might be the ultimate challenge.

      Well over 50 million cars are being manufactured in the world each year, and
      they have to go someplace. There are over 240 million vehicles in the U.S.
      alone, while the world estimate is over 750 million vehicles and counting. The
      tilt is toward more vehicles for those places least able to cope with them. It
      is estimated that by 2030 the number of vehicles in the world will double.

      These cities have priorities, but the priorities rarely include building new
      roads or repairing old roads. The investment that's required also includes
      elements that go far beyond digging, filling and paving. There is a political
      nightmare that involves the need for land to build the road and a buy-in from
      the government, local despots and citizens. Making a better commute can get lost
      in the shuffle of appeasing or greasing each of these individuals or groups.

      The last word is from an expert musing over Los Angles--a candidate for
      congestion if there ever was one. "If they'd lower the taxes and get rid of the
      smog and clean up the traffic mess, I really believe I'd settle here until the
      next earthquake," said Groucho Marx.

      Pictures: World's Most Crowded Cities

      <javascript:popit(' http://www.forbes.com/energy/2006/12/19/india-congested-citie
      Pictures: India's Populace


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      Sujit Patwardhan

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