There was a time when the number of people who walked on our roads outnumbered the vehicles that plied on it. Today, the opposite holds true.
“Back to basics: urban transport policy, as if people and the environment mattered,” a guest lecture by Dr. Madhav Badami, Associate Director, School of Urban planning and McGill School of Environment, McGill Universuty, Canada, on 23.05.09 traced the rapid increase of motor vehicles and its impact on urban transportation.
The last few decades have seen a phenomenal growth in the urban transport system in India. With a growing economy and increasing loan options, owning a vehicle is no longer a distant dream. Having a vehicle enables one to travel at one’s own time and leisure and reduces the dependency on public transportation.
However, with more and more people now being able to travel in their own vehicles, the city’s roads have been clogged with a traffic explosion, which has also adversely affected the environment in which we live.
Increasing vehicular movement, over the years, has led to a rise in the number of road accidents as well as an increase in the pollution levels.
Through a detailed graphical representation, Dr. Badami compared the growth of the motor vehicles, over the last decade, in India and the U.S., with the growth of the population.
Dr. Badami also spoke about the difficulties faced by cyclists and pedestrians, including school children and elders. Bangalore was cited as an example on how poor road maintenance, including potholes, damaged platforms, etc, can cause inconvenience to the public.
Pedestrian accessibility, according to Dr. Badami, should be improved to make walking on the roads a safer experience. He also called for strong and effective action by government officials to deal with the challenges faced because of the rapid growth of motor vehicles in the cities.
Dr. Manoj S. Khatri honoured Dr. Badami.