As revival of the contentious steel flyover project by the coalition government made headlines, a mobility and traffic volume study of the project on the road to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has argued that the flyover would be saturated with traffic volumes beyond its capacity on the day of its inauguration.
The study ‘Shifting Focus from Supply to Demand – The Changing Face of Transportation towards Sustainability’ is by Ashish Verma, associate professor, CiSTUP, Indian Institute of Science (IISc.). It argues that a metro line (with 2 Up lines and 2 Down lines) on the same corridor can easily serve commuters up to 2044.
Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru development minister Dr. G. Parameshwara, on Tuesday, had announced that the government is reviving the steel flyover project on ‘popular demand’ to ease the commute to the KIA.
The previous Congress government had dropped the project in March 2017 following stiff opposition from civic groups. The Deputy CM’s announcement has drawn the ire of the civic activists again.
The IISc. study argues that the steel flyover would not ease the commute to KIA, as is being claimed by the government.
The study considers three scenarios: annual vehicle growth rate at 4.5%, as mentioned by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in the steel flyover DPR, 10.6% traffic volume growth replicating the volume growth at KIA over the past nine years, and number of cars double every five years in the city.
The study says that the vehicle to capacity ratio in Mehkri Circle is already 2. Going by the BDA’s estimated 4.5% annual growth of traffic, this will only worsen over two years, which is the estimated time taken to complete the project. Essentially, traffic volume would have exceeded road capacity by several times on the day the flyover would be inaugurated, the study says. At the same time, a metro line on the corridor, with half the passengers shifting to metro, will serve the corridor till 2087. The 4.5% annual growth of traffic is a very optimistic assumption, argues Dr. Verma. KIA has seen an annual traffic growth of 10.6% over the past nine years.
Assuming traffic on the airport corridor will mirror this trend, the corridor-with-a-flyover already has 2 times traffic volume than the road capacity at Mehkri Circle. A metro line on the corridor will serve till 2048 with half the passengers shift to the metro, he said.
Dr. Verma said the number of cars have been doubling every five years over the past decades. The corridor already has traffic volume of over three times the combined capacity of the corridor-with-a-flyover. Even with such high traffic growth, a metro line on the corridor will serve till 2044 if even half of the passengers shift to metro rail, he said.
He said that Indian cities are facing ‘a vicious cycle of congestion’ fuelled by exponential growth of car ownership, a situation developed economies have already faced: USA 50 years ago and Europe 40 years ago.
“We are reinventing the wheel. There are many examples of nations, like Netherlands, that have come out of the vicious circle of congestion through sustainable transport solutions – mass transit systems and non-motorised transport,” he said.
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