udayan kishor
NEW DELHI, 13 JULY: The traffic chaos in the Capital has attracted Delhi High Court’s attention which has sought the government’s reaction on this issue. The direction came after the filing of a public interest litigation (PIL), which pointed out the causes of the problem and also advocated solutions.
The bench of acting Chief Justice B D Ahmad and Justice Vibhu Bhakru has asked the Delhi government and the Delhi Traffic Police to file a reply on 22 August. The PIL focuses mainly on the traffic chaos on Vikas Marg.
The application said the techniques used by traffic police at the traffic intersections contribute to traffic congestion. "The process encourages lane changing, mixes non-motor and motor vehicle flow, creates traffic bottlenecks and increases waiting at the intersection," said the petitioner Sudhir Jain.
 He said this, in turn, increases traffic congestion, increases air and sound pollution, wastage of commuters’ time and energy, loss of foreign exchange on oil imports and increases stress and inflation.
 The petitioner says the reasons for the problems are the "road shape and space are limited and cannot be extended" but the "density of traffic increases substantially" during office hours.
"At intersections, signals have to manage eight traffic movements; four straight and four right-turns. But signals at a time can manage just two traffic movements, and stop six traffic movements… So, the signal stops more traffic, then it allows to pass and thus, signals contribute to traffic congestion at intersections," says the petition.
The petition adds that both straight and right turn traffic occupy road space. "The right turn traffic spreads like a balloon at intersection and blocks straight moving traffic flow. The process develops traffic bottlenecks and restricts the traffic flow," said the petition.
Vikas Marg (3.3 km) is recognised as one of the ten major traffic bottlenecks in Delhi and stretches between Dayanand Vihar to Laxmi Nagar Turn are the most congested stretches on Vikas Marg. According to experts, it takes 15 to 30 minutes at an average speed of 13 to 7 kmph to cross the stretch.  While from 10 a m to 10:22 a m, the average speed on this road remains 9 kmph, from 5:45 p m to 6.15 p m, the average speed remains 7 kmph.
The petition also talks about some solutions for the traffic solution. "The problems of traffic management can be simplified by diverting a portion of traffic at an intersection to suitable alternatives. The process will reduce waiting at the intersection and will remove traffic bottleneck… Usually, right-turn traffic is diverted, but sometimes, straight and left-turn traffic may be diverted," said the petition.
Earlier, the traffic police had applied traffic decongestion plan to simplify traffic management at Vikas Marg, such as at ITO three right-turn traffic (RTT) are permanently diverted, at IP Flyover two RTT are permanently diverted. "Another two RTT are diverted during evening office hours. At Shakarpur T-intersection two RTT are permanently diverted and the following traffic diversions fully decongest Vikas Marg," the petition said.
However, it said, the traffic police has not extended traffic decongestion plan to the remaining intersections of Vikas Marg, such as at Vijay Chowk, Madhubhan Chowk, Preet Vihar Chowk, Karkari Mor and Dayanand Vihar Chowk, which are constructed within the distance of 3.3 km.
"The traffic police can easily apply Vikas Marg traffic decongestion plan to smoothen traffic flow during evening office hours from ITO to Anand Vihar through Vijay Chowk to Karkari Mor without spending a single penny because, suitable alternatives are available," said the petition.
For traffic flow from ITO to Anand Vihar, the petition suggests that RTT from Vijay Chowk and Madhubhan Chowk would be diverted to left-turn loop at PSK.
"RTT from Preet Vihar Chowk would take U-turn from Karkari Mor. Traffic at Disused Canal Road from Shastri Park be diverted to Vikas Marg at Vihar intersection," suggested the petition. It said these solutions do not require investment of public money and can be implemented overnight to decongest Vikas Marg during evening office hours to improve traffic flow from ITO to Anand Vihar.
For traffic flow from ITO to Anand Vihar, it suggested that construction of PSK Chowk will decongest Karkari Mor, Preet Vihar Chowk and Madhubhan Chowk.
"Construction of road at drainage canal flowing behind Income Tax Office would develop alternative route to left-turn traffic, which would decongest ITO A-Point (Ram Charan Agarwal Chowk). The art of signal synchronisation on fully decongested Vikas Marg would provide continuous traffic flow during office hours, which would increase traffic flow at average speed of 45 kmph. This is five times better than today’s traffic discharge of 7 to 9 kmph," said the petition.  In addition, decongested signalled system would provide space for bus bays near intersection, which could be used to construct bus network system, in which, commuters would design routes and would change carriers at appropriate intersection to travel to their destination, just like Delhi Metro network system.
The petition said decongested signalled system is easy and cheap to construct. "It can be implemented overnight. It creates high speed traffic corridor. It stops traffic flow for pedestrians to cross the intersection. It does not shift bus bay. It strengthens public transport and develops bus network system for fast and cheap commuting from anywhere to everywhere, round the clock," said the petition.