April 29, 2017

Future of Smart Cities

Chalta Hai attitude will Kill the smart cities

The world may be discussing the construction of Smart Cities in India. Eagerly waiting citizens who feel they are lucky to see their native place chosen for Smart City are in the same boat. But to think of the reality and how people will behave gives me nightmare.

Mumbai is financial capital of India. A lot has changed in the city and city continues to progress in many aspects. The spirit of Mumbai is seen only in times of disasters and calamity. On a routine day the spirit is missing. Be it getting in to a local train at some of the most challenging railway stations during peak hours like Mira Road, Goregaon, etc. towards Churchgate or in the evening at Andheri, Goregaon, Borivali towards Virar. No one will ever says Pehley Aap. To this extent it is fine and acceptable.

Now let us discuss busy roads and highways connecting Mumbai city from Ahmedabad and Nasik. Motorists be it bikers, goods carrier, three wheeler, car owners / drivers, all are impatient. Civic sense is missing and no one cares. The only thing that matters on these roads is how my car or bike can move one inch ahead of the rest. In the bargain if I land up creating traffic jam it’s not my problem. Technology alone can’t help create SMART CITIES. It is the attitude that needs change.

My observation of travelling regularly on western express highway after the repairing of bridge on the creek near Fountain Restaurant has begun is worth a case study. You may create Smart Cities, you need to have citizens and Police with Civic Sense to enjoy the fruits of it.

What is the Problem?

The civil police and traffic police typically stops traffic on three sides and allows only one side traffic. When this is done. The old bridge that is under repairs is used for cars and smaller vehicles. The new one is used for heavy vehicles.

During this period each side gets roughly 15 minutes to 30 minutes to drive. This creates major traffic queue on remaining three sides waiting for their turn. During this period if you close your eyes for few minutes, you would get a feeling that you are at a railway station. Yes railway station. Garma garam chaay, caafee, thanda paani bottle, toys, pea nuts, samosa. Happy to see some poor people making money in whatever opportunity they get by working hard.

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Now compare this with learned qualified people driving and some in chauffeur driver cars, etc using wrong side  skip the queue. The cops have placed some signage cautioning and warning motorists not to use wrong lane. Some civil police constables who try to stop these vehicles do their job half heartedly.

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One side that has literally gone out of control is the Ahmedabad highway leading to Mumbai. Regular motorists wants to save time and on purpose they drive on wring side of the road to save time when traffic is thrown open.

The law abiding citizens wait in traffic for a minimum of 90 minutes and more. While the ones on the wrong side are lucky despite breaking traffic rules.

Check these videos to see the sorry state. From .45 second onward you would see how vehicles from wrong side block almost two lanes for oncoming traffic. Police is there but God Knows what they are doing.

Nothing can become SMART. Neither Mobile nor CITY. Everything needs personal touch and basic etiquette. If this is missing then dreaming of Smart City and Bullet Trains is like visiting museum. The first opportunity visitors get they make it dirty, steal things and behave as if nothing has happened.

This everyday traffic that will continue for next few months will come as a big setback to the economy. Imagine at least four hours per day wasted in traffic jam. And reason is poor traffic management.

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Even the Collector Shri. Mahendra Kalyankar has noticed the same.

This can be controlled only by fear psychosis. The traffic police and civil police on duty constables have to be attentive and doing their duty right on the place where motorists start driving in wrong direction. Some private agency security guards are posted to do their jobs.

Secondly, all motorists who use wrong side should be fined heavily. And made to return instead of being allowed to move ahead. On Oct 28, 2016 because of the sloppiness of the traffic police Mumbai bound traffic was stranded for almost two hours. Saw several vehicle break down. And traffic on other side of the divider came head to head.

In this video from 2.42 onwards you would see the law abiding citizens while the impatient ones saving their time using wrong lane.

Precious time and money is being wasted. Chances are high patients may not reach hospital on time. Other emergency may also suffer. People are loosing out business. Wear and tear of vehicles has gone up.

This is the place Kings Court Hotel where constables and private security agency are letting the vehicles go.

This video shows law abiding citizens in queue. Now imagine the stretch of the traffic jam. Every vehicle in this jam is wasting good 90 minutes minimum. While vehicles in wrong direction will cross in maximum 30 minutes.

There is the difference when I write minimum and maximum. The police and local administration should take corrective step on war footing basis.

Solution:

  • Time to install dozen of CCTV near Kings Resort and right up to Fountain restaurant.
  • Zero Tolerance for motorists who drive in wrong direction.
  • Action against the traffic police who are obliging the motorists breaking traffic rules.

Over two months already wasted. Minimum three months more to go as per The Times of India report. Whatever is the timeline. The issue is traffic violation is serious issue and this has to be stopped. Law abiding citizens are getting impatient and needs to be respected by the police and administration.

Request administration to take this on priority and commuters to cooperate for mutual benefit. Inputs on the same welcome.

Credit: The Times of India Mumbai edition.

 

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