As the population of our country dramatically increases and the number of vehicles on the nation’s roads and highways skyrockets, new methods of traffic control and organization have become necessary, by utilising new methods of transportation or by revising the current system. However, traveling in India is almost an hallucinatory mixture of sound and sight. It might sound hilarious, but when you are on the road, its extremely dangerous. Most Indian road users observe an ancient road code, which accounts for majority of road accidents which often prove fatal.
In the last 5 years, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased manifold and to add to this we have to give way to cows, elephants, buffalos, ox-carts, pigs, auto-rickshaws, pedal rickshaws, goats, bicycles, handcarts, dogs not forgetting the casual pedestrian too. Cars and other vehicles cause an enormous expense to our society and these expenses are mainly due to traffic accidents, traffic jams, and the environmental hazards created by the large number of vehicles on our roads. Traffic accidents account for one of the major reasons that the current techniques of traffic control need revision.
Then there is the Accident risk, which means – the chance of injury to yourself or others and the chance of damage to vehicles and property. Therefore, following the basic signs, signals and rules of driving can avoid this risk. One huge risk though, is to be under the influence of an illegal substance or drug while driving and nothing has been done so far to stem this problem. The most important safety tip to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities is to pay attention. The chances of being in a collision with a motor vehicle can significantly be reduced by obeying traffic rules and being aware of the dangers posed by vehicles in your vicinity. Both drivers and pedestrians have certain safety responsibilities that depend both on circumstances and common sense.
Apart from this, traffic jams, along with broken cars and the lack of alternate routes, account for one half of the traffic congestion. Although the number of traffic accidents has slowly decreased over the past several years due to various projects that have been instituted, like flyovers and the ongoing Delhi Metro Project(i.e., with reference to the traffic control in Delhi),the number is still alarmingly high. Majority of deaths occur due to traffic accidents alone. In addition, traffic jams also demonstrate the need for better methods of traffic management. Due to both the increase of women in the work force and the expansion of businesses to the suburbs, traffic jams have increased dramatically over the past few years. As a consequence of these traffic jams, the population gets delayed in reaching their work spots which creates further worry and confusion. Another negative factor is that, drivers, while waiting in their cars during traffic jams, waste gallons of gasoline, which contributes to further environmental hazards.
Road crashes are another major and growing cause of death and injury mainly to children. Twice as many pedestrians are killed in road crashes in industrializing countries than in industrialized countries. School children are the victims of a high proportion of these crashes. It is therefore important that children receive road safety education as part of their curriculum. Younger children are not aware of the concept of danger and must learn to realize the dangers inherent in the road environment. Education should, therefore, be based on practical training in a realistic road environment such as training in crossing streets, crossing parked vehicles and crossing at intersections. Parental involvement is invaluable to model and reinforce road safety behaviour.
Highways themselves cause a large number of accidents in India today. Driving at night along highways that are poorly lit and which has a regular stream of traffic without any speed limits, causes severe damage to both life and property. Despite this, the government has failed to increase the number of roads and highways proportional to the extraordinary increase of vehicles on the road. Hazards to the environment also prove the necessity for more worthwhile methods of traffic administration. As many more vehicles make use of our metropolitan city roads, the amount of poisonous hydrocarbons released into the atmosphere steadily increases. On the average, one out of every four Indians has problems breathing during the peak summer months due to the excess of smog in the atmosphere. Studies have shown that automobiles produce the majority of this smog. Even though emission standards have become more rigid and the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has been introduced, no significant change has been observed in the reduction of environment pollution.
Further, noise pollution from the large number of automobiles on the roads also contributes to the devastation of the environment. Despite the many problems that exist with the present systems of transportation and traffic control, numerous solutions exist that provide both efficiency and effectiveness. These include formulating new methods of transportation, developing better traffic signaling and controlling equipment, and utilising better techniques of highway design and construction.
Designing new types of transit provides one of the most obvious and efficient approaches of improving traffic management. In today’s society, mass rail transit exists as one of the most efficient and quickly developing techniques of enhancing the current transportation system. Many moderate to large sized cities currently offer some kind of rail transit, whether it be a subway or elevated system, and most of them are well-used. This could possibly be the answer to solving our traffic problems too.
On the other side of the spectrum, however, many new and exciting forms of technologically advanced rail transit are currently in development. A MAGLEV train, or Magnetic levitation train, has recently been introduced into the transportation world. Driven by powerful electromagnets, this train levitates several inches above the track. This reduction in friction allows the train to reach speeds upto 300 miles per hour. The introduction of this train in India would solve our traffic problems considerably. However, this does not seem possible in the near future.
In addition to rail transportation, buses represent not necessarily a new transportation method, but certainly one that can be taken advantage of and utilized to its fullest potential. One of the major advantages that buses have over rail transit is that buses can take their passengers wherever they want to go, and routes can easily be Changed.
At present, despite adopting new methods of transit, there is no particular lane discipline, since traffic entering a road from the left has priority, so has traffic from the right, and also traffic from the middle and therefore, Indian traffic at all times and irrespective of direction of travel occupy the centre of the road. Modifying the current techniques of traffic control may exist as another solution to the unruly traffic problem, and another way to improve the current methods of transit is by optimizing better traffic signaling and controlling equipment.
Using better techniques of road development and construction also accounts for part of the effort to modify current traffic control methods. Although it may seem like the obvious solution, simply building more roads and highways is not the answer, cause in India, Driving is no longer a means of transportation, it’s a fight of survival and road supremacy.
Apart from the constant changes that are taking place for improving traffic management, it would be advisable for us, as responsible citizens, to abide by traffic rules, understand traffic lights, road signs, road markings and signals given by drivers and the police. Stop, look and listen before crossing a street. Understand that crashes can lead to getting hurt. Understand that domestic and wild animals on the roads cause accidents. Identify and understand causes of road crashes and how to reduce risks. Know simple first aid. Appreciate the needs of special groups i.e., the very young, the old and the disabled and set a good example to others. But most of all – Be aware that traffic rules are not always observed by other road users and therefore the knowledge and understanding of road traffic and a responsible attitude toward each ones own safety and the safety of others can contribute a great deal to a safer environment.