The roads in Delhi are in the grip of a worsening congestion leading to problems in terms of burden on both climate and economy, says a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
According to the study, average traffic speed on 13 arterial roads is currently 50 to 60 per cent lower than their designed speed and 35 to 48 per cent lower than the regulated speed of 40-50 km per hour.
Due to this, not only does the pollution increase, but the congestion also causes staggering costs on the economy “that no one pays off”, says the study.
The study says that when average morning peak hour speed of 28 km per hour drops to 25 during evening peak, nitrogen dioxide levels increase by 38 per cent.
It points to a study by Indian Institute of Technology-Madras that estimates annual congestion cost of Rs 54,000 crore in 2013, which is 12.5 per cent higher than Delhi’s total annual budget for the year 2017-18.
“There is virtually no difference in time taken to travel between peak and non-peak hours,” the study said, adding that the weekend traffic speed and congestion is worse than that on weekdays.
CSE says that the current obsession to only build and widen roads and make elevated roads and parking facilities will lead to more congestion.
The study urges pushing for better public transport strategies, walking infrastructure along with appropriate pricing of car usage to curb motorisation.
“If not addressed immediately, Delhi will merely run to a stand-still. This is an inevitable consequence of explosive and unrestrained vehicle numbers that have crossed the mark of 10 million in 2017,” says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE.
The study said that with a further drop in car prices under GST, car congestion will only grow.
Currently, congestion on Delhi roads is growing at seven per cent annually. About 537 cars and 1,158 two-wheelers are added every day on Delhi roads.