With the Highways Department proposing to construct four elevated roads in the city to ease traffic flow, experts in urban development feel that the construction of the flyover and the elevated roads would not help decongest the city roads but lead to the addition of more vehicles.
The elevated roads were proposed at those stretches which witness traffic snarls all through the day. “We will first study the feasibility of constructing an elevated road in these busy stretches and then decide on going ahead with the project,” a senior Highways Department official said, adding that construction of the elevated roads are the only option on these stretches and it will provide a long term solution from the traffic snarls.
KP Subramaniam, a former professor of Urban engineering at Anna University, said that such elevated road projects would help only those travelling in the cars, not the users of public transport. “The elevated roads or flyovers will reduce the congestion for the first few years. Afterwards, it will create more congestion. That is the case of any flyover in the city and it will transfer congestion from one junction to another,” he said, adding that the elevated roads will not serve buses, cyclists, pedestrians or even two-wheelers.
Investing in public transportation system, particularly on buses, would be the best option to decongest city roads, said Aswathy Dilip, Senior Programme Manager of Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Pointing out that the 2006 National Urban Transport Policy’s motto is that the future cities should focus on facilitating the movement of people, not vehicles, she added, “We should not be concerned about how slow the cars are travelling or private motor vehicles are travelling. We should look at how quickly people can reach their destinations. In Chennai, the most efficient way of moving people is by bus. Every day, 50 lakh people use buses. We should think about how efficiently these people can be moved,” she said, asking the government to invest in the Bus Rapid Transit System and purchase new buses.