Manmeet Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 24
A smooth and systematic flow of traffic on the city roads could not only help commuters in saving a lot of time and reduce their fuel bills, but would also help them in reducing stress, health hazards due to pollution, road rage instances, accidents and resulting loss of vehicles and precious lives.
Almost half of the city’s pollution is on roads daily, as they travel to schools, colleges, offices and workplaces. The daily expenditure of the city residents on their fuel bills is next only to their kitchen expenses. According to Household Survey-Central Employment Statistics 2011, the average transport expenditure per family in the city is 14.2 per cent of the total expenditure, which is kitchen expenditure (25.2 per cent).
The expenditure on housing (10.2 per cent), education (9.6 per cent), and health (6.6 per cent) is much less than the travel expenditure. The biggest reason for more travel expenditure is frequent traffic jams in which vehicles move at a slow pace and burn more fuel.
The Comprehensive Mobility Plan for Amritsar commissioned by the Punjab Municipal Development and Industrial Corporation and supported by the JNNURM released in March 2012 states that the city has around 540 km of roads. However, the average speed ranges between 11 and 40 kmph on arterial roads and between eight and 30 km on sub-arterial roads. Only 12 per cent of arterial roads have speeds of 40 kmph and above and 50 per cent of sub-arterial roads have lesser speeds.
The study had suggested increasing dependence on use of public transport systems to check transprotaion expenditure of residents. However, a smooth and systematic traffic system, too, can help people save a lot of money which they could divert to better education, health and housing sectors. It would improve their overall living standard.
As per estimated figures obtained from the transport office, the city has around 9.75 lakh registered vehicles out of which around 60 per cent are two-wheelers and 10 per cent private cars. Most of the city’s workforce is dependent on private vehicles to reach their workplaces.
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