Mumbai being the capital city of Maharashtra is the second most crowded metropolitan city in India with an estimated population of around 22 million as of 2017. According to the population census 1991 it was estimated to be around 9.9 million which shows that the population has more than doubled over the past 20 years. The rapid expansion in population is due to migration of people from small towns for employment opportunities, for seeking business, for education purpose etc. This in turn has affected the number of private vehicles running in the city as now it has become easy for people to buy cars or bikes with affordable EMIs and this has resulted in the decline in the use of public transport. Over the past five years the increase in the number of vehicles running and entering in the city is seen by 56% i.e. at present 3 million vehicles exist in the city.
The vehicles entering in Mumbai from other cities has now crossed the mark of 6 lakh and will soon hit 9 lakhs as it is also the place where tourists visit on holidays or people from the adjacent cities travel to Mumbai daily for work or for visiting government offices, courts etc. According to the expert the increase in the use of aggregator cabs such as Ola and Uber have also contributed significantly to the increase in the number of vehicle entering Mumbai. All this has negative impact on the vehicular movement as it has led to more and more increase in the number of vehicles running. The road length in Mumbai is estimated to be around 2,000 kms which has not changed drastically over this period as the city is surrounded by water on three sides so there’s no scope in expansion of roads in future as well.
Effects of increasing vehicles –
The effect of these vehicles are not as visible, however they are significant. The negative impacts include congestion on the roads which leads to heavy traffic in the city and is responsible for higher rate of accidents and results in more and more pollution, honking during peak hours on roads results in noise pollution. A study also found that commuters are subjected to noise levels of more than 90 decibels (dB) daily because of honking. All this has severe impact on the health of the individual and also to the environment as the pollution leads to increase in the emission of greenhouse gases.
1. Inadequate Infrastructure: Although the infrastructure has improved in the recent years, still at some places the roads are dug up for construction of flyovers where they are not required also causes traffic jam.
2. Lack of planning: Too many pedestrians and hawkers moving on the roads or crossing and not permitting cars to turn or restricting vehicle movement leads to traffic.
What can be done?
• There is need for maintaining the speed limit. Though the rules are in place, people don’t follow the rules and drive rashly at times. Traffic police need to be more observant.
• Good metro rail service is important as by using metro it can help reduce the burden of private cars.
• Imposing special cess on diesel/petrol and hiking parking rates can help to curb the use of private cars.
• Improving proper parking policy and also by keeping the arterial roads free of parking on either side of the road during peak hours will help to mitigate the problem.
• Scheduling roadworks for the middle of the night or when the road is not busy will help in smooth movement of the vehicles.
• By making use of digital technology to a greater extent, it can dissuade people from coming to the city for visiting government offices, courts etc.
• Carpooling is the best way to reduce the traffic and help the environment.
• It is important to educate people and inculcate traffic education among youth about the rules and discipline while driving.
There are several news on traffic jam in Mumbai on a daily basis. One such was seen during monsoon on July 17, 2018, the Sion-Panvel highway faced a major traffic jam, this time stretching for three kilometers between Kharghar and CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai.