The mean travel speed on select stretches of some roads in Delhi has slowed down leading to a rebound in congestion, according to a recent study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The selected 12 major roads included the MG Road, NH44, Sardar Patel Marg, Outer Ring Road, Dr KB Hegdewar Marg, Sri Aurobindo Marg, NH 9, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, GT Karnal Rd, Lal Bahadur Sha, Dwarka Marg, and Najafgarh Marg.
The report states that the mean travel speed on some roads reduced from 46 km/h during the lockdown period to 29 km/h after the lifting of the nationwide lockdown.
The CSE’s travel speed data analysis shows that the mean travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 24 km/h pre-lockdown to 46 km/h during lockdown — a 90 percent increase — when fewer vehicles came on the roads as only essential travels were allowed.
Congestion returned to close to pre-lockdown levels: The report explains
Travel speed is only indicative of the level of congestion on roads; this is not to build a case for high-speed traffic that can compromise safety and impede other forms of mobility like walk and cycling and the use of public transport.
This analysis shows a substantial change from the lockdown to post-lockdown phases. The overall traffic speed that had improved dramatically during the hard lockdown phases gradually increased with the reopening of the economy.
The travel speed data analysis shows that the mean travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 24 km/h pre-lockdown to 46 km per hour during lockdown (i.e. 90 percent increase). But this reduced again to 29 km/h (i.e. 36 percent decrease) during post lockdown.
During peak hours, travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 23 km per hour pre-lockdown to 44 km per hour during lockdown (i.e. 89 percent increase). But this again reduced to 27 km/h (i.e. 38 percent decrease) during post lockdown.
Similarly, during the off-peak hours, the travel speed on the selected stretches increased from 25 km/h pre-lockdown to 47 km/h during lockdown (i.e. 92 percent increase). But this further reduced to 31 km/h (i.e. 34 percent decrease) during post lockdown.
The hourly trends show that for both during lockdown and post lockdown, the most significant change was noticed after the 4 pm mark. The average increase in travel speeds after 4 pm during lockdown was 116 percent compared to pre-lockdown levels (higher than any other time during the first half).
And post lockdown, the speeds reduced by an average of 42 percent compared to during lockdown (lower than any other time in the first half). With a gradual reduction in travel speed on the road post-lockdown, it is highly probable that the travel speed will come down further to be at the same level as that of the pre-lockdown scenario unless drastic measures are taken to reduce dependence on personal vehicles.
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