Sunday, July 25, 2010

some more world class

What, or rather, where do you think the writer is talking about? Subsidies on transport etc?

"You will see the shiny metros with their relatively empty coaches – with excellent security systems, I might add – but you will not get any insight on why they go empty and need large operating subsidies."

Not India, no. Not yet. He's talking about 'world-class' transport infrastructure that our politicians and bureaucrats want to emulate. He's talking about the USA.

"Upon seeing the deserted neighbourhoods, you might ask, why did Camden deteriorate? Well, the story goes like this. From the 1950′s onwards, USA embarked on a massive project to connect its cities with “interstate” highways. But rather than making cities more prosperous, these new highways precipitated the flight of the white middle class into the sparsely populated suburbs. These new suburbs were accessible only by cars, because public transport was unviable at such low population densities. As a result, a car become a basic necessity in American life and no one walked or cycled on the streets any more. Trips became longer, highways became congested and the governments built more highways to meet the demand that they themselves had artificially created."

It is a must-read and I hope the chief minister reads it. Please bring it to his attention, somebody.

The transport system in this city is a godawful mess and far too much of this mess is artificially created. Perhaps I will write about it some day from a citizen commuter's perspective. For now, there's this post.

1 comment:

sumeet said...

Very interesting find.

I particularly like the four pictures showing how bad policy making combined with vested interests led to deterioration of a once prosperous part.

We don't want any part in India to go that way!

Transport in Delhi is a mess too, but I have realized that it's mostly true for most congested urban areas in (surprisingly) both the developed and developing regions.

In India, the eclectic range of modes of transportation makes it much more complex to design a system where everyone can commute with ease and efficiency.

There has been some improvement in Delhi recently though with low floor buses (apart from the deservedly much edified Metro.

But Urban infrastructure still remains a huge challenge for the governments, involved organizations and investing with everyone expecting a share in revenue once the system becomes operational.

So it remains quite a daunting task to actually design and implement an elegant system!

I had been reading some stuff from Economist where they had some interesting insights from the experts on these subjects on the nature of challenges involved...

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