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Opinion

Speeds on Delhi Roads Drop After Lockdown As Congestion Returns – Report

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Average travel speed on some stretches of Delhi dropped from 46 km / h during the lockdown period to 29 km / h afterwards, as the reopening of the economy triggered a spike in congestion, the Center for Science and Environment said. Environment (CSE) in a report on Monday.

The report is significant as the level of congestion on the highways has a strong influence on vehicle pollution.

“The upswing in post-closure congestion indicates that Delhi is not ready for transformational changes to reduce traffic volume,” the CSE said.

It tracked this change with the help of data from the Google Mobility Report on different categories of visits classified as Retail and Recreation, Grocery and Pharmacy, Parks, Transit Stations, Workplaces and Residential. He also analyzed Google’s traffic speed data as a proxy to understand the level of congestion which has a strong influence on vehicular pollution, which is significant in Delhi.

The 12 main roads selected included 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.

Analysis of travel speed data from the CSE shows that the average travel speed on the selected sections increased from 24 kmph before the lockdown to 46 kmph during the lockdown, a 90% increase, when fewer vehicles were on the roads as only essential trips were allowed.

But the average speed dropped back to 29 kmph after the crash, it shows.

During peak hours, travel speed on selected sections increased from 23 kmph before lockdown to 44 kmph during lockdown. But this was reduced again to 17 miles per hour after the lockdown, he says. The CSE said that the rebound in congestion is occurring when the number of passengers on public transport in Delhi is still low due to fears of contracting the virus and the scale of public transport options is still highly inadequate to meet demand.

“Public transportation is expected to be further constrained by social distancing regulations. This is already encouraging people to switch to private modes of transport, ”he said.

“Delhi cannot meet its clean air targets if general traffic and vehicle numbers are not controlled. The Delhi Master Plan 2020-21 had set a target of 80% public transport passengers by 2020 which has been breached, ”the report reads.

The CSE said there was an 87% drop in visits to transit stations for different purposes during the total closure compared to baseline levels or the pre-closure phase.

“Trips to grocery stores and pharmacies were down by more than 70%, but they were still higher than all other visits as people were trying to restock and prepare for closure. “Trips to the workplace were reduced by as much as 65% during the weekdays as working from home was widely practiced… The change in the traffic pattern has also been reflected in the air quality data. In fact, the time change in nitrogen oxide levels that are most strongly correlated with traffic almost flattened out during this period, ”said the CSE.

“After the blockade, the displacement pattern was close to normal but did not fully regain the pre-block level. Trips to the supermarket and trips to the workplace recovered to the maximum at the end of November and were now only 15% lower than the pre-closure phase, ”he said.

Hindustan Times

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