Living in Kathriguppe and having my workplace in Whitefield means I have to bear the full brunt of Bangalore traffic twice a day, every weekday. Supply chain management, according to Prof Janat Shah, could be divided into three (don?t ask me the names of all three; I suffer from memory loss).

At the first level, you just ensure that you stick to procedures and do whatever you are doing the right way. At the second, you make minor alterations in the way things are done, and hope for some improvements. Finally, you fundamentally alter the way things are done, and expect that it would bring in drastic improvements. It is not hard to see that while successive ?levels? are more impactful, they are also that much harder to implement.

Traveling 26 km each way every day doing nothing (I take a BPO level jeep) gives you the opportunity to think of what could be done to make travel better, and make the journey faster. At level one, one can think of enforcement of rules that are in place. Ensuring people don?t jump signals. Ensuring people stick to lanes. And all such. Level three would involve fundamentally changing the way Bangaloreans travel, and would take much effort. Here are a couple of pertinent observations, which I think can be classified into level two.

1. a large number of bus stops in the city are located in bottleneck areas! You think you have just gotten over a major bottleneck, when you suddenly see that two lanes of road in front of you have become one. A bus has suddenly stopped, and lengthened the bottleneck. In most such cases (except some hopeless ones such as near NIMHANS), shifting the bus stop by a couple of hundred metres would ease congestion greatly.
2. I am not sure about the algorithm used to calibrate traffic signals. While in some places, they are blink-and-miss, in a number of other cases, they lead to huge pileups, which sometimes extend up to the next signal. Using scientific methods for signal calibration would also help. Also, I notice that signal timings, at most signals are not aligned to changing traffic patterns as a function of time of day. For example, the traffic profile at any signal at 9 am would be vastly different from what it is at, say, 6 pm which would be different from 9 pm.
3. There were some intersections which were supposed to be unmanned, and hence had speedbreakers. Now they are manned, and the only purpose the speedbreakers achieve is in slowing down the traffic further, thus taking a much longer time to clear the traffic. Get rid of speedbreakers at intersections which are manned most of the time.
4. There are a large number of ?interacting intersections? (I?ll dedicate a post to them soon) ? pairs of intersections which are geographically close together where the traffic from one intersection feeds into the other and vice versa. Now, independent management of these intersections could lead to one intersection promoting a deadlock at the other intersection. Taking advantage of their geographical proximity, if walkie talkies were given to the traffic policemen managing them, valuable time could be saved for a large number of commuters.

I guess you people might have many more such ideas. Simple changes which could have a not-so-simple impact. If you do, please let me know.

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