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2018-11-28

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Indian Society
www.thehindu.com

Traffic at Vikas Marg, New Delhi | Photo by Shiv Kumar Pushpakar  

Indian cities and towns, bustling with people, vehicles and narrow roads, are among the most congested urban areas in the world.

But there are variations among them. How do these cities and towns rank by mobility — the ability to move from one location to another?

Researchers Prottoy A. Akbar and others from various U.S. universities, in their paper titled 'Mobility and Congestion in Urban India', categorise cities on the presence (or absence) of a good road infrastructure and traffic congestion.

Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad were found to be the slowest moving cities, while Ranipet (Tamil Nadu), Srinagar and Kayamkulam (Kerala) were found to be the fastest.

The average travel speed across the 154 cities studied indicates that the average speed in Indian cities is 24.4 km/hr.

Use the below interactive to find out how your city fares. Higher the mobility index, faster the traffic moves in your city.

How to read this chart:

Top right area of the chart: Higher congestion & higher mobility (better road infrastructure)

Bottom right: Lower congestion & higher mobility index(best performing)

Bottom left: Lower congestion & lower mobility index (poor road infrastructure)

Top left: Higher congestion & lower mobility index (worst traffic)

Mobility index factors in parameters like traffic, weather and time of the day to arrive at a number. Higher the index, the faster the city. This index also takes into account the 'congestion factor', a measure of delay caused due to traffic. In general, a high congestion factor correlates to a lower mobility index.

One of the important findings of the study was that several cities had a low congestion factor, but also a low mobility index (meaning traffic was more slow-moving). This indicates that better road infrastructure and better planning can improve the city's mobility index. For instance, several cities in Bihar, such as Muzaffarpur and Gaya had a low congestion factor, but low mobility as well, indicating that infrastructure changes could bring about a higher mobility index.

The study, which simulated over 2 crore trips across 154 cities, was published as a World Bank Policy Research Working Paper recently.

The below visualisation shows the relationship between number of registered vehicles (as of 2016, data from the Ministry of Road Transport) in big cities and the congestion factor.

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