India’s financial capital, Mumbai, has scored over all other cities in the country in terms of car congestion. The density of private cars in the city has increased 18 percent over 2 years. As of today, there are 510 cars on road every sq km, which is 5 times higher than Delhi which has 108 cars per km.
The reason for this is that though Mumbai has a third of private cars as compared to Delhi, the density is much more due to the lack of road space. Mumbai has 2,000 kms of roads as against Delhi’s 28,000 kms. Following Mumbai is Pune with 359 cars per km, followed by Kolkata with 319 cars per km and Chennai with 297 cars per km. Bengaluru is at the bottom of the rung where leading cities are concerned with car density of just 149 per 1 km.
Transport expert Ashok Datar warns of travel in Mumbai becoming a nightmare. He has long advocated use of private buses in suburbs and a kerb on purchase or mobility of private cars. What is more alarming is the rapid increase in density of cars which stood at 430 cars per km in 2016 which has now increased to 510. 49 percent of road space is used by private cars and the increased traffic congestion has seen speed across the Western Express Highway drop to just 10 kmph during peak hours.
RTO reports suggest that the eastern suburbs of Mumbai have 1.7 lakh registered private cars in the past few years while western suburbs records 5 lakh registered cars. Powai has the highest number of SUVs and high end cars followed by Chembur with almost every middle class household possessing a car.
Andheri and Goregaon has seen an exponential rise in private cars with increased high rise buildings while private car buyers in Kandivali, Bandra and Borivali show more affinity to purchase of larger cars.
Enhancement of public transport is the need of the hour. The State Government is planning more metro corridors to ease the traffic situation and also plans to resolve parking issues as stationary vehicles consume one fifty of road space. A special body has been appointed to take action against illegally parked vehicles while plans are afoot to identify roads which can be used exclusively for parking.