July 05, 2005

Flyovers and cars

My every-second-Monday MidDay column, from yesterday. Comments welcome.


eV said...

The paradox is a classic one: after a point we probably passed years ago, each additional car only makes travel harder for everyone.

I dont see the paradox. It makes sense for one to buy a car coz he is more comfy with the car rather than without. So while the additional car may bring down the utility level of the overall system, the individual's utility is increased.

As for the main point you were trying to make: For public transportation systems like metro rail to become a grand success, last-mile connectivity becomes a crucial point. If I need to walk for some 5-10mins beyond the rail station, I would rather avoid the train coz of the poor state of our roads wrt pedestrians. So not only should the reach of the metro trains be good, but also the roads should be amenable to pedestrians.

If I could bring in a cultural angle to this, dont we Indians still believe in social hierarchy based on status? Would people be willing to give up the pride in commuting in one's own car and instead mingle with the crowd? Here's one way to check that hypothesis: Does it happen in Mumbai's local trains? Or is it just those who cant afford cars that use the locals on a daily basis?

eV said...

I seem to disagree with sriram on a few points. The reasons he lists to explain why PT would be inconvenient would not exist in a PT system with sufficient reach(connectivity) and frequency.

Also, the solution Sriram proposes is not consistent with the fact that roads are public goods.

His crib about commies reminded me of this tamil movie Anbe Sivam. Dilip, you should watch it - if you havent already.

Vikrum said...


I thought your article was excellent. I agree with you that the vast majority of Mumbaikers use public transportation (and cannot even dream of purchasing a car), so it makes sense (since this is a democracy) to work on ways to help the train-using majority.

Sriram, me fascinan tus comentarios y espero que sigas escribiendo! (una burlita)