July 15, 2024

BENGALURU EXPRESS

Truth Triumphs

TomTom Traffic Index: Bengaluru congestion levels down by 32%; hybrid work cultures seen as contributor

· Bengaluru saw a decrease (average congestion level of 32% in 2021) in congestion compared to pre-Covid period in 2019.

· Bengaluru slipped to the tenth position from being the most congested city in the world during pre-Covid in 2019.

· Bengaluru saw its worst congestion levels during the monsoon, when waterlogged roads led to more traffic snarls.

Bengaluru, Feb. 9: TomTom (TOM2), released the 11th edition of its annual TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing traffic trends seen in 404 cities in 58 countries, throughout 2021, on Wednesday. Bengaluru slipped to the tenth position from last year’s sixth and saw a 32% average decrease in congestion compared to the pre-Covid period in 2019, with 49% and 37% average decrease in congestion during morning and evening rush hours respectively. The remarkable shift happened within two years, when it ranked as one of the two most congested cities globally in 2019.

Despite a drop in congestion levels, four cities from India featured in the TomTom Traffic Index’s global top 25 list – Mumbai (5th), Bengaluru (10th), and New Delhi (11th) and Pune (21st).

2021 was the year where changes in our working habits were solidified: the home office is becoming a standard for many companies; teleconferences have replaced physical meetings and flexible work hours allow many commuters to avoid and offset their rush hours. As a consequence, peak hours have shifted in almost 40% of the cities worldwide.

Bengaluru’s congestion levels came down to 48 pts in 2021 from 71 pts in 2019, which means a 32% decrease. The peak traffic congestion also reducing by 44 pts in 2021. The city saw its worst traffic day on October 9, 2021, when heavy rains caused certain waterlogged pockets causing widespread traffic logjams and increase in congestion levels.

The other three cities from India featured in the Index – Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune saw an average decrease in congestion levels by 18%, 14%, and 29% respectively. India fared better than the global average of 10% decrease in congestion.

While congestion levels in Bengaluru have gone down, the number of private vehicles has increased because people found them an easier means to maintain social distancing safely, keeping the congestion lower than last year. At the same time, both the civic body and masses have encouraged the adoption of EVs in the city.

Speaking about the report, Sachin Tyagi, Strategic Automotive Business Development Manager, TomTom said, “At the heart of our location intelligence is the map. We work with big data and optimize our maps with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The real-time traffic information we collect to understand congestion patterns indicates that mobility options are rapidly changing as a part of the adaptable lifestyles resulting from the pandemic. While the congestion levels are lower as compared to pre-Covid times, it is mostly because of demand for ecommerce and changes in work patterns in Indian cities.”

Change behaviours and traffic patterns can make a significant difference. Congestion is non-linear: once traffic goes beyond a certain threshold, congestion increases exponentially. Discouraging drivers to drive during peak rush hour can lead to big improvements, as proven during the pandemic.

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