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:: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 ::

Working with traffic jams

One fine day on our way back from work, just escaping a traffic jam only to enter another one, yours truly and a friend + colleague + fellow-commuter decided to do some "Root Cause Analysis" using all the management jargons we had learnt in our glorious career. Glorious because, if I call it boring, it defeats all the marketing lessons we have had!

So we started by the book - by creating a "problem definition" first. Then follow some simple logical steps to arrive at a solution.

Traffic jams are caused all over Bangalore in the morning hours and evening hours. What is traffic jam and why does it happen?

Traffic jam is a phenomenon where inflow of vehicles at a certain location are more than outflow of vehicles, resulting in accumulation of vehicles at that location.

The problem is now defined in simple words. Let's look at the parameters involved. Vehicles are the subject of traffic jam. Inflow and outflow are the activities involving the subjects. Since higher inflow being the root of the problem, this is where we should address it.

Location: Marathahalli Bridge.
Inflow: Arrives from Whitefield, via graphite junction and Kundalahalli gate.
Outflow: Outflow is regulated at Marathahalli Bridge.

Ok, now we know what needs to be addressed. Next question is to work on an approach. The solution now looks obvious. Regulate the inflow to a degree that it does not overshoot the outflow! So let's take a careful look at that parameter to arrive at a solution.

Inflow comes via Graphite Junction and Kundalahalli Gate. So the obvious resolution to the problem - let's have checkpoints at these locations to ensure reduced inflow at Marathahalli Bridge! Now for the implementation strategy - install signals and appoint cops in these junctions so that no more vehicles than what Marathahalli Bridge can take shall pass through these places!

Incidentally, those who have been taking this route for last two years would have noticed that this is exactly the approach taken by Bangalore Traffic Police in the stretch. Two years ago, we had a major problem of a traffic jam at Marathahalli Bridge. It was eventually distributed to multiple areas, creating traffic jams all over the place.

But can't really blame them. We simply don't have enough roads to match the number of vehicles that are getting that are getting into the roads everyday. Guys, let's start taking buses, let's not become contributors to the pains that the city is going through.

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