Improve public transport to ease traffic snarls : Expert

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Kochi, Nov 25 (UNI) Expounding a 'carrot and stick' solution to the traffic problem, former Mayor of Bogota in Germany Enrique Penolosa today said the public transport system should be improved and car use restricted to ease traffic congestions in cities.

Speaking to mediapersons here, Mr Penolosa said main focus should be on how efficiently the road space was distributed among buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

''The problem of traffic jams could not be solved by building big roads but through efficient road space management,'' he noted.

Mr Penolosa was here to address a workshop organised by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Indo-German Environment Programme --Advisory Services in Environmental Management (GTZ-ASEM).

GTZ supports the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for the development of sustainable urban transport system in five cities in India -- Kochi, Simla, Raipur, Nasik and Varanasi.

When asked on his proposals for Kochi city, Mr Penolosa said the new roads developed should have exclusive lanes for buses, good pathways and bicycle bays, which could avoid the traffic bottlenecks.

''By improving public transport system, more and more people would start using it and retricting car use by levies on gasoline and parking, the traffic entangles could be solved in Kochi,'' he said.

''The restriction should not be on ownership of cars but their use,'' he added.

He said rail services in cities were not an alternative as their investment and operational costs were high resulting in a high cost of 'rail mobility'.

In the workshop held on November 23-25, Mr Penolosa gave an insight into the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) implemented in his city and the advantages of Urban Mobility Plan of Bogota, which was hailed as the most successful and implementable model that could be replicated in Indian conditions.

The workshop was also attended by representatives of local bodies, State and Central Governments and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

GTZ Senior Advisor Regina Dube and Senior Technical Expert Vaishali Nandan were present at the media briefing.

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