How Can Delhi Traffic Be More Human Centric Sociology Essay Example
How Can Delhi Traffic Be More Human Centric Sociology Essay Example

How Can Delhi Traffic Be More Human Centric Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 17 (4620 words)
  • Published: July 23, 2017
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Efficient traffic network in Delhi is dependent on the seamless integration of interconnected elements such as transportation infrastructure and land utilization.

Placing the significance of individuals in the transportation system correctly is crucial for its success. However, Delhi has a different perspective on this matter. Presently, transit and vehicles are closely intertwined. The challenges encountered by urban traffic are simply boiled down to a set of numerical figures. The quantity of vehicles, road area, and other data dominate contemporary transportation planning.

Transportation is much more intricate than what is commonly believed. The individuals, who are at the core of all the tasks and resolutions, are often overlooked. People shape the urban area and consequently its transportation system. By including them, there is an immediate shift in the way we approach problem-solving. The impact of people on the entire transportation co


ncept, including their actions, social tendencies, emotions, aspirations, and everything in between, is carefully examined.

(Jacobs, The decease and life of great American metropoliss, 1961) This survey examines the problems of Delhi traffic and suggests that a more people-centric traffic design can help solve them. The issues addressed include congestion, de-pedestrianization, increasing fuel costs, eroding of streets, design abuse, and design failure. Congestion is not always a result of road widening but rather a consequence of large-scale interactions among many people or vehicles. De-pedestrianization occurs due to the risks involved in walking. Converting a street into a road signifies the end of its pedestrian-friendly nature.

According to Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961), people are being compelled to resort to safer modes of transportation such as automobiles. However, those who cannot afford them will have to

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endure the dangers of Delhi. The industrialization of traffic has disrupted the balance of equity and inclusivity, leading to a natural need for powered personal transportation. Owning a car holds a significant amount of memories and aspirations.

According to Illich (1978), the comparison of cars to fashion emphasizes the desire to display status while interacting with other vehicles on the road. However, this leaves the majority of low-income groups without viable options, forcing them to walk or cycle and constantly face dangers on motorized roads. TIWARI (2001) suggests that it may be beneficial to explore integrated multi-modal transportation, as people value choices in movement.

Walking may be the most effective solution in heavily congested countries, but this may not be applicable in other locations. For example, implementing pedestrian-only areas and introducing a metro rail system in Connaught place might work well, but the same approach could fail in the large and unsafe roads of Gurgaon. Planners, authorities, and designers should embrace a more interdisciplinary approach to address this challenge. How can Delhi traffic be more focused on human needs?

Scope of Study

This study specifically focuses on the city of Delhi and the National Capital Territory (NCT), including Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, and others. The traffic issues discussed here concern urban local road traffic, including cars, motorcycles, bus transit, metro transit,and pedestrians.

The survey primarily focuses on the current traffic conditions in Delhi, with any mentions of the history of traffic serving as indicators of the present situation. While measurable aspects of transportation networks exist, human reactions are mostly intangible. Therefore, interviews and observations play a crucial role in this research. As a result, case studies will be utilized to validate

any hypotheses.


The studies presented have an unequal distribution of content between western and Indian literature due to India being a developing economy where traffic is a relatively new issue. In contrast, the West has significant experience in this field.

Time is essential for conducting a survey, and it should be completed within a 4-month timeframe, regardless of its duration. Additionally, there is flexibility in dividing the work. Given the size of NCT, the survey will offer an overview along with one or two specific examples to demonstrate the country's general characteristics.


This survey examines case studies that focus on people's perceptions, socio-economic status, and cultural characteristics. It also explores the influence of people on traffic and vice versa.

The text discusses the understanding of the conveyance system in Delhi and compares different critical areas in the city, such as Shahjahanabad, Lutyens, and New Delhi. The writer aims to explore the impact of people in the Delhi conveyance system and its various aspects as part of their thesis. This will involve preparing case studies, analyzing secondary studies, and conducting interviews to determine how people can be included centrally in the traffic system.


Before any statement or decision is made, it is necessary to avoid any semantic arguments.

The definitions provided below serve a specific purpose.

  • Motion: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 'movement' refers to the act or process of traveling, specifically the change of place or position.
  • The philosopher Ivan Illich effectively defines the following in his essay "Energy and equity."
  • Traffic: Any movement of people from one place to another when

they are outside their homes.

  • Transit: Those movements that utilize human metabolic energy.
  • Transportation: The mode of movement that relies on other sources of energy. (Illich, 1978)
  • Why Do We Travel?

    Simply put, we travel because we have the ability to do so. We acquire mobility from a very early age. It can be confidently stated that motion is an embodiment of 'life' itself. When it comes to the city, a person lives at home, then travels to work, for food, clothes, and returns back to their shelter.

    "His motion is what brings vitality to the metropolis. His movement, along with that of many others, adds liveliness to the metropolis." (Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961)


    Prior to comprehending traffic comprehension, it is crucial to grasp the city itself. The city and its traffic system are closely intertwined. To promote economic activity in urban areas, a seamless and sustainable flow of people and goods is necessary. Insufficient mobility is widely recognized as a significant obstacle to the economy and can even have adverse effects on daily life.

    (POLICY, 2001) It is a well-known fact that the metropolis and its traffic are inseparable.

    Delhi: An Introduction

    In 1639 AD, Shahjahan, the Mughal emperor, built a walled metropolis in Delhi. This metropolis served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. By 1803, the British had conquered Delhi and declared it as the capital of British India in 1911. During the twenties, a new capital metropolis called New Delhi was constructed south of the old metropolis. After gaining independence from British rule

    in 1947, New Delhi became India's designated capital and seat of government. With India's partitioning, many Hindu and Sikh refugees sought refuge in Delhi while Muslim residents migrated to Pakistan. Migration to Delhi from other parts of India has continued, resulting in population growth surpassing the declining birth rate.

    The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 officially designated the Union Territory of Delhi as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Delhi's economy encompasses construction, power, telecommunications, wellness and community services, and real estate. It boasts one of India's largest and fastest-growing retail industries. In 2001, migration contributed to a population increase of 285,000 in Delhi, while natural population growth added an additional 215,000 people, solidifying its status as one of the world's fastest-growing cities. By 2015, it is projected that Delhi will be the third-largest agglomeration globally following Tokyo and Mumbai.

    The territories and their orbiters

    • Cardinal Delhi
    • North Delhi
    • South Delhi
    • East Delhi
    • North East Delhi
    • South West Delhi

    New Delhi - Inspired by Lutyen architecture style with grand boulevards and radial roads. Located south of Old

    Delhi; includes iconic landmarks like India Gate and Connaught Place.

    Cardinal Delhi is the home of the cardinal business area and skyscrapers. It encompasses Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire. This location houses significant landmarks like Delhi Fort and Jama Masjid, the main mosque in Delhi. Administratively, Cardinal Delhi is divided into three subdivisions: Darya Ganj, Pahar Ganj, and Karol Bagh. In North Delhi, it is further divided into Sadar Bazar, Kotwali, and Civil Lines. Meanwhile, South Delhi consists of Defence Colony, Hauz Khas, and Kalkaji subdivisions. The Southern area is widely regarded as the most affluent residential district in Delhi.

    In this

    survey, we will focus on places in New Delhi, Old Delhi, and South Delhi. Satellites. The cars. With upscale countries like Greater Kailash, Chittaranjan Park, Alaknanda, Hauz Khas, Green Park, Defence Colony, New Friends Colony, Gulmohar Park, Gulmohar enclave and Vasant Kunj, it has the highest land monetary values outside Lutyen's Zone in Delhi. South West Delhi administratively, the territory is divided into three subdivisions, Delhi Cantonment, Najafgarh, and Vasant Vihar. (Wikipedia) Prior to the early 1990s when India opened its then-restricted market, having a vehicle was viewed as a luxury and taxed accordingly. Today, along with an increase in spending power, a combination of issues are deterring potential purchasers in India from actually buying a car: India is a "scarcity usage" economy, one in which households find ways to continually recycle products until the products completely wear out. The combination of fuel cost and inadequate infrastructure has led Indian consumers to buy primarily two-wheelers and small cars.

    Despite the ability of some people to afford larger automobiles, many choose to buy smaller ones (Bruce M. Belzowski, 2009). Cars are often blamed for the problems in cities and the failures of urban planning. However, the negative impacts of cars are more of a reflection of our inability to effectively build cities than a direct cause. If cars had never been invented, our cities would still face similar challenges.

    The extent to which cars contribute to the devastation in cities due to transit and traffic demands versus their disregard for other city needs, uses, and functions is debatable. Cars, which are abundant, operate slowly and waste a lot of time. One consequence of their low efficiency is that

    even powerful and fast vehicles do not travel much faster than horses. Trucks, on the other hand, generally fulfill many expectations that were placed on mechanical vehicles in cities. They perform the work of a much larger number of horse-drawn vehicles or burdened individuals. However, since passenger vehicles do not, this congestion significantly reduces the efficiency of trucks.

    ( Jacobs, The decease and life of great American metropoliss, 1961 )

    Economy and Production

    During the mid-1990s, foreign manufacturers entered the market in India through Joint Ventures with domestic manufacturers as mandated by the government. This led to increased competition and attracted global suppliers to support their manufacturing clients in India. In 2000, the government removed the requirement for foreign companies to form JVs with domestic companies. With India's growing gross domestic product (GDP), there was an increase in vehicle production and sales in the country, surpassing one million during fiscal years 2004-2005. Consequently, Delhi's perspective has shifted.

    Delhi's attention has shifted from population growth to giving priority to the middle class.

    Roads in Delhi

    The quantity and diversity of cars in Delhi have risen considerably in the last 15 years, turning it into a city for car owners. What used to be a luxury for the affluent is now an essential requirement for every middle-class household.

    The ownership of a car indicates an individual's social status, with cars now representing success. Rather than simply being a mode of transportation, cars are now considered essential possessions. The lower socioeconomic groups aspire to own one car, while the higher classes aim for multiple vehicles. This desire is fueled by worldwide competition to be the top consumer.


    to Nair (2012), the use of motor vehicles for transportation is expected to increase. However, a study conducted by UTTIPEC in Delhi contradicts this prediction. The study shows that 14% of commuters own cars, 13% have two-wheelers (scooters & bikes), 40% depend on public transportation, and 34% are pedestrians and bicyclists.

    Despite the fact that a large percentage of the population uses public transportation, it is important to note that this percentage also includes walking to and from pick-up and drop-off points. However, the city's infrastructure does not seem to accommodate this. According to Nair (2012), Delhi city has heavily invested in its road infrastructure in recent years and celebrated this achievement. However, this came at the expense of neglecting the public transportation system, resulting in an infrastructure that favors private vehicles. Additionally, due to the thriving economy, cars have replaced buses on the roads and cyclists have switched to motorcycles and bikes. Consequently, pedestrians are now considered as the most marginalized commuters on the roads (Public Transport International, 2009). The streets are primarily designed with cars in mind.

    This highlights the attempt to showcase New Delhi as a globally renowned city, despite only reflecting a fraction of society. The streets predominantly concentrate on vehicular traffic, disregarding pedestrians and cyclists. Advertising displays along the road, including large billboards and bus stop ads, all prioritize the road. Despite being utilized by a minority, the roads hold significant significance and are emphasized. Within the road system, cars take precedence over buses. (Nair, 2012)

    The improvement and safety of coach travel are not provided by anything better. The most accepted improvements are better coaches and coach Michigans because they

    do not halt the car owner. Other attempted alterations have been met with skepticism and protest, as exemplified by the Delhi Bus Rapid Transport System (Nair, 2012).

    Delhi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System

    The Delhi BRT was implemented to address the increasing demand for better public transportation and reduce road congestion. It was designed to allocate dedicated lanes for coaches, cyclists, and pedestrians, who make up 50-60% of all commuters.

    Comparing that to the fact that buses make up only 2-2.5% of the total number of motorized vehicles on the road, it demonstrates significant deficiencies in the infrastructure of public transit systems. A total of 26 BRT corridors were planned, spanning a total length of 310 kilometers in major parts of South Delhi. These corridors were situated in the middle of the road, with bus stops on pedestrian islands, and were separated from the rest of the road by barriers. The pedestrian islands were accessible to everyone, featured well-designed street furniture, and even had a designated rickshaw parking area.

    These changes resulted in a decrease in the amount of accessible land for cars. (Nair, 2012)

    The Delhi Metro

    The latest form of transportation, the subway, is considered to be inclusive. It does not break any boundaries and includes everyone, but it reduces the social gap in society. Currently, the widest range of people from different social classes use the subway more than other forms of transportation. (Nair, 2012) "The subway has also made public transport a more egalitarian experience. A plumber from Jahangirpuri, wearing traditional attire and simple sandals, sits next to a well-dressed executive with a laptop.

    ' '' ( Chaturvedi,

    2010, p. 6 ) On the other hand, only 4-5 % of the transposing population utilize the tube. Individuals who prefer to travel by bicycle or on foot to reach their destination still do not consider using the tube as a viable choice. Even when compared to other means of transportation such as the bus and train, it remains costly.

    The tube was designed specifically for the middle and upper classes, not the general public. Its purpose was to appear luxurious in preparation for the upcoming Common Wealth Games in 2010. The materials used and the overall appearance of the tube and its stations clearly cater to a certain demographic. These features discourage people from lower social classes from using the tube, making them feel uncomfortable. Additionally, accessing the tube is not as effortless as boarding a bus. However, it is unfair to criticize this mindset as one of the tube's goals was to decrease traffic congestion on the roads, which it successfully achieved.

    This is because the Delhi tube was designed to cater to the needs of those who used private modes of transportation and were accustomed to a more luxurious lifestyle, which is why it was well-received (Nair, 2012). However, it completely disregarded those who do not belong to the preferred social class. The construction of the tube has resulted in homelessness for many, including the workers employed for its construction. Additionally, it has also contributed to the gentrification of the areas surrounding the tube. While the Delhi tube bridges the gap between the middle class and the wealthy, it further widens the divide between the poor and the rest of society.

    According to Nair

    (2012), the Metro in Delhi has contributed to a sleeker and more comfortable city. The city now prioritizes providing housing for its workers while also relying on their labor to improve the lives of the better-off. Chaturvedi (2010, p.8) notes that owning a car is seen as the ultimate status symbol in society, particularly for the lower classes. This desire for car ownership is reinforced by the constant commercial images one encounters daily. Though more people can afford cars nowadays, it is increasingly becoming a social necessity rather than just a mode of transportation. While riding in a bus, one observes numerous cars speeding past. Car owners often assert their right of way with arrogance. Additionally, consumerism subtly influences us on the road through continuous advertisements for various products.

    ( Nair, 2012 ) 'We are exposed to numerous commercial messages while driving on the expressway: billboards, radio advertisements, bumper-stickers on cars, and signs and banners placed at shopping malls that we pass. The majority of this exposure is unplanned-we do not intentionally seek it out. ' ( Woodward, 2000 ) When comparing the Delhi Metro with the Delhi BRT, both were equally emphasized and promoted. However, the distinction lies in the target demographic each was intended for.

    The significance and image of a transportation system have become extremely important. The different transportation systems divide society based on their economic status, regardless of the majority that utilizes them (Nair, 2012). In Delhi, this has resulted in car owners feeling deprived of what they believe is their birthright. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is seen as a symbol of class struggle (Chaturvedi, 2010, p. 96). The implementation of

    the BRT in Delhi shifted the importance from car owners to public transit users. Although the BRT caused inconvenience, it was also not given a chance to succeed.

    The introduction of the transit system in India was met with criticism, as it was not a type of transportation that the Indian consumer would typically use. According to Nair (2012), the success of the BRT system relies heavily on managing behavioral changes, which requires comprehensive planning and ongoing improvement efforts to increase its acceptance and bring about necessary behavioral changes. Public Transport International (2009) also emphasizes the need to improve the system and drive its acceptability for effective behavioral changes.


    Planning an automotive infrastructure for a population of over one billion people is a daunting task for developed economies. However, developing economies face additional challenges such as limited finances and inadequate roads.

    According to Bruce M. Belzowski (2009), the transportation substructure plays a crucial role in the automotive industry. Specifically, road building is a task that only the government of India can handle. Improved connectivity of the metropolitan areas is directly linked to the progress that the industry can make. The quality and accessibility of roads are clearly the most critical factors.

    'Lack of traffic-law enforcement is often mentioned as a hindrance to growth. In India, traffic human deaths are 8.7 per 100,000 people, compared to 5.6 in the United Kingdom, 5.4 in Sweden, and 6.7 in Japan.' (Bruce M. Belzowski, 2009)

    According to Belzowski (2009), as congestion increases, it becomes increasingly important to enforce drive and route subject. It is crucial to enforce both separately and through policy. Additionally, 30% of drivers have not received driver's instruction and lack understanding

    of signals or lane subject, resulting in accidents on roads. To address this issue, progress in government education, national car testing centers, licensing of individuals, and reducing the number of vehicles that change speed on the same roads is essential (Belzowski, 2009). Belzowski (2009) also suggests improvements in oil tanking facilities at ports, oil terminuses, and cross-country pipelines.

    India's government needs to invest significantly in order to create equal opportunities for both public and private sector companies. This includes the construction of better roads to support not only current growth but also future growth, as well as improving the vehicle friendliness of Indian cities by implementing wider roads and more parking spaces. Another important aspect is enhancing air quality. According to Bruce M. Belzowski (2009), the percentage of urban Indians is currently around 30%, but this number is rapidly increasing.

    The stable western states have more than 60% of their population living in cities. India is expected to grow until it is at least twice its current size before stabilizing. This highlights the need for a well-anticipated and timely plan for the future of a city, including preparation for expansion and concentration.

    ( POLICY, 2001 ) India is currently facing difficulties in accessing basic necessities such as education, entertainment, and employment, while also dealing with a rapid increase in the number of cars and a lack of road space. According to POLICY (2001), the number of motor vehicles in India grew by more than 7.75 times from 1981 to 2001.


    In her book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," Jane Jacobs emphasizes the crucial role of safety and security on the streets

    for the success of a city. The discomfort and problems faced by the city's residents stem from the failure to ensure safety and security on the streets.

    (From Jacobs, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, 1961) The accident rates in the metropolis have increased, with numbers rising from 1.6 hundred thousand in 1981 to over 3.9 hundred thousand in 2001. Similarly, the number of individuals killed in road accidents has also risen from 28,400 to over 80,000 during the same period (POLICY, 2001). Those who are frequently injured include bicyclists, pedestrians, and those who reside on the pavement.

    ( POLICY, 2001 )

    Delhi 's Peoples and their Nature

    Percept of Spaces

    'We experience the universe as a series of spacial forms and we store them, and we recall them and we match them up against world and we are doing anticipations all the clip ' ( TED, 2003 ) Every person has the ability to detect, understand and react to their environment. Throughout one's life, the brain stores every experience as mnemotechnic devices that help process future situations. This concept is derived from the cognitive theory of the brain. According to this theory, observations are stored in the brain's memory as a database. The brain continuously interprets each situation by cross-referencing sensory input with its memory.

    According to TED (2003), individuals react to their environment based on their own reasoning. The database that each person creates is influenced by their civilization, local environment, and society. When a group of people share the same environment, they tend to have similar reasoning and therefore, respond similarly. However, an individual's behavior

    is not solely determined by their society and culture but also by their past choices.


    In every part of the universe, individuals have the same fundamental needs and engage in similar behaviors to ensure their survival. These basic human needs can be met in any setting. However, how individuals meet those needs differs based on the physical environment. These variations give rise to different cultures among different groups. The unique ways in which traditional groups fulfill their needs can be referred to as their civilization, characterized by "constancy, homogeneity, and uniformity."

    (Moore (Editor), 2000, p. 183) Culture provides society with guidelines on how to behave and interact with each other and their surroundings. It serves as a means of transmitting information from one generation to the next through the creation of spaces and objects and how individuals engage with them. (Moore (Editor), 2000, p.

    180 )

    Segregation ;  Exclusivity

    Class is a further division of society within a civilization. It is the category that determines an individual's place and position in society. Initially, business was the main criterion for segregation in most societies, but over time, both business and social status became hereditary. The division was also based on the perceived value of one's business in society, rather than the character of the individual (Ross, 1920, pp. 404-405). There is always a desire among lower classes to advance to a higher class.

    In the past, it was difficult to bridge the gap between different social categories. However, over time, it has become easier to move up the social ladder. The upper category is always smaller in size but holds more

    power than the lower category. Those in the upper category try to maintain this divide as it makes their position more unique. Exclusivity is the act of limiting something to only a certain group of people and is a prevalent social phenomenon in today's society. (Ross, 1920)

    The modern interpretation of caste and category is evident in many Indian references. Architecture has always reflected social divisions and reinforced exclusivity. Spaces have been intentionally designed to respond to these aspects of culture and society, thus perpetuating these ideas. Cities worldwide are now able to communicate and affect one another, resulting in increased trade and transforming the culture of many cities.

    Globalisation: A New Cultural Phenomenon

    The cultural landscape of the 20th century has been profoundly shaped by the transition to a capitalist economy and the widespread process of denationalization. These changes, coupled with technological advancements, have led to significant economic growth in many parts of the world and have had a major impact on the global economy. The denationalization of major economies has resulted in economic globalization. Today, culture has transcended its traditional boundaries and is evolving towards a unified global culture that is heavily influenced by currency. While India still maintains a culture rooted in its people, major cities are experiencing a gradual shift towards a more globalized culture, with its effects spreading to other parts of the country. This transition from state control to denationalization is a global trend.

    The rise of mass production, improved communication and transportation methods has resulted in intense competition among manufacturers to quickly sell their products. Thus, global society has become centered around the mass production and consumption

    of goods. As a result, people now primarily identify themselves as consumers, with their monetary value determining their social status. (Featherstone, 2006)

    The emergence of consumerism in major Indian cities has resulted in a shift in people's self-value and the value they place on others. According to Wikipedia's definition of consumerism, it is a societal and economic order that encourages the desire to purchase goods and services in increasing amounts. In today's society, financial status determines one's social class.

    The items one purchases, the concept of brands, and other factors determine how individuals evaluate each other. One's societal worth is based on their purchasing power and the products they possess. Society is currently divided based on economic status, which leads to the prevalent exclusivity seen in cities like Delhi.

    India, specifically Delhi, is striving to present itself as a world-class city. The progressive and growing middle class represents the modern Indian, who is constantly aspiring to move up to higher social classes. However, this also exposes them to the ideology of consumerism, making them vulnerable. This transformation can be viewed as India's progress and catching up with the rest of the world, but it also leads to a society where the gap between the poor and the wealthy is rapidly widening.

    Constructing a Case for Delhi - Vehicular Congestion

    Understanding route congestion as an emergent belongings of traffic webs
    Human interaction is a constant and important intrinsic belongings of

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