One of the principles in Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt's Theory of Constraints goes like “The speed of your system is only as fast as the slowest process that you have in your system”. And this simple truth has enabled many large organizations achieve fantastic productivity. I would now like to apply this theory to my pet topic of late and that is to the Roads of Hyderabad.
Let us consider the system to be the road network. In this network the speed at which the traffic will flow will depend on the speed of the traffic at the narrowest portion of the road. So if someone asks a question how many vehicles will move in an hour from Point A to Point B, its fairly simple, find out what is the size of the narrowest portion of the road between point A and point B and calculate how many vehicles can get through there in an hour and you have your answer.
The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad has been doing a spate of road widening activities of late – matter of fact I think they have gone berserk – cutting through peoples compounds (alas they supposedly cut through the chief ministers compound too), bringing down commercial establishments and worst of all cutting down the trees that have struggled to grow braving the drought, the bulls, the people and the pollution (but could not survive the MCH that’s supposedly growing them).This road expansion is not being done in an even manner. When the road widening has to touch an influential persons property (except for the chief ministers – his property is already been used for widening the road – guess he has to act as the road model – or is this why he has built a new house – food for thought) or a religious place of worship the road stays as it is.
So my question is - what is the use of widening the road when the volume of traffic the road can handle would be the same as it was before the road was widened. Why is this so? This has a very simple answer if you have not already figured it out. The volume of traffic the road can handle is the volume that can flow through the narrowest portion of the road and that is the width of the road at the place where it could not be widened which is the same as it was before it got widened.
So what did we achieve through all the road widening? Nothing! We just spent crores of rupees and created more confusion on the roads. So what am I trying to say? Widen the road with a plan to widen it consistently otherwise don’t widen it.