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The road is only as wide as…

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.


Anonymous said…
I totally agree with your views. Infact, i would add to your theory and say that the flow of traffic will infact slow down as the widening will lead to more vehicles getting in the queue leading to jams.

the level of frustration among the people travelling on such roads will also go up by the same logic.

The lack of transparency in the system about the road plans and the lack of planning is causing all of us as citizens hugh amounts in taxes which are going up everyday. No wonder, Hyderabad is pne among the top rankers for the highest taxes.
Qais said…
You are absolutely correct, sudeep. This uneven road widening just doesn't serve the purpose. And we have good number of such examples in Hyderabad.

By the way, i have linked up ur blog to mine. sorry for responding a little late. was busy with some other things..
Anonymous said…
The news article below may be of interest.
Thanks for the Biryani info.


Hyderabad, July 25: It seems the traffic police have shifted their
focus from road safety to 'smooth flow' of traffic. They have decided
to increase average speed on city roads to 20 km per hour by December
2005 as against the prevalent speed of 14 kmph. "We are planning to
increase the average speed through several initiatives," said the
additional commissioner of police (traffic), A.K. Khan. "We will
depute more policemen for regulation of traffic on the roads to
improve traffic flow. We are thinking about deputing constables below
the age of 35 for quicker action." The average speed of 14 km per
hour is likely to be maintained at busy corridors. But on other roads,
it will be increased.

Mr Khan said that introduction of more traffic signals and curbs on
parking will be taken up. In all, 50 additional junctions have been
identified for traffic signals. Police will also be asked to resolve
traffic snarls quickly. "We are making efforts to improve traffic
infrastructure by working closely with MCH, R&B, Huda, APSRTC and the
Water Board," said Mr Khan. He added that 44 important roads had been
identified for widening and for provision of better amenities. In all,
300 km of city roads had been dug up by various agencies in the last
few months. "We have banned digging of roads in the monsoon," said Mr
Khan. "We will fine those who dig the roads."

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