Losing hours, health and money on Mumbai’s roads

If you think the nightmarish state of the city’s roads is taking a toll not just on your back but your energy, productivity and pocket too, the rest of the city agrees. According to data mined by private firm Traffline and made available to HT, the delays and disruptions on pothole-affected roads are leading not only to loss of time but also to loss of fuel and productivity.

The data reveals that on the Western Express Highway (WEH) alone, delays in south-bound traffic from Borivli to Bandra amounted to loss of fuel worth Rs 61.5 lakh a day and productivity loss of 5,710 workdays (calculated for nine-hour workday) for the week ending August 2.

Given the density of traffic on the WEH during weekdays, the figures revealed a dismal state of affairs. “On the WEH, travelling in just one direction led to a staggering loss of time and productivity due to traffic snarls,” said Ravi Khemani, chief technical officer (CTO), Traffline. The damaged road, left unrepaired for weeks, in addition to the construction work near the domestic terminal of the airport, added to the mayhem.

Data analysed for east and west-bound traffic between 4 pm and 10 pm every day of the same week on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) showed that fuel worth Rs14.5 lakh was wasted in a day and Mumbaiites lost the equivalent of 1,360 workdays. For people travelling south towards the Fort area on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, the corresponding loss was Rs. 6.3 lakh on fuel and 586 workdays, the data showed.

“On the JVLR, potholes just before the ‘L&T’ flyover and unlevelled paver blocks appear to be the cause of traffic delays,” said Khemani. This stretch, going east towards Vikhroli, was the worst hit with commuters spending 95% more time during the monsoon to travel the 10.6-kilometre stretch.

“This kind of quantification is significant. Even after allowing for statistical error, it shows the real impact of bad roads of which potholes are a major factor,” said transport analyst Ashok Datar. “The total cost of the impact could be much greater than the money spent on filling in potholes. The authorities must understand that bad roads do not just mean additional cost for the civic body — a far higher price is paid by the citizens.”

Of the roads surveyed, the Matunga-Byculla stretch oHn Dr BA Road showed a relatively smoother traffic flow with 31 to 34% extended delay to cover the 6.1 km. “A major reason for the better figure could be the newly-opened Eastern Freeway on June 13,” said Khemani.