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Individual Assignment on

Solving Bangalores Traffic


Woes Through Innovative
Thinking
Course Name MGMT 5150 (Skills for Leadership)

Course Instructor Prof Alexandra Campbell

George Mathew Thekkekara


Student Number - 215730104
Schulich School of Business York University
Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary ............................................................................................................... 3
2 Description of the City & its Traffic Problems ....................................................................... 3
3 Decision Document ............................................................................................................... 4
3.1 Identifications of Root Causes for Traffic Congestion ................................................................ 4
3.2 Inherent Risks Associated with Current Traffic Congestion Problems ....................................... 4
3.3 Recommendation (Innovative 15% Solutions) ............................................................................. 4
3.3.1 Strengths of the Recommended 15% Solutions .............................................................................. 5
3.3.2 Potential Weaknesses & Risks associated with Recommended Solutions ........................................ 5
3.4 Primary Alternative Recommendation ........................................................................................ 6

4 Application of Analytical Thinking ........................................................................................ 7


5 Application of Innovative Thinking Techniques ................................................................... 8
5.1 Application of Appreciative Inquiry ............................................................................................ 8
5.2 Application of Identifying & Challenging Assumptions ............................................................. 8
5.3 Application of Stretch Benchmarking ......................................................................................... 9

6 Developing 15% Solutions .................................................................................................... 10


7 Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 12

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1 Executive Summary
This document aims to provide viable recommendations to the Mayor on how to solve the traffic
congestion problems in Bangalore. A decision document detailing the merits of the recommendations
along with its weaknesses & risks are given. Analytical & Innovative thinking techniques are used to
substantiate the process of arriving at the stated recommendations

2 Description of the City & its Traffic Problems


Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. It has a population
of about 12.3 million, making it the third most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration
in India. Bangalore is sometimes referred to as the "Silicon Valley of India" because of its role as the
nation's leading information technology (IT) exporter. Several Indian technological organizations such as
ISRO, Infosys, Wipro and HAL are headquartered in the city.

Apart from being the IT capital of the country, Bangalore is synonymous for its traffic problems. Recent
survey (The National, 2012) ranks Bangalore 6th in the world for traffic snarls. The vehicular population
in Bangalore is about 1.5 million, with an annual growth rate of 7~10% (Bangalore City Traffic Police,
2016). Of these two wheelers constitute more than 70% of the total volume, while cars comprise 15%,
autos 4% and the remaining 8% include buses and other heavy occupancy vehicles. Conservative estimate
(The Times of India, 2017) show Bangalores 1.18 crore citizens waste 60 crore man hours annually and
almost 2.8 lakh litres of fuel are wasted per hour a day.

The primary reason for the existing traffic congestion in the city can be attributed to the poor
transportation infrastructure, which the city planners failed to account for during the citys rapid growth
as the IT capital of the country.

Figure 1: Ranking of cities worldwide based on their traffic woes

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3 Decision Document
3.1 Identifications of Root Causes for Traffic Congestion
The primary root causes for traffic congestion in Bangalore can be attributed to the following factors:

1. Disregard for traffic regulations


2. Poor public road infrastructure
3. Inefficient urban planning & design
4. Inadequate parking infrastructure
5. Obstacles on the road (double parking, unplanned maintenance work)

3.2 Inherent Risks Associated with Current Traffic Congestion Problems


The inherent risks associated with the existing traffic congestion in Bangalore can be broadly classified as:

Public Health Impact

Prolonged exposure to air pollutants emitted from vehicles has severe ramifications for an individuals
health. In some of the busiest & the most congested parts of the city, the average value of air pollutants
exceeds 120% of the National Standards (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, 2017). Since the
growth of the city is on an upward trajectory, it is imperative that the various stakeholders arrive at a
framework to reduce commuting time & pollution emission

Risks to Businesses

There is growing evidence that organizations view congestion as a serious impediment to their economic
growth. The traffic delay imposes inefficient manufacturing process & cause the supply chain to frequently
adapt to the changing situations due to the inconsistent traffic behavior. It also imposes penalties in terms
of underutilization of human resources (drivers, vehicles, etc.)

Impact on Consumers

Traffic congestions are bound to have a direct impact on consumer since the price of goods is bound to
increase to reflect the additional fuel cost incurred for transportation.

3.3 Recommendation (Innovative 15% Solutions)


After applying Innovative Thinking concepts to the traffic congestion problem in Bangalore, I have
arrived at two recommendations that might alleviate the congestion problem in Bangalore. They are:

1. Implementation of traffic density/volume based signaling system that continually adapt & vary the
signal stop-time based on volume of traffic.
2. Implementation of automated multi-level car parking system to accommodate maximum cars in
minimal space

Brief Description of the Recommended Solutions

1. Traffic density/Volume Based Traffic Signaling System

Existing Solution Present traffic signaling system around Bangalore work on the principle of preset
timings. While the system is robust in terms of the design & functionality, it has an inherent disadvantage
of causing a pile-up during peak hours or to induce drivers to skip the signals during lean hours.
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Proposed Solution Dynamic (density/volume based) traffic signaling system works on the principle
of integrating video cameras with smart features on to the existing traffic signal infrastructure so as to
identify the density/volume of vehicles in particular lanes. This solution solves the shortcomings of the
existing solution by ensuring traffic does not pile up during peak hours & avoiding the knock-on effects
due to traffic pile-up on individual lanes

2. Automated Multi-Level Car Parking System

Existing Solution Commuters looking to park their vehicles within city limits form a large population,
which directly results in traffic congestion. Existing car parking facilities, which include roadside parking,
mall parking, dedicated areas are inadequate to meet the demands of the current population of Bangalore

Proposed Solution The solution proposes to maximize the utilization of a given area by using stacked
or rotary concept of parking. The driver leaves the car on a parking tray, which automatically transfers
the car through lifts & conveyor to a vacant area in a stack. This system drastically reduces the parking &
retrieval times since the whole process is automated. Additionally, since the cars engine is shut during the
entire parking & retrieval process, there is minimal impact in terms of environmental & noise pollution

3.3.1 Strengths of the Recommended 15% Solutions


Traffic density/Volume Based Traffic
Automated Multi-Level Car Parking System
Signaling System

1. Can be incorporated on to the existing traffic 1. System capable of maximizing the parking
signaling infrastructure thereby reducing initial utilization of a given area
capital expenditure
2. Attempts to streamline the flow of traffic with 2. Parking & retrieval of cars is quick &
the goal of increasing driving efficiency, which convenient since the process is automated.
leads to lesser fuel consumption & emission of This process alleviates the apprehensions of
pollutants drivers, who are unfamiliar with multi-level
parking

3. An effective traffic management system to 3. Drastic reduction of vehicle noise pollution


moderate the vehicular movement throughout since the vehicle is shut during the whole
the city based on traffic demands parking & retrieval process

4. Capability to allow city traffic engineers to 4. Considerable reduction in environmental


develop traffic signal timing optimizations pollution due to emissions since the engine is
quickly from real time traffic information shut during the entire process

5. The entire system is continuously monitored


& extensive sensors are utilized to ensure
safety & reliability

3.3.2 Potential Weaknesses & Risks associated with Recommended Solutions


Recommended
Potential Weakness Potential Risks
Solutions

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1. Traffic 1. Since it is an integrated network of 1. Failure of one or multiple traffic
density/Volume monitoring cameras & sensors, signaling system has the potential
Based Traffic failure in one traffic signal might to lead to a gridlock
Signaling System have a cascading effect or it might
affect the operational efficacy of the
entire system
2. Requires regular maintenance as
compared to conventional signaling
system
2. Automated Multi- 1. Increased maintenance expenditure 1. Any untoward incident due to
Level Car Parking as compared to conventional faulty maintenance has the
System parking (roadside parking) potential to lead towards civil
2. Increased power consumption to lawsuits
operate lifts & trolleys as opposed 2. Multiple instances of
to no usage of power in inconvenience caused due to fault
conventional parking in the system may influence
3. Substantial capital required initially people to switch to conventional
to implement the system parking
4. Any fault in the system may lead to 3. Accidents related to fire has the
delay or inconvenience to the potential to cause greater damage
people since the volume of cars is greater
compared to conventional
parking

3.4 Primary Alternative Recommendation


The primary alternative to the preferred recommendation as described in the preceding section is to
institute & run a public awareness campaign highlighting the key benefits of following traffic
rules/procedures.

Why is it not the preferred recommendation?

Historically, awareness campaign has failed to strike a chord with the general public due to its
shoddy representation of its central themes due to which the general public fails to associate with
the objective of the campaign
The effectiveness or the success rate of running a public awareness campaign is contingent on
instilling the objectives or the benefits of following traffic rules to the available demographic within
the city. However, this plan will fall apart if there is lot of migration of people owing to the flexible
nature of working environment in the city. Therefore, in order to have any considerable impact at
reducing traffic, the city needs to carry out the awareness campaign on a long-term basis
Due to transferable nature of the job of the government officers/civil servants, the campaign
might lose its consistency owing to various thought process and implementation techniques of
various campaign coordinators

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4

Traffic Congestion in Bangalore


Primary Reasons
causes are described.

1 2 3 4 5

Disregard for traffic Poor public road Inefficient urban Inadequate parking Obstacles on the road
regulations infrastructure planning & design infrastructure

Inefficient Delay in enforcing Lack of space within Disregard for


Lax enforcement of fines
Application of Analytical Thinking

construction of roads planning policies the city to develop regulations governing


& punishment
& supporting new parking zones public mobility

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infrastructure
Absence of process to Lack of incentive for Regular revisions to Lack of definitive
track offenders the contractor to city planning guidelines guidelines regarding
construct efficient public infrastructure
roads & infrastructure management

Inaccessibility to Public works Rapid development &


information on a unified contracts guidelines usage of resources
platform lack a mechanism to demand continuous
incentivize good improvement of
performance policies
Why concept. Five primary reasons for the traffic congestion is enumerated in table below & their
A systemic Root Cause Analysis for existing traffic congestion in Bangalore is performed using the 5
5 Application of Innovative Thinking Techniques
5.1 Application of Appreciative Inquiry

What does the city have in abundance What elements of city traffic are working

1. Large demographic of the workforce is very 1. Availability of well-connected public


educated & tech-savvy considering the transport buses to ferry people within the city
plethora of software & IT based companies

2. Due to the availability of high paying jobs 2. Adoption of private buses to ferry people
within the city, the purchasing power is from private organizations to pre-determined
relatively high among the city dwellers drop-off points

3. Being the IT capital of the country, numerous 3. Multi-tiered car parking system
software, electronics & aerospace
organizations are based in Bangalore

How can the city use what it has in How can the city use what is working to help
abundance to improve traffic condition parts of city traffic that are not working?

1. The city should leverage its IT capability to 1. In most cases of congestion within the city,
develop dynamic traffic signaling (i.e. congestion is caused by motorist looking for a
regulation of traffic flow based on volume of spot to park. By implementing a multi-tiered
cars rather than set duration intervals) to curb parking system, volume of cars that can be
congestion parked in a given area is increased

2. To discourage commuters from utilizing 2. Since the city is well connected by bus routes,
private vehicles, city could impose a toll for building dedicated bus lanes, which are
utilizing the roads during peak hours accessible only to buses will reduce the travel
time in buses & also serve as an incentive for
people to commute via buses

5.2 Application of Identifying & Challenging Assumptions

What are the 3 taken for granted assumptions Challenge each assumption by asking a
that contribute to traffic congestion in the provocative what if question
city you have chosen?

1. Using public transportation has no health 1. What if travelling in public transportation has
benefits (Breyer, 2015) surprising health benefits?

2. There is a general neglect of traffic rules 2. What if there are considerable benefits to
following traffic rules?

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3. Owning & traveling in a personal vehicle is 3. What if we could portray travel in public
considered as a status symbol transport as progressive & socially responsible

Answer at least 1 provocative question by suggesting a specific action the mayor can implement
to reduce traffic congestion

1. Overhaul existing traffic violation penalties & implement harsher punishments for traffic violations.
For example, substituting monetary fines with mandatory classroom sessions. The time or
productivity loss incurred by mandatory classroom session might deter people from violating traffic
rules

2. Rope in a celebrity or a public figure to publically endorse travel in public transport

5.3 Application of Stretch Benchmarking

What behavior would need to change to What actions did the program/organization
improve traffic congestion? take to change peoples behavior?

Erratic driving behavior is a significant contributor The industry vehemently advocated & educated
to clogged roads & congestion the passengers on the benefits of following
procedures & were successful in demonstrating the
tangible benefits

In conjunction with educating the passengers, the


industry also resorted to forcefully implementing
certain procedures to maintain fluidity in
movement

Is there another program (outside of traffic) List 2-3 specific actions that the mayor could
that has been successful in changing peoples use to reduce traffic congestion
behavior?

The airline industry has been leading the way when 1. Institute & run a public campaign with the
it comes to streamlining processes. In order to objective of educating the people of the tangible
increase cycle times & meet arrival/departure benefits of following rules/procedures
time, it is imperative that all necessary procedures
be carried out without any delay. 2. Taking a cue from the process followed by the
airline industry, develop dedicated lanes to
Few processes the airline industry follow that accommodate large/high occupancy vehicles
simplify movement of people are: such as buses so that their movement does not
impede the others
Allowing elders, pregnant woman, children to
board first

Classifying passengers before boarding based


on their seating location in the aircraft

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Preparing the aircraft for the next flight by
urging the passengers to keep their seat & area
clean

6 Developing 15% Solutions


List 5 specific initial actions from Innovative Develop a wicked question for the barriers
Thinking techniques

1. The city should leverage its IT capability to 1. How can we leverage the intellectual resources
develop dynamic traffic signaling (i.e. of the city to develop a very robust & cost
regulation of traffic flow based on volume of efficient dynamic traffic signaling system?
cars rather than set duration intervals) to curb
congestion
2. To discourage commuters from utilizing 1. How can we convince commuters to pay more
private vehicles, city could impose a toll for for utilizing roads when they have already paid
utilizing the roads during peak hours their taxes for city development?
2. How do we build toll roads when we have
insufficient space for development?

3. In most cases of congestion within the city, 1. Can we reduce the noise & environmental
congestion is caused by motorist looking for a pollution while increasing the volume of cars
spot to park. By implementing a multi-tiered in a given area?
parking system, volume of cars that can be
parked in a given area is increased
4. Since the city is well connected by bus routes, 1. How can we build dedicated bus lanes without
building dedicated bus lanes, which are taking up additional road space on the city
accessible only to high occupancy vehicles will roads?
reduce the travel time for commuters in buses
& also serve as an incentive for people to
commute via buses
5. Overhaul existing traffic violation penalties 1. How can we implement stricter traffic
& implement harsher punishments for traffic violation penalties while reducing instances of
violations. For example, substituting monetary corruption
fines with mandatory classroom sessions. The
time or productivity loss incurred by
mandatory classroom session might deter
people from violating traffic rules
6. Institute & run a public awareness campaign 1. Can we run a public awareness campaign,
with the objective of educating the people of which can significantly alter or change the
the tangible benefits of following driving habits of the people?
rules/procedures
Implementation barriers for each of the above Answer to the wicked questions & 15%
initial actions solutions

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1. Dynamic Traffic Signaling 1. Implementation of traffic density/volume
Since it requires overhauling current signaling based signaling system that continually adapt
system & incorporating several advanced & vary the signal stop-time based on volume
sensors, capital required to implement & of traffic. This ensures efficiency of vehicular
maintain the system will be high. The system movement during a unidirectional vehicular
will also require periodic maintenance movement scenario.
Frequent power outages, construction/utility 2. Implementation of automated multi-level car
development work & weather-related parking system to accommodate maximum
anomalies could impede the proper cars in minimal space
functioning of the system 3. Run a public awareness campaign highlighting
the key benefits of following traffic
rules/procedures

2. Imposition of Tolls on busy roads


Unwillingness to pay toll since the commuters
may feel the service should be provided for
free since they are already paying for various
road taxes.
Pilferage will be cause for concern for toll
authority since even momentary failure in IT
could result in huge pilferage
Insufficient space for toll road expansion

3. Multi-tiered parking system


Since the volume of cars in a given space
increases, it may lead to an increase in
environmental & noise pollution in that given
area
Unfamiliarity with using multi-tiered parking
system may cause further delay

4. Dedicated bus lanes


Insufficient road space throughout the city
for further development of dedicated bus lane
Preventing private vehicle from trespassing
into bus lanes may be challenging

5. Overhauling existing traffic violation


penalties
Prospect of paying harsher monetary fines
may inspire people to engage in corruption or
bribery

6. Public awareness campaign

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Historically, awareness campaign has failed to
make an impact since the audience fails to
comprehend what is at stake for them
Generally, awareness campaign has had an
effect on short term goals but fizzled out on
a longer run

7 Bibliography
1. Breyer, M. (2015, 11 9). 3 Surprising Health Benefits Linked to Public Transportation. Retrieved from treehugger:
https://www.treehugger.com/health/3-surprising-health-benefits-linked-public-transportation.html

2. Bloomberg. (2012, 6 28). Bangalore 'Sixth Most Painful in the World' for Traffic Congestion. Retrieved from The National:
https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/bangalore-sixth-most-painful-in-world-for-traffic-congestion-1.361748

3. Bloomberg. (n.d.). The National. Retrieved 6 28, 2012, from Bangalore ' Sixth Most Painful' in the World for Traffic
Congestion.

4. Times of India. (2017, 1 6). 10 million Bangaloreans lose 60 crore hours. The Times of India.

5. Bangalore City Traffic Police. (2016, 11 30). Bangalore Traffic. Retrieved from Bangalore City Traffic Police:
www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in

6. The Times of India. (2017, 1 6). 10 million Bengalureans lose 60 crore hours, Rs 3,700 crore a year to road
congestion. Times of India.

7. The National. (2012, 6 28). Bangalore 'sixth-most painful' in world for traffic congestion.

8. Centre for International Economics. (2006). Business Costs of Traffic Congestion. Canberra: Centre for International
Economics.

9. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. (2017). Annual Average Pollution Dispersion. Bangalore: KSPCB.

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Appendix A

Doing The Pig


The stakeholders involved directly or indirectly in the traffic congestion problem are:

1 Private vehicle owners (includes two & four wheelers)


Private vehicle owners are perhaps the biggest contributor to the traffic congestion within the city. As
commuters, they detest congestion but fail to realize that their erratic & selfish driving behavior only
compounds the problem of traffic congestion. The knock-on effect due to longer travel time results in
loss of productive working hours & time, which could have been spent meaningfully elsewhere

2 Public transportation authority (includes bus & metro) & cab aggregators
Public transportation vendors have a major stake in resolving traffic congestion on roads. Congestion
decreases the number of trip cycle that can be achieved in any given day, which leads to loss of revenue
for cab aggregators. Longer idling time in congested zones increases fuel consumption, which in turn
increases expenditure for public transportation organizations

3 City/Town development authority


The development authority view congestion as an impediment for further city development since the
current area taken up by car parking zones could be utilized to build infrastructure that can benefit a larger
audience

4 Local businesses (includes small scale to large scale industry)


The economic growth of local businesses & industries is tied to the traffic congestion in the city.
Congestion imposes a cost penalty, which can be classified broadly into direct & indirect cost:

Direct cost to businesses

Loss of revenue due to longer travel time or delay in product/service delivery


Logistics & scheduling cost due to inconsistent travel time, which has an effect on stocking,
perishability of goods & just-in-time processes (Centre for International Economics, 2006)

Indirect cost to businesses

Inefficient utilization of resources. For example, reduced utilization of truck drivers since they
spend longer time in congested routes

5 Regulatory authority (includes pollution control board, utility companies)


Traffic congestion has an adverse effect on the profitability of these organizations. A congestion could
delay/alter implementation of public utility works around the city & the organization could also incur the
additional cost of providing health cover to its employees since they will be operating in a polluted
environment
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6 Public healthcare organizations
Bumper to bumper traffic may impede the passage of emergency vehicles during a medical emergency.
Additionally, there is an increased cost associated with the deteriorating health of motorist due to ingestion
of harmful pollutants

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