Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Changing The Indian Roadscape The Nano Way

Much has been discussed over Nano's launch this week. Most of it has been appreciative of the way the Tata group has achieved its goal of gifting India and the world a cheap, very cheap and cost effective car. It really gives goosebumps thinking of how many people will benefit from this. Will pictures such as this soon become history on Indian roads?

Yes, that possibility is very much there. And there is also this negative feel about how Nano will result in the Indian pollution getting superlative from the very bad situation that it is in presently. And I am not ruling that possibility out too; well aware of the fact that Nano is less polluting than most motorcycles on roads today. That's because of the society giving in to the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Today, Ramu, a mechanic has a cycle while his master,Sunil comes in a Moped. Now, with Nano in, if Sunil decides to graduate to a Nano, then Ramu is definitely going to feel it necessary to graduate to a motorcycle. That is how the society is going to graduate forward with the motorcyclists of today moving towards a car and cyclists moving to a motorcycle. So, pollution is definitely an issue at hand.

But what is more enchanting and where I hope I am right is the way Nano is going to change the Indian roadscape. Why do Indians feel so nice about the roads abroad and not about those here? Why aren't the road rules not followed here as much as they are in the West? The answer lies in the lack of vehicular homogeneity.

Lanes are made for four wheelers and heavy vehicles. You cannot expect lane rules to be followed in a country where there are people with bullock carts as well as Mercs. Yes, it is possible to manage them if India is going to go the Chinese way and simply bar its citizens from traveling in certain modes of transport, but that is not going to solve the case, and has not been solved here in India.

With Nano, I truly hope we acheieve the vehicular homogeniety. If we indeed achieve a considerable number of cars, and the number of two wheelers reduce as compared to today, it is indeed an easier job to manage the traffic. Yes, you no longer can zig zag your way through a jam in order to be the first to jump the line when the light goes green. But it certainly improves the way the road rules have been followed.

Road rules have always been on paper. With Nano, we get a rare chance to put that into action. Nano is truly going to be a trendsetter and here is a moment to say that I am indeed proud to be a Tata Product!


ayyo.... said...

Vehicular Homogeneity?! That's an interesting angle you're trying to throw..! People are not going to switch overnight to the Nano..! It costs 40 thousand more than the average motorbike in India and that's a lot of money to dissuade some at least for the time being. Or I hope so..!
I am very worried with the launch of this car..! Forget pollution & petrol consumption, traffic congestion will take a whole new meaning from now. And mind you, 5 years from now, you'll be berating Nano owners the same way you curse the Rickshaw drivers in Bombay..!
With the traffic situation in the country, the Govt should be promoting Public transport and strive to improve it.. but we seem to be running the opposite course now..!

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

Lahore's traffic was as haphazard as it could get until a few years back, but in last 7-8 years people not onl have started stopping on signals, but have started following lanes as well. Not due to vehicular homogeneity, but strict policing.

Same in with Pakistani highways now. Since the NHA or National Highway Authority was set up with the inauguration M2 or Islamabad-Lahore motor way, and then putting them in charge of M1, M3, N1,2,3,4 and 5 (N=National Highway), the traffic on highways not only observe speed limits, but stay in their lanes too.

So to get people to follow traffic rules, I think a stricter policing and challans would be extremely effective. I've seen that happen in Pakistan.

But I like Nano and the whole concept. Awesome.

ayyo.... said...

Strict Policing and more challans will definitely deter many from breaking rules, no doubt. Yet, I'd like a better public transport for the people.
The Nano concept is awesome, no doubt. I am apprehensive yet though.

Anand said...


What Sikandar is pointing out - strict policing, is difficult without vehicular homogeneity. How can you segregate lanes for a traffic that comprises of bicycles, autos, cars, lorries, buses and bikes? But imagine, it was 60% cars, 20% bus/lorries and 20% bikes & autos..most 3+ lanes in the city can be easily segregated for use.

Of course it is not so simple, but I guess you get the point..berating wud become a thing of the past ;)

ayyo.... said...

Still, I would prefer Public transport to be encouraged. What you are saying 60% cars and 20% buses and 20% bikes seems very improbable for the next 15 years at least. In a city like Chennai, where spouses own a two wheeler each including one for the kid, 3 cars is a long way off.
Moreover, I expect the prices of the Bikes to be slashed soon..! India will always remain a country of the Bikers, at least in the near future!