Long Hours Spent in Traffic Congestions: Causing Prolonged Delays for Punekars

Long Hours Spent in Traffic Congestions: Causing Prolonged Delays for Punekars

Long Hours Spent in Traffic Congestions: Causing Prolonged Delays for Punekars

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In a recent survey conducted by TomTom, it has been revealed that Pune ranks among the top 10 most congested cities in the world. This revelation, while not entirely surprising, has sparked fresh outrage among the city’s beleaguered commuters.

23 April 2024

By Ishika Kumar

According to the TomTom report for 2023, the average commuter in Pune spent a staggering 256 hours driving during rush hour, with 128 hours lost due to traffic congestion. These numbers paint a grim picture of the daily ordeal faced by Pune’s residents as they navigate the city’s congested roads. 

One of the most recent developments exacerbating Pune’s traffic woes is the decision by the Pune traffic police to prohibit all forms of vehicles from entering Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) through the Acharya Anandrushi Chowk. This decision, aimed at alleviating heavy congestion at the university’s main gate, has been met with widespread criticism from commuters. As per the new arrangement, commuters are required to use the Millennium Gate to access the university. However, this temporary solution has proven to be more of a hindrance than a remedy. The increased traffic at the Millennium Gate has resulted in long wait times and inconvenience for both students and professors alike. 

The ongoing metro and flyover work at the university junction has caused massive traffic jams on Ganesh Khind Road, Aundh-Baner and Senapati Bapat Road during peak morning and evening hours. Despite the traffic police’s efforts to mitigate the issue, the situation has only worsened, leading to increased frustration among commuters.

The Pune traffic police must urgently reassess the situation and come up with more effective solutions to alleviate the city’s traffic woes. Until then, Pune’s residents will continue to endure the daily nightmare of navigating the city’s gridlocked streets.

Adverse Effects of Heat on People During Traffic: 

In addition to the already frustrating experience of being stuck in traffic, Pune’s commuters face another significant challenge — the scorching heat. As temperatures soar, especially during the summer months, the adverse effects of heat on people during traffic congestion cannot be ignored. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures inside vehicles can lead to several health issues, detailed as follows:

1. Heat Exhaustion: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion, characterised by symptoms such as heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea and headache. The confined space inside vehicles, combined with the lack of ventilation, can exacerbate these symptoms, making the commute even more uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

2. Heatstroke: In extreme cases, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature regulation system fails, causing the body temperature to rise to dangerous levels. Symptoms of heatstroke include a high body temperature, confusion, loss of consciousness, and even seizures. Without prompt medical attention, heatstroke can be fatal.

3. Dehydration: Another common issue faced by commuters stuck in traffic during hot weather is dehydration. A combination of high temperatures and prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to excessive sweating, causing the body to lose fluids rapidly. Dehydration can result in symptoms such as dry mouth, thirst, dark urine, fatigue and light-headedness.

4. Aggravation of Existing Health Conditions: For individuals with pre-existing health conditions such as respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues or diabetes, the heat and pollution inside vehicles during traffic congestion can exacerbate their symptoms. Poor air quality, coupled with the heat, can trigger respiratory problems, increase heart rate and blood pressure and worsen overall health.

As Pune’s traffic congestion worsens, commuters need to take precautions to protect themselves from the adverse effects of heat. Staying hydrated, using air conditioning or fans in vehicles and taking regular breaks during long commutes can help mitigate the risks associated with hot weather and traffic congestion.

Nimish Dangre, a 29-year-old working in a software firm and a resident of NIBM who works in Bund Garden Road had to undergo an exhausting ordeal where the normal commute from his residence to the office, which is around 25 to 30 mins at maximum, was increased due to unimaginable traffic congestion as Pune gears up for election campaigns and rallies. This took 2 hours of his time near a juncture around his home. This eventually made him give up and return to his residence and opt for work from home instead.

Complaints from commuters are pouring in from all parts of the city, including bottle-necked traffic from Porwal Road in the Dhanori area to the University Road and Hadapsar-Mohammedwadi area as well. 

1. Increased Traffic Congestion:

· Election-related rallies, campaigns, and increased vehicular movement are expected to worsen traffic congestion across the city.

·  Road closures, diversions, and increased vehicle movement will disrupt normal traffic flow, leading to longer travel times and frustration among commuters.

2. Impact on Commuters’ Well-being and Productivity:

·  The combination of traffic congestion and heat can lead to stress, fatigue and decreased productivity among commuters.

·  Long hours spent in traffic, coupled with the discomfort of high temperatures, can have a significant impact on commuters’ well-being.

Another such incident occurred for Gokul Menon, a 25-year-old business analyst and resident of Kharadi. While travelling for work, he expressed his disappointment at the temporary construction of pandals. These were being made on the road for election campaigns and have increased the commute by 30 to 40 minutes, and due to the high temperature, it becomes nearly unbearable on two-wheelers to escape the heat.

As Pune prepares for the upcoming elections, with increasing vehicular movement due to election-related activities and high summer temperatures, urgent measures are needed to address these issues. Authorities must implement effective traffic management strategies to mitigate the impact of increased congestion and heat-related issues on commuters. Commuters are advised to plan their journeys, stay hydrated and take regular breaks to minimise the impact on their health and well-being.