July 26, 2009: Every city can carry only so many cars in terms of its roadspace and parking spaces without becoming increasingly dysfunctional, unlivable and unmotorable. I personally believe that Mumbai’s optimum was reached and crossed back in the early 90s.
It is urgent to define the optimal ratio of vehicles to roadspace & parking space available i.e.
No. & Size of vehicles : Sq. metres of road & parking space available
In order to the retain the quality of public spaces in any city, and prevent them from being cluttered with vehicles — whether moving or parked — it is important to calculate this ratio and make the people aware of it.
In my opinion, it is necessary to take an unpopular measure and cap the number of vehicles, and roll back their numbers by at least 10 years. The road transport authorities must STOP REGISTERING NEW PRIVATE VEHICLES… and must actively phase out the largest vehicles that occupy the most space and consume the most fuel.
Failing this, the benefits of technological or economic advances (such as Tata’s much advertised Rs 1 lakh car, the Nano!) will fail to convert into social advances. They will only add unproductivity by clogging the motoring and living spaces of various metros.
I pray that we will find the guts to vociferously lobby for unpopular measures such as defining public limits on growth of vehicular populations. If you think there is some truth in this thought-process, kindly forward it to your friends & acquaintances.