Monday, August 25, 2008

Bangalore Traffic Woes, avoid ad hoc solutions please!

Bangalore, keeping in pace with other cities in the world, has grown exponentially over the past half a century. The Key question while planning traffic solutions for such a growing city obviously would be “how to account for possible future growth?” Bangalore has a very good example in the Kempe Gouda Towers. Kempe Gouda had in his wisdom estimated the boundaries of Bangalore and built the Towers known after him.

The lessons, what we in our time should learn are:

1 The boundaries of a growing city are not absolute. They will keep extending.
2 To take care of moving boundaries, the planning should be insensitive to it.
3 Such a methodology, insensitive to the boundaries, should solely cater to the current community traffic, without being affected by its future growth.
4 This requires a through analysis of the basic requirements of a community for (a) its daily needs and (b) its daily activities, at present as well as in the future.
5 The key now is to look forward for these requirements as and when they come up. This new requirements should be catered for without affecting what ever is on the ground.
6 Is such a design possible at all? Is there an example available from which we could draw some principles for such a growth tolerant design?

The examples are plenty in nature. A Tree for example germinates from a seed and grows being stationary at a location in huge proportion to its beginning. The whole blue print is incorporated in its seed for future Proliferation to newer locations. The Human being also grows from a few Kgs to his final mass in due course and so on.

Now coming to the current issue of Bangalore Traffic woes, it is required to address ourselves to Bangalore Traffic as a whole and not piecemeal to be specific. If we solve the problem at one junction the problem is transferred to the next junction and so on. Taking a leaf out of nature’s book there should be no hold up of traffic at all any where. The traffic lights should be made irrelevant. There should be no crossings in major roads at all. All major Roads should be one ways throughout the city. The city means that which is bounded by outer ring road. We should keep in mind this is a temporary assumption.

It is possible to make this model work. The additional incentive is if we make this model work for Bangalore it will be a unique experience in the whole world probably!

Friday, August 22, 2008

24th Prof Brahm Prakash Memorial Lecture at IISc

This was a lecture arranged at the faculty hall of IISc and attended by a large audience. I was 5 years old in 1947 when Prof Brahm Praksh obtained his Doctorate in Metallurgy from the prestigious MIT in USA. At IISc he was the first Indian to head the Department of Metallurgy.

I had arrived well in time at the faculty hall to join quite a few who were already there. I was very glad to meet my old friend Dr. Murali Madhava who had returned from USA in 2006. We both sat together for the memorial lecture.

It was a great lecture worthy of the occasion by Dr. Baldev Raj Distingushed Scientist & Director, Indiragandhi Center for Atomic Research, Kalpakam. Beautifully printed full length paper along with a CD giving the power point presentation was distributed at the end of the lecture. The lecture on the whole was really a Success Story of the Indian S&T Fast Breeder Reactors! Lot of ground has been covered in FBR and remains to be covered, under Dr. Baldev Raj's Stewardship. One of the inevitable Queries came forth in the question and answer session which was "The control of the power genie which is being invoked to safe guard our planet against"
In the USA after long Mile Island mishap Nuclear energy option has been discarded. The Chernobyl accident was a near meltdown, the effects of which would be beyond comprehension.

After the lecture we shifted to the other hall for Tea. I could meet some more lost friends and had a good time in past recollections. I some how was missing Dr. Murali Madhava whom I was not able to locate. Finally I did find him talking to one of the Metallurgy Professors. I joined them. Murali had mentioned earlier about his not able to gauge his day’s progress in his technical Endeavour day after day, after coming to India, where as his daily contribution was so much more in the USA. The point being made by Murali to the IISc Prof was some thing like his offer of Free Technical consultancy is being utilized. He went at great lengths to convince me what kind of a loosing battle it was. I could not overcome my temptation to put across a lighter vein suggestion to Dr. Murali that he should charge for his consultancy.

Now at the time of writing I went through the CD of the presentation. The first slide Talks about Energy as the Key to development. India with per capita 660 KWH is the least developed. Is it a fallacy to say this really? USA is developed because it has developed the per capita 12000 KWH’s energy not vice versa. Is it that energy comes first before development? I am afraid there is some thing wrong some where!

Now mankind is dreaming of the possibility of traveling faster than light, by shrinking space and I think why not? (TOI report I am not able to lay my hands right now)

I appreciate the present trend of meeting the challenges being extended to the limits for ever. How about simple living and high thinking?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Road Map For Bangalore Traffic Optimization Initiative

The First Step is to set the goals both long and short term

The enthusiasm shown in Praja postings on Bangalore traffic was excellent. However there is every chance of not making any progress if we collectively do not agree and quantify to what are our:
  1. Objectives/goals
  2. Constraints
  3. The methodology of solution.
These are simple issues which can be sorted out by public debate. The execution, onthe other hand has several pit falls like
  1. Making a proposal plan publicly transparent
  2. Objections and impediments by vested interests.
  3. Opportunism by not so selfless people in different walks of life.
  4. etc.
  5. etc.

Let us first agree to what we mean by "The ideal Bangalore Traffic". To start the ball rolling,The ideal Bangalore Traffic means:

  1. The daily consumption of transport fuel (carbon foot print) should be the minimum.
  2. The total daily time of all the commuters in Bangalore should be the minimum.
  3. The cost of implementing a master plan should also be the minimum.
  4. Traffic hazards should be eliminated

Obviously there may not be one single solution for this problem. We can only have a set of "seemingly" best solutions. We can then choose any one from the available candidate solutions.
Your vote in this regard as shown along side at the top of this post, will be of valuble.
Happy Voting!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Function honoring the distinguished Octogenarians of IISc Alumina.

To day I attended the IISc meeting honoring senior distinguished Alumni. On arrival I handed over my two photographs at the desk, before entering the IISc Senate hall. The IISc convention hall is an excellent piece of design by one of the Octogenarian Alumnae being honored. Prof Dattaguru, the President of the IISc Alumnae association and also the Director of IISc himself both were at the dais. Mr. KR Srinivasan an NAL Scientist and currently an entrepreneur was introducing the distinguished guest. I was in a different world all together listening to the intellectuals narrating their experiences with the Octogenarian Alumnae being honored. Later The Octogenarian himself got up and addressed the gathering.

I can not but narrate the story told by Prof BS Ramakrishna Octogenarian Alumnae. He and Prof Satish Dhavan were at Cubbon Park where they saw Sir CV Raman searching something on the road below a florescent lamp. The Duo went and offered their help to the Nobel laureate, Sir CV Raman, who readily accepted. He asked them to collect the wings of light fly. They collected the same and gave them to Sir CV Raman. He started staring at the florescent lamp, holding the wings to his eyes and asked them to do the same. They were amazed at the spectacle created by the light passing through the insect wing. Now Sir CV asked prof Dhavan whether he had designed any of the finest aircrafts having similar wings.

I could not but believe how lucky I was to day. I got the inspiration to take up the threads of my previous post of July 18 2008 on Traffic Optimization. Hope to make my next post, continuing the same thread of Traffic Optimization where I had left it earlier, a good one.

Wife & Me in Hyderabad, India August 18, 2005

Wife &  Me in Hyderabad, India August 18, 2005
The Indian School of Business