There is no readymade universally acceptable solution to the urban transport problem. Planners, engineers, economists and transport solve transportation problem each have their own views, which when combined, invariably produced a workable strategy. Whatever policy evolved should be considered firstly, in the light of time it takes to implement them and secondly, all policies need to be appraised in terms of their cost.
One of the most commonly adopted methods of combatting road congestion in medium and small towns or in districts of larger centres is the construction of bypasses to divert through-traffic. This practice has been followed throughout the world including India. Mid-twentieth century planners saw the construction of additional road capacity in the form of new or improved highways as the acceptable solution to congestion within major towns and cities. Since the pioneer transportation studies of the 1950s and 1960s were carried out in the US metropolitan areas, where the needs of an auto-dominated society were seen to be paramount, the provision of additional road capacity was accepted for several decades as the most effective solution to congestion, and urban freeways were built in large cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, it soon became evident that the generated traffic on these new roads rapidly reduced the initial advantages.
The construction of an urban motorway network with its access junctions requires large areas of land and the inevitable demolition of tracts of housing and commercial properties. Among the most widely used devices are the extension of one-way systems, the phasing of traffic-light controls to take account of traffic variation, and restrictions on parking and vehicle loading on major roads. On multi-lane highways that carry heavy volumes of commuter traffic, certain lanes can be allocated to incoming vehicles in the morning and to outgoing traffic in the afternoon, producing a tidal-flow effect. Traffic management has been extensively applied within urban residential areas, where excessive numbers of vehicles produce noise, vibration, pollution and, above all, accident risks, especially to the young.
Many transportation planning proposals are aimed specifically at increasing the speed and schedule reliability of bus services, and many European cities have introduced bus priority plans in an attempt to increase the attractions of public transport. In the UK, Runcorn New Town, built as an overspill centre for the Merseyside conurbation, was provided with a double- looped busway linking shopping centre, industrial estates and housing areas. About 90 per cent of the town’s population was within five minutes’ walk of the busway and operating costs were 33 per cent less than those of buses on the conventional roads. Although the system is not used to the extent originally envisaged, it successfully illustrates how public transport can be integrated with urban development. The bus can also be given further advantages in city centres where major retailing and transport complexes are being redeveloped. The construction of covered shopping malls and precincts can incorporate bus facilities for shoppers, and reconstruction of rail stations can also allow bus services to be integrated more closely with rail facilities. European cities, enables the number of cars entering city centres to be reduced, particularly at weekend shopping peak periods.