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Transportation in India {CrAzY Video}

  • Published on June 11th, 2011 by

I’ve had this sitting in drafts for 3 months now — somehow unable to get to it every week. But I’ve saved it all that time to cover on here because it’s so amazing.

The part that starts at about 2:10 in is the most interesting to me. There’s actually not much to say about it on the surface, but as a former city planner who spent hours upon hours talking and thinking about mixed use design to more efficiently use land and promote sustainable transportation, that’s the first thing that came to my mind — what an efficient, creative use of land! And it must be a lively area of the city to have so many people setting up market there. Would be curious to learn more about it’s precise location and why people are essentially risking their lives to set up shop there. I imagine there must have been some accidents in this location and can’t say I would do what they are doing, but the benefits must outweigh the risks for these people.. (I guess).

The whole rest of the video is pretty interesting, too (I think the ‘sparring’ animals is my second favorite or the second most shocking part). Is transportation much more efficient there as a result of there being so few rules? It seems it might be (but I could be wrong). Interestingly, it reminds me of an idea city planners in the Netherlands had and I learned about while studying there — to not delineate areas for cars and areas for pedestrians and cyclists and so on, but to let them mix. Part of that idea was also to do away with traffic lights. Some localities in Europe have gone this route and apparently found that it resulted in a huge drop in accidents. Apparently, it makes people more alert. Don’t see any accidents happening in the crazy intersections in the video above, but don’t know of any statistics on accident rates there compared to the U.S. (or other societies with more orderly but predictable traffic intersections). Would be curious to find out how they compare. but it turns out India has a ton more traffic fatalities (thanks to a reader for the link!) relative to the number of cars on the road (compared to the US).

For every fifty cars that are involved in a fatal accident in India, one car is involved in a fatal accident in the US.

This glosses over some key differences, like loading of individual cars: vehicles in the US are more likely to have one or two passengers, while Indian vehicles are more likely to have three or more people. But even that cannot account for the huge difference. Even assuming that Indian cars have twice the number of passengers, you are twenty five times more likely to die on the road in India than in the US. When you account for average speeds (much lower in India), the numbers look even worse. Driving at higher speeds is inherently more dangerous, and the speed of traffic in the US is much higher than in India.

Any more thoughts on this video?


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is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

6 comments

  • The first train has about 12 cars, the second train, apparently has 2 cars. The implication made through juxtaposition by the video is that the same train that rushed through a station, also passes through the center of a market. It seems to be misleading content by the video makers.

    As far as the street traffic earlier in the video, it implies an under-active government with too much ground to make up, and an excess of motor vehicles. I doubt anyone sane is proud of the chaos at such a large intersection, and I am sure there are a lot more serious accidents in such a situation.

  • That’s wild! I wonder why people are so much more likely to get in bad crashes in India, 50x is a staggering amount!

  • I think that should be stated as to what country is it found? As the title itself says a different thing.

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