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Kolkata traffic worsens despite effort to calm drivers with music

Kokata recorded the highest jump in traffic accidents last year among all major Indian cities. (Steve Evans/flickr/cc)

Drive through a major intersection in Kolkata’s chaotic streets and you’ll sometimes hear music blaring through loudspeakers.

The concept was introduced four years ago by the West Bengal state government as a way to beautify the city and soothe driver’s nerves. The music, which features the songs of native poet, writer and Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is loud enough to penetrate closed windows in air-conditioned cars.

Despite the unique approach to traffic-calming, the city’s streets are more dangerous today. Dwaipayan Ghosh reports for the Times of India that last year the City of Joy recorded the largest percentage jump in road accidents among India’s major metro areas. Accidents increased citywide nearly 14 percent from 2013 to 2014. The prevalence of hawkers walking amid traffic to sell items and the mix of fast-moving vehicles with slow-moving rickshaws, bikes and pedestrians are the main reasons for the spike, the article says.

Meanwhile, in another article for the Times, Dipak Dash highlights a new report which concludes that six of ten Indian drivers feel very stressed on the nation’s roads. The study also finds that road deaths nationwide reached a new peak in 2014 of 16 per hour.

Times of India

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