Category Archives: Transport’s Articles

Delhi, City Of Flyovers

by Debarshi Dasgupta

The first time – as an undergraduate student in 2002 – when I heard the epithet “city of flyovers” being used by government officials to describe Delhi’s growth aspirations, I laughed it off. I credited the uninspiring and dull description of my city to our bureaucrats and their political bosses. But six years on as I see that vision turning into reality – Delhi since then either has or is building close to 80 flyovers – I have frightfully realised how revealing that epithet is of our model of development and how harmful it has been for a vast majority of us.

It tells us the story of an India that skirts problems rather than find sustainable solutions for them in pursuit of rapid development. Of how the country has opted for quick-fix solutions that benefit a few in the short-run but end up being problems for most in the long-run. This has led to a model of urban planning that has largely pre-empted the majority of the city’s population from developing any stakes in Delhi’s well-being. This is equally true of any other Indian city.

Photo courtesy:

To go back to Delhi’s flyovers, the government has delightedly realised that they are the best way to get rid of the urban chaos that has arisen out of absence of any planning and abundance of greed. Befittingly, public transport in Delhi has always got the short end of the stick. Bus routes were contracted out in return for a certain commission to influential individuals rather than being run by one consortium. This has led to the killer phenomenon we only know so well – Bluelines, competing buses that run over people as they race on Delhi’s congested roads to rake in more passengers. Am I to believe that a government that seeks to build and operate new-age nuclear reactors cannot operate an efficient and safe fleet of buses? Try telling that to the families of hundreds killed by Bluelines.

The government may have now gone ahead with the gradual introduction of low-floor buses but it is too late. Cars and two wheelers have already taken over our roads. Jams are inevitable given the vehicular growth and irrespective of the number of flyovers built. A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) survey found that while private vehicles account for 67.6% of the vehicles in India and occupy 67.1% of the road width, they carry only 37% of the commuters. Buses, on the other hand, make up 24.4% of the vehicles and occupy 38% of the roads. They, however, carry 61% of the commuters. Likewise, blueprints of rotary mode separators, with traffic separation at distinct vertical axes and designed around the comfort of pedestrians, have not been looked at as an alternative to flyovers by the Delhi government.

So, to enable these private vehicles to run smoothly the government has been on a road-expansion and flyover-building spree. That has pushed the majority among us – pedestrians and slow-moving transport such as rickshaws – off the roads. We cannot walk on them anymore. Pedestrians now are sent either overground or underground to make way for speeding traffic. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk nearly a kilometre just to reach the nearest underpass to get to the other side. Or if you are left wondering how to walk to your destination at major flyovers such as the one at AIIMS or Dhaula Kuan. Asinine planning like this means that people forcibly risk their lives daily as they take the easiest route by leaping across road dividers to cross over.

Why can’t traffic moving in the heart of the city stop to make way for pedestrians? Probably because the few who benefit the most wish no roadblocks as they hurtle away to superpowerdom, just the way India develops rapidly without any concern for the damage inflicted on either the marginalised majority or the environment.

Encroachment of public space in our cities for promoting private interests is also worryingly picking up. Urban public art – so important to cultivate a sense of belonging to a city – has been used for other interests.

Photo courtesy: Debarshi Dasgupta

Recently put up at the AIIMS flyover, “Sprouts”, an urban art installation made with steel from Jindal, is less of art and more of avarice. To be fair, its dubious artistic merit may be defended by some. But what is certain is that the Delhi Urban Arts Commission – a public body meant to vet urban art – was never consulted before the installation of Sprouts. Why should a public artwork, aimed at celebrating the “arrival of a new India”, be put up so undemocratically? Why should scarce green space – used by people to lounge about freely – be pulled down to make way for more steel? And that too if it is was built at a cost of around Rs 4 crore and will be maintained for Rs 1.5 lakh each month.

Even the newly designed bus stops – made again with steel from Jindal – are of little public convenience. They can’t seat more than ten at a time. This in a city of over 14 million where the average waiting period for a bus is at least 10 minutes. And if it happens to be in summer, tough luck! Even an empty spot is of no use, lest you are willing to scald your posterior on the burning steel in Delhi’s 45 degree Celsius heat. Comparatively, the earlier blue cement bus stops offered more shade – thereby being cooler – and had seating for more than 50.

Photo courtesy: Debarshi Dasgupta

Unfortunately, what they didn’t have was space for advertisements. So while the new bus stops are more like billboards with nearly all of the display area dedicated to advertisements, nobody has thought of a map marking the various bus routes telling commuters which bus to take to get where. That makes one wonder if Delhi’s bus stops are really meant for the people or are simply developed as revenue generators for the government.

Likewise, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which should have served as an occasion to marshal public involvement in developing the city, has been reduced pretty much to a private-limited exercise. The games village being build on the banks of the Yamuna is a glorious example of that. The government cares two hoots and has utter indignation about opposition from environmentalists who have been alerting us to the perils of building on the banks of the Yamuna. Even the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute warned against any permanent construction on the riverbed in 2005. That it later changed its position, arguing the construction of Akshardham temple nearby had removed the risk of flooding, leaves us very little guesswork to do.

From the activity on at the site, it would seem all is well but the status of the games village is still unclear as the Delhi High Court is yet to rule whether it should stand there or not. It has appointed another committee to inquire and examine. The tactic is simple: hem and haw till it is too late and then use the India’s-prestige-is-at-stake argument to steamroll all opposition.You would have to be demented at the least to believe that if the village, if found to be genuinely harmful to the Yamuna riverbed in a year’s time from now, would be relocated! Meanwhile, having acquired land at cheap rates (whether riverbed can be termed as land is another matter of dispute), the real estate developers of the Commonwealth Games village are already advertising and unabashedly soliciting buyers for the flats being built for the athletes. One only hopes the promise made by the government in the bid document of using part of the games village as a students’ residence is adhered to.

The signs are ominous. Rather than a legacy that we all can be proud of, the games are likely to bequeath little more than a few richer corrupt officials at Delhi Development Authority, the real estate developer of the village who would have made a killing by selling horrendously expensive apartments, and the rich who will be able to pay for them and live there.

I want to be part of this city’s growth but it is being developed rapidly in a manner that doesn’t involve public concern or encourage public involvement. Most people are too busy surviving and paying the cost for such short-sightedness. As much as we would like to believe in the spiel of Delhi being a “global city”, the truth is starkly the opposite. The way things are today in 2008, Delhi seems more like a medieval fiefdom of the privileged few.

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28 Reasons to Bike


1. Increase in local property values.

A May 14, 2002 release reports that a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey of 2000 homebuyers ranked a trail as “the second most important neighborhood amenity for homebuyers.” “Only highway access (44%) ranked higher, and 16 other amenities including parks, shopping, nearby day care, business centers, ball fields and security ranked lower” the release reports. It goes on to say that “Gopal Ahluwalia of NAHB said trail access became a popular amenity within the last five years and possibly before then…. When we do surveys, it ranks up pretty high–in the top five—all the time…. [The number two ranking of trails] was consistent across all regions and demographics of the population” (Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 2002).

Summarizing fifteen studies, researchers reported in a National Park Services book that “property values are higher adjacent to paths or trails, that homeowners and real estate agents believe that trails have either positive or no adverse effects on property values, that parks and greenbelts may increase property tax revenues, or that developers or builders may benefit from the presence of trails.” (Lindsey, p. 8).

Increase in property values is evident in the model bicycling community of Davis, California. With a population of about 60,000, Davis built an extensive off-road path system beginning several decades ago. Property values increased substantially.


2. Correlation with Overall Wealth.

Orlando seeks to become a world-class economy by 2020. It is instructive to look at correlations that exist elsewhere between strong, world-class economies and car travel.

Reduced driving actually increases local business development because most economic inputs to driving–vehicle, parts, and fuel–come from outside a region. As Litman observes, “[M]oney saved by reduced driving tends to provide net economic development benefits” (1999, December 1).

Tamim Raad, a research associate with the Institute for Science and Technology Policy (ISTP) in Perth, Australia, summarizes the relationship between car dependency and the economy in an article titled “Cars and Progress: Our Economy Is Facing Auto-Asphyxiation”:

The notion that more cars equals more wealth is really more myth than reality. In fact, some new research shows that high and increasing levels of car dependence actually harms an economy. In a report to the World Bank, researchers from the Institute for Science and Technology Policy (ISTP) in Perth, Australia showed that there are “diseconomies” associated with car use. Auto dependence can drain an economy of its wealth….

It found that, among cities in the developed world, regional wealth (as measured by per capita gross regional product – or GRP) actually goes down as car use go up. In other words, the more we drive, the poorer we get….

The global comparison is … illuminating. Cities such as Zurich,
Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Tokyo and Paris all have a much higher use of public transport than any American, Canadian or Australian city. Yet they build fewer roads and own fewer cars. They have much higher bike use. They have roughly half the transportation deaths. They spend less on getting to work. They emit a fraction of the CO2.

And, oh yes, they’re richer.

Europe’s 11 principal cities average 390 cars per 1000 people and have an average GRP of US$32,000 per capita. Meanwhile, the USA’s 10 principal cities average 600 cars per 1000 people with a GRP of only $27,000. Tokyo’s average car ownership is a paltry 225 while its GRP soars at $37,000.

More spending on cars does not create wealth. It just transfers money elsewhere. Often that elsewhere is outside your local economy. Last time I checked, my home town didn’t have an oil or car industry. And buying Ford and GM seems isn’t making Detroit, MotorCity USA, any richer. Excessive spending on cars and their infrastructure merely means less money in your pocket and your economy that can be used for productive things.

The car’s contribution to the urban economy is as much evil as it is
unnecessary. We don’t need more car-based planning bleeding our cities of their vitality and wealth. We need cities that not only make more social
and environmental sense, but more economic sense too (Bolding added; 1998).

As shown in the introduction to this paper, passenger trips by bicycle in these wealthy countries illustrate the compatibility of bicycling and a good economy:

Netherlands 28%
Japan 20%
Denmark 18%
Switzerland 15%
(Parker, 1996).


3. Less Public Money Is Needed To Create a High Quality Transportation System.

An urban freeway costs about 2500 times more per mile than an urban cycleway according to John Button’s How to Be Green, in the Australian Edition published by Random Century Hutchinson Australia Pty Ltd. (Cited in Bicycle activism press release kit). The cost per mile for a 10-foot paved multi-use path is listed as $92,000 in the Fall 2000 issue of The Virginia Cyclist:

10-foot shared use path $92,000 per mile
4-foot bike lane on each side with curb and gutter $270,300 per mile
5-foot bike lane on each side with mountable curb $281,100 per mile
Wide curb lane (2 feet extra on each side) $48,600 per mile
4-foot paved shoulder on each side of the road $69,200 per mile
Share the Road sign $218 each
Bike Lane sign $90 each
Bike Route sign $131 each

In discussions on November 11, 2002 with planners at the 16th National Trails Symposium in Orlando, the cost estimate was $100,000.

4. High-Tech Business Is Attracted by a Perceived Better Quality of Life

It has been demonstrated that well-educated, high-tech professionals will cycle for transportation if bikeways are convenient, comfortable, attractive and safe. Orlando would attract high-tech workers with a cycling transportation system because “Today’s ‘amenity-based’ economy allows young high-tech workers to pick where they live based on the city’s quality of life. Traditionally, employees were transferred to cities by their companies” (Copeland, 2002). The Little Econ Greenway Commuter Cycling Project would be particularly helpful in realizing Mayor Dyer’s plan to attract leaders in the digital arts, who would have ready access by trail to UCF with its digital arts and related academic programs and the culturally rich Rollins and Winter Park area.

5. Improved Personal Finances

The cost of traffic congestion in Orlando has been figured at over $1200 per peak roadway traveler or $575 per person per year, the 11th highest of almost 80 US urban areas (Schrank, 2002). The per household cost is $1495 (Chairman Richard T. Crotty’s Transportation Commission, 2002, p. 79). This is not surprising considering that we are listed as having the eighth highest percentage gain in journey-to-work travel times between 1990 and 2000 (Copeland, 2002) and have been designated by the Sierra Club as the number one “sprawl” city in our size range.

The Surface Transportation Policy Project makes the following point derived from Barabara McCann’s 2000 publication Driven to Spend: The Impact of Sprawl on Household Transportation Expenses:

[H]ouseholds in more automobile dependent communities devote more than 20% of household expenditures to surface transportation ($8,500 annually), while those in communities with more diverse transportation systems spend less than 17% (under $5,5000 annually). Although these may be offset by higher housing costs in urban areas with more balanced transportation, motor vehicle expenditures provide little long-term economic benefit: $10,000 spent on motor vehicles provides just $910 in equity, compared with $4,730 for the same investment in housing (McCann, 2000). This suggests that shifting consumer expenditures from motor vehicles to investments such as housing, education or savings can increase personal wealth (Surface Transportation Policy Department).

While establishing the indirect costs of congestion requires complex calculations, direct payments out of family budgets are easier to quantify. Transportation is presently the second largest item in the average family budget. Because of our high car ownership and use rates, Americans spend more on transportation than others spend. According to the 1997 Consumer Expenditure Survey, 18.5% (19.4% in the South) of total household expenditures went toward transportation, with 94% of this on automobiles (Litman, 2002, August 2, p. 4).

A good bicycle costs about 2% to 3% as much as a car, needs no fuel, no insurance, minimal maintenance, and uses free or nearly free parking. A well-maintained bicycle may not depreciate at all.

6. Better Physical Health

Despite our prodigious resources, Americans are not as healthy as people in many other countries. Heart disease, addictions, drug dependency and diabetes are among our high-incidence health problems. Urban driving exacerbates these disorders, while bicycling is preventive or therapeutic for all of them. Bicycling develops balance, coordination, and strength. It tones the body, burns calories, improves LDL and HDL readings, and strengthens the bones.

A multitude of agencies, from the World Health Organization to the Centers for Disease Control, report on health problems resulting from a lack of exercise, and on a lack of exercise opportunities as an underlying cause:

· Richard J. Jackson, director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health writes, “We are coming to the conclusion that land use, urban design and the built environment are much larger factors in public health than people have really appreciated” (Montgomery, 2001, p.CO1).

· The World Health Organization cites lack of physical activity as a major risk factor for heart disease, “the leading cause of mortality in the developed world,” and cites benefits of regular physical activity:
1. 50% reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart diseases (i.e. a similar effect to not smoking);
2. 50% reduction in the risk of developing adult diabetes;
3. 50% reduction in the risk of becoming obese;
4. 30% reduction in the risk of developing hypertension;
5. 10/8 mm Hg decline in blood pressure in hypertensive subjects (i.e. a similar effect to that obtained from anti hypertensive drugs).
6. Other effects include reduced osteoporosis, relief of symptoms of depression and anxiety, and the prevention of falls in the elderly (Parker, 2001).
· The British Medical Association in the 1992 Oxford University Press book Cycling Towards Health and Safety calculates the benefit to risk ratio of cycling to be 20:1. They recommend radical changes in transportation policy to make both health and environmental benefits of cycling into realities.

· The 1995 report Pedaling Health–Health Benefits of a Modal Transport Shift advocates bicycling to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, the risk of heart disease, and obesity. Like the British Medical Association book above, this study concludes that the physical risk of accidents while cycling is greatly outweighed by the health benefits (Roberts, 1995).

· A major study concluded, “Regular walking and cycling are the only realistic way that the population as a whole can get the daily half hour of moderate exercise which is the minimum level needed to keep reasonably fit” (Litman, 2002, November 18, p. 5).

· The Australian Department of Environmental Protection and Bike West Cycling 100 Trial was a twelve-month experiment in which a hundred people volunteered to commute part of the time by bike. At the end of the year, the cyclists had improved physical work capacity and aerobic fitness, had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and significant improvement in both LDL and HDL readings (Department of Environmental Protection, 1999).

· Assessing effects over a longer span of time, a frequently cited Copenhagen study of over 30,000 people ranging in age from 20 to 93 took place over 14.5 years and found that bike commuting an average of 3 hours per week decreased risk of mortality by about 40% over the control group that did not bike (Andersen, 2000).

· Kevin Heber of Hoosier Rails to Trails Council writes in a November 15, 2002 email that there is a study that shows people participate more in their chosen form of exercise solely because of the availability of a particular trail. A study synopsis is on-line (Indiana University News Release, 2002).
· Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Centers for Disease Control provide a synthesis of the literature on the relationship between physical activity and community design in “How Land Use and Transportation Systems Impact Public Health: A Literature Review of the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Built Form” (Frank, Undated).

Improving health will lessen the impact of the growing health care crisis and decrease the money we spend on prescription drugs.
Central Florida has a good climate and terrain for cycling. Rain, lightning, and heat are seasonable, predictable, and manageable. Florida’s rain can be handled with breathable rain-repellent gear and well-designed commuter executive clothing carriers; cycling in lightning storms can be avoided; and the breeze generated by cycling offers protection from heat, as does a tree canopy. In our four hottest months—June, July, August and September, the temperatures average below those in Davis, California, a town with a 22-28% cycling rate. In May and September combined, Davis is cooler than Orlando by an average of 2.7 degrees, and in July and August, it is hotter by an average of 3.8 degrees (Normal Daily Mean Temperatures). It has been observed that once people get used to cycling, they choose to cycle longer distances and in worse weather.

7. Better Mental and Emotional Health

Depression, violence, stress, and attention deficit disorder are common problems in the US. Exercise and nature are therapeutic for these mental and emotional disorders. Driving stresses; bicycling relaxes. Road rage is set off by car traffic, not bicycles.


8. Fewer Overweight and Obese Citizens

As reported in Science Magazine, there is an urgent need to push back against the environmental forces that are producing gradual weight gain in the population (Hill, 2003). About 64% of Americans are overweight or obese. In Florida, 18.1% of residents are obese (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion). According to the World Health Organization, the obesity epidemic is among the top ten global health problems, but the medical profession reportedly has neither the knowledge nor the incentive to combat obesity (Kelner, 2003).

Rates of obesity among US children show a pattern of alarming increase, as the table below documents.

AGE 1963-70 71-74 76-80 88-94 99-00
6-11 years 4% 4% 7% 11% 15%
12-19 years 5% 6% 5% 11% 15%

(National Center for Health Statistics, 2000).

Being overweight negatively impacts health in many ways. Its correlation with one disease, diabetes, is reported in a January 2003 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

In a study published in the January 1, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CDC reported that obesity climbed from 19.8 percent of American adults to 20.9 percent of American adults between 2000 and 2001, and diagnosed diabetes (including gestational diabetes) increased from 7.3 percent to 7.9 percent during the same one-year period. The increases were evident regardless of sex, age, race and educational status.
“Obesity and diabetes are among our top public health problems in the United States today,” said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “The good news is that diabetes and other chronic illnesses can be prevented with modest lifestyle changes. As we enter a new year, it is a great opportunity for all Americans to be active and healthy.”
Currently, more than 44 million Americans are considered obese by body mass index, reflecting an increase of 74 percent since 1991. During the same time frame, diabetes increased by 61 percent, reflecting the strong correlation between obesity and development of diabetes. Today an estimated 17 million people have diabetes in the United States. (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, 2003).
The “epidemic” of weight problems and associated diseases such as diabetes and some cancers, can be brought under control with cycling. This will improve productivity as well as self-image and the way others around the globe view us.

9. More Free Time

Most Americans suffer from not having enough free time. Of all national work forces, Americans put in the highest number of hours of work per year. Combining commute time with exercise frees up time for other pursuits.

10. More Beauty

Riding a bicycle under flowering shade trees along a quiet path edged with native vegetation contrasts starkly with our present F-rated, built up roads and the proposed widened I-4 with 35 foot high noise barriers along portions of the outside lanes, barriers setting off express lanes, and light rail with overhead lines in the middle.

11. Greater Mobility

We live in America’s number one medium-sized sprawl city as designated by the Sierra Club; not surprisingly, the auto no longer gives us the mobility it promises. Clogged roads often mean averaging the speed of horse-drawn carriages without the sense of mobility and safety they afford. In contrast, bicycles on paths can maintain a steady speed, permeate areas cars cannot, and be readily parked on arrival near a destination, affording greater mobility.

12. Inclusion of Senior Citizens

The physical danger, emotional stress and liability that come with driving in the metropolitan Orlando area keep many senior citizens off the road who are able and eager to run errands, go to work, visit friends, and exercise on bike trails. An email from the bike/pedestrian/elderly mobility coordinator for Phoenix, an area of three million people, described their recent “Senior Trail Day” as “an amazing success.” Eight cities hosted it, and the coordinator wrote, “This is an untapped target audience” (DeCindis, 2002). With off-road cycling paths, seniors here will be enthusiastic and grateful cyclists, just as they are in Europe. They should be included in transportation options through safe and appealing cycling opportunities.

13. More Equitable Living for Low Income Earners

Bike paths are more equitable than roads. Transportation costs nationally for households earning less than $20,000 are 25% of their income (Litman, 2002, August 2). Cycling is an excellent alternative to car ownership with its attendant purchase, depreciation, maintenance, and residential and sometimes off-site parking costs. It is also more healthful and often faster than public transit.

14. Increased Sense of Community

People in cars are isolated from each other, but people on bicycles readily strike up conversations with neighbors or other commuters. This fosters a sense of community in both neighborhoods and workplaces. Litman cites several studies that show this is true in neighborhoods (2002, August 2, pp. 16-17).

15. Individual Opportunities for Safer Travel

The most telling statistics are those on large numbers of people using off-road facilities. See the data in section 2 under Off-Road Paths vs On-Road Lanes.

An aware and careful cyclist riding in Orlando on trails and European style paths can avoid the threats in traffic posed daily by drivers. Statistics, however, show that accident risks for cycling, measured on the basis of trips, distance, or hours, exceed those for driving in the US and elsewhere. (However the health benefits of cycling on the average outweigh the risks, according to the British Medical Association, 20 to 1.) High crash and casualty rates for cyclists and pedestrians in the US result, in part, because most cyclists use on-road lanes or sidewalks, neither of which are optimal places to cycle, and because people with particular risk factors tend to use these modes, including children, the homeless, people with disabilities, alcoholics whose drivers’ licenses have been revoked, and elderly people. A skilled and responsible adult who shifts from driving to non-motorized travel is likely to experience less additional risk than these average values suggest (Litman, 2002 November 18, p. 13).

Road travel in Orlando is not safe. The Orlando area death rate has been reported as 17.2 or 18.8 traffic deaths per 100,000 population for 2000, either way the highest rate in the nation (Road, 2001 reported 17.2; Naples, 2001 reported 18.8). In the Netherlands in 1998 with bicycling at 28% of all trips and no helmet use, the rate was 7.5 traffic deaths per 100,000 population, down from their peak road death rate of 24.7 deaths per 100,000 in 1972. (Parker, 2001). About 3000 people die in traffic accidents each year on Florida’s roads. Litman points out that traffic accidents “continue to be the greatest single cause of deaths and disabilities for people in the prime of life” (2002).

Cycling and walking in Orlando also is not safe. Repeatedly, we have been the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians (Surface Transportation Policy Project). Orlando was ranked by Mean Streets as the most dangerous city in the country for bicyclists and pedestrians with a danger index rating of 95; the next three most dangerous cities had indexes of 87, 78, and 65 (Florida sustainable, 1998). In 2001, of the 107 bicycle fatalities in Florida, 7 were in Orange County.

Two of the eight most dangerous intersections in Florida are in Orlando according to State Farm (State Farm).

In the future, transportation it is predicted will become even more dangerous. According to the World Health Organization, road traffic accidents, which in 1990 were the ninth leading “cause of death and disease,” will climb by 2020 to the third leading cause.

16. Less Congested Roads

Every person who opts to travel on a bicycle instead of taking a three thousand pound vehicle to go somewhere is–as the bicyclists’ T-shirts say–“One Less Car.” Bicyclists improve not only their own quality of life, but also the quality of life for those behind the wheel.

By one estimate “reducing the number of cars by 10% during peak hour will increase average car speed by approximately 10km/hr, which will reduce travel times by about 25%” (Guide, 1988). This is important because traffic congestion is the number one quality-of-life complaint of Americans.

17. Safer, Quieter Neighborhoods

Some once-quiet two-lane neighborhood roads are plagued with motorists trying to circumvent congestion. This has led to controversial new “traffic calming” techniques. It would be beneficial to get rid of some of the auto traffic altogether.

18. More Resources for Public Use

Per mile, a 12-foot wide bike path costs about 5% as much as a 12-foot wide road to construct. A bike weighs just one one-hundredth what a typical car weighs–27 in comparison to 2700 pounds, and when moving takes up just 3.3% to 5% as much space as a moving car and five percent of the parking space. As a result, the construction and maintenance of bicycle paths and parking places is–commuter mile for commuter mile–vastly less expensive. (These figures are derived in part from Cycling in the City, CROW–the Dutch Centre for Research and Contract Standardization in Civil and Traffic Engineering, Netherlands, 1993 and Lester Brown, Eco-Economy, W.W. Norton and Company, 2001, p.199).

Another way of stating the savings appears in the Dutch Bicycle Master Plan:

Infrastructure for bicycle travel costs an average of two to three cents per kilometer cycled. Each kilometer covered by a passenger in urban public transport costs around forty cents subsidy on average, just to cover shortages on operation costs. Moreover, investments in facilities for bicycle traffic appear to be able to pay for themselves in the long run (Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works & Water Management, p. 64).

A cost-benefit analysis of cycling and walking paths in three Norweigen cities shows a benefit of at least four to five times the cost (Saelensminde, 2002).

Resources that would normally go into the construction of roads and parking spaces, lots and garages and their maintenance can be put into other areas that can improve life for all of us, such as education, landscaping, sports facilities, preservation of nature, and the arts and culture.

19. Enhanced and More Credible Metropolitan Image

By avoiding traffic traps that other cities have fallen into, residents of the Orlando metropolitan area will regard themselves and others will regard them with increased respect and admiration. Orlando with Disney–like Copenhagen with Tivoli–evokes an image of imagination and relaxing play. The image is reinforced by the presence of bicycles on citywide pathways.

20. Better Air Quality

The death toll from air pollution is substantial. The Earth Policy Institute Eco-Economy Update 2002-13 cites a World Health Organization study published in The Lancet that shows air pollution fatalities internationally now exceed traffic fatalities by 3 to 1. In the United States, about 70,000 people a year die from air pollution, equaling the deaths from breast cancer and prostate cancer combined and exceeding by about 75% the roads deaths of just over 40,000. Air pollution “probably causes a similar order of magnitude of premature deaths as traffic crashes” (Litman, 2002, November 18, p. 5). Earth Policy suggests “the need to broadly redefine notions of safety to include the goal of decreasing air pollution” (Fischlowitz-Roberts, 2002).

Exercise increases the damage to lungs as the small particulates making up sodium dioxide and other harmful mixes are able to penetrate deeper into the respiratory tract as a greater volume of pollutants are inhaled deeply (World Resource Institute).

In urban areas, according to the EPA about 40% of the hazardous air pollutants come from mobile sources (Environmental Protection Agency, 1999). Elsewhere, 80% has been cited.

Unfortunately, based on ozone concentrations, the Orlando area has received an F rating again this year on air quality from the American Lung Association, along with 58% of the counties in the US. There is no safe level for ozone (Fischlowitz-Roberts, 2002).

Our overall 5.5 most recent rating is well over the 3.3 required for a D. Despite our strategic location on a peninsula, our air is sub-par.

Specific toxins have also been getting attention lately. Here is disturbing information on two of them.

In the most recent data available from EPA, Florida ranked fourth nationwide for emissions of benzene, “with an exposure nine times the cancer benchmark concentration.” Two of the three Florida counties with the highest risk are Orange and Seminole. Cars, trucks, and non-road engines released 81% of total benzene emissions (Florida residents, 2002).

Florida had the fourth highest emissions of formaldehyde in the nation. Residents were exposed to formaldehyde emissions “at levels 10 times the cancer benchmark concentration.” Two of the three counties with the highest risk in Florida were Orange and Osceola, with Osceola ranking 9th in concentrations for all counties in the continental US. Cars, trucks, and non-road engines released 53% of all formaldehyde emissions (Florida residents, 2002).

Motor vehicle air pollution emissions are highest when a car is first started. It is estimated that “90% of the emissions in a 7-mile trip are generated in the first mile, before the engine warms up (Gardner, 1998). As a consequence, emissions can be reduced by 2 % to 4% by just a 1% switch from car to bike trips (Litman, 2002 November 18, p. 13).

21. Visually More Appealing Metropolitan Area

Observations suggest that when parking exceeds 9% of land area, people find the result unpleasant (Alexander, 1977, pp. 120-125). More bikes mean fewer cars out on any given day and therefore fewer parking garages, parking lots, and parking spaces filled with cars. There are places where bicycling has increased to the point that parking garage space has been converted to retail space.

22. Cleaner Surface and Ground Water

Cars pollute our lakes and groundwater; bicycles don’t.

23. Quieter City

According to a report from OECD, “Transport is by far the major source of noise, ahead of building or industry, with road traffic the chief offender” (Litman, 2002, August 2, p. 14). Noise stresses people, decreasing both their ability to think and to feel well. The idea that sound barriers on I-4 will protect people from noise overlooks their amplifying effect for people in cars or light rail on I-4.

24. Slowed Pace of Global Warming

More autos on the road mean more carbon emissions that are driving global warming. Assuming no dramatic drop in temperature for December 2002, the three warmest years on record have come in the last five years (Brown, 2002). More bicycles increase the time we have to prepare for major climatic changes so as to avoid refugee and food crises.

25. More Sustainable Lifestyle

After Our Common Future–the 1987 authoritative United Nations report on sustainability–was completed, it became evident that establishing sustainable lifestyles would be the foremost challenge of the twenty first century. We are using our resources faster than they can be replenished, creating a huge ecological debt that our children will be saddled with in the future. Right now, ecological demand exceeds supply by at least 20%; there is just one earth available but we are using 1.2 earths. As recently as 1971, we were using less than .7 of an earth (Wackernagel, 2002, 9269).

Lester Brown in Eco-Economy (2001) shows how we are overusing our fisheries, soil, pasturelands and forests, and polluting the earth at the same time. He writes, “Perhaps the biggest single challenge we face is shifting from a carbon-based to a hydrogen-based energy economy, basically moving from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy” (Brown, 2001, p. 275). Of course, fossil fuels for cars make up a big part of our carbon economy. For comparison, the Ecological Footprint of a person traveling about three miles twice each workday for autos is 1530 square meters, but for bicycles it is only about 122 square meters, which is less than one-tenth the load. (For buses, the footprint is 303 square meters) (Wackernagel,1996, p.105).

Solutions to the ecological problems we’ve created are found around the world:

Formidable though the effort to build a sustainable economy appears to be, almost all the component goals have been achieved by at least one country. China, for example, has reduced its fertility rate to below two children per woman and is thus headed for population stability within a few decades. Denmark has banned the construction of coal-fired power plants. Israel has pioneered new technologies to raise water productivity. South Korea has covered its hills and mountains with trees. Costa Rica has a national energy plan to shift entirely to renewable sources to meet its future energy needs. Germany is leading the way in a major tax-shifting exercise to reduce income taxes and to offset this with an increase in energy taxes. Iceland is planning the world’s first hydrogen-based economy. The United States has cut soil erosion by nearly 40% since 1982. The Dutch are showing the world how to build urban transport systems that give the bicycle a central role in increasing urban mobility and improving the quality of urban life. And Finland has banned the use of non-refillable beverage containers. The challenge now is for each country to put all the pieces of an eco-economy together (Bolding added; Brown, 2001, pp. 256-257).

Paths will help not only by reducing the need for the vast infrastructure needed to support automobile travel and by reducing emissions, but also by saving on the manufacture and disposal of autos. The Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelburg, Germany lists the following environmental costs of one car:

Extracting raw material:
26.5 tons of waste
922 million cubic meters of polluted air

Transporting raw material:
12 liters of crude oil in the ocean for each car
425 million cubic meters of polluted air

Producing the car:
1.5 tons of waste
75 million cubic meters of polluted air

Driving the car:
18.4 kilos of abrasive waste
1000 cubic meters of polluted air

Disposing of the car:
102 cubic meters of polluted air

This shows that maintenance and disposal of a car creates 60% and auto emissions create 40% of the polluted air generated for a car’s lifetime (“Bicycle activism press release kit,” 1997).

26. Recognition for Leadership in Sound Environmental Policy

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) of February 2002 measured the performance of 142 countries. The US was ranked 51 (revised to 45) and cited as underperforming in controlling greenhouse gas emissions and in reducing waste (Environmental Sustainability Index). By controlling carbon emissions through bicycle use, Orlando can become a leader in our country as the US strives to improve its deplorable record in this area.

27. Readiness for Other Environmental Initiatives

Successfully establishing a 20% level of all trips by bicycle empowers us to tackle other challenges such as more responsibly managing our water supply.

28. Enhanced Quality of Life for Women

In settings where cycling infrastructure does not emphasize on-road cycling that appeals mainly to 20-45 year old daring, dynamic men, it is seen that women outnumber men in choosing cycling. (Lehner-Lierz, 2003, pp.126-137) When significant numbers of women cycle, this enhances the health of the society.

For references, click here.

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Strategic Planning in a High-Performing Transit Authority

by Michael A. Mogavero, Ph.D.

Public discussions on the effectiveness of a transit authority quite frequently center on issues of financial dependency upon the community, quality of service, mishaps and perhaps labor relations. The emphasis on these issues, while they are each truly important, tends to deflect away from the mission of a transit authority.

The mission of a transit authority evolves from its role as a quasi-public good — an authority financed by a combination of user fees, local government subsidies, marketing revenues and state funding formulas producing a service that provides affordable ridership to citizens of the community. High-performing public organizations develop strategic plans that are derived from their missions and produce results that are a win-win scenario for taxpayers, riders, tourist agencies and local businesses.

In contrast, communities and authorities that choose to be led by suboptimal planning processes will result in greater inefficiencies and greater costs to the local taxpayers. In some cases, the forces of inertia in such communities tend to lead toward the suboptimal results. This has not been the recent case in Erie, Penn.

The following case study examines effective strategic planning and its outcomes in a rustbelt community. Aggressive vision, leadership and foresight accompanied by a comprehensive planning process have led to results that stimulate economic development, provide greater service and do so by being less of a burden to local taxpayers.

Before the Comprehensive Planning Process
The Erie Pennsylvania Metropolitan Transportation Authority (EMTA) was experiencing financial, operational and serious working relationship issues. The EMTA had been losing riders at an alarming pace for years. Between 1979 and 1999, ridership had decreased by roughly 72 percent (7,007,599 to 2,699,201). During that time the fare increased from 35 cents to $1.10. The paratransit organization, which is also managed by the EMTA, was hemorrhaging badly financially, and was on pace to have an annual deficit of more than $1 million. In addition, there was present a workers’ compensation liability of more than $1 million per year, which represented more than 10 percent of the budget.

The authority existed as its own entity. There was little effort to reach out to potential strategic partners. This is in direct opposition to good planning, which seeks to identify and implement win-win scenarios for previously unrelated agencies by uniting efforts to better accomplish the missions of both.

There was labor unrest because no labor agreement had been in place for more than one year. The relationship with the union was problematic at best; there seemed to be little accountability relative to performance of workers and there was little emphasis on human resource development. All of the above described an authority that was in need of a reengineering of its strategic functions. The authority had the choice of continuing the structure and methods of operation that had been in place for many years or embark on a path of discovery and entrepreneurship that would strengthen its financial makeup.

Role of Leadership
The opportunity arose for EMTA when it was in the process of seeking a new executive director. The board sought an individual who recognized the importance of strong planning to commence the reorganization. Politically, it would have been catastrophic to make these changes by directive of the executive director. Instead, a cooperative effort of the board, the executive director and the community became the body which led the impetus for change.

Effective leadership begins with carefully assessing the environment in which the authority is located. It looks for strengths and opportunities and it gathers information on what areas can be improved. Quality leadership does not begin with imposing a vision that has worked elsewhere or is one that the executive director has a bias toward. Rather, effective policy will eventually be the result of what is particular to the needs of the community and the opportunities that are proper to it alone. An effective leader recognizes this and puts in place the structures and takes the actions necessary to begin the change process. Good foresight here will have the effect of building consensus and assure the subsequent initiatives will be well received.

In the case of Erie, Penn., a new executive director was hired in 2001. He set out to discover the principal opportunities and threats. He was keenly aware of the danger of further declining ridership and subsequently, declining revenue. The picture that he uncovered included that there was also inertia in several arenas. The route structure had not changed significantly in some 50 years, despite the movement of the population from the center city to surrounding suburbs. In addition, despite being located on a beautiful tourist location, the transportation authority had little connection with tourist organizations. Likewise despite the fact that the nature of the community’s economic structure had changed from manufacturing to education, there was no outreach to, or no partnerships with educational institutions. In summary, the authority was simply operating and the result was that its service to the community was sub-optimized and its financial well-being was being threatened.

Role of Planning
The executive director, along with the board, made a commitment to planning and continuous improvement. Planning took place in a series of venues. No matter where the effort or who was involved, the temptation to impose initiatives that were not grounded in the environmental analysis was never one to determine any outcome. Planning sessions with the board, the community, riders and employees were undertaken. This democratic planning process was the essential tool in the transformational process that was occurring within the authority. It was always data driven. With so much inertia being inherited from the previous culture, the subsequent efforts could easily have been diffused by a backlash of too much change too quickly had not these inclusive efforts been put in place.

New Initiatives
The result of the environmental scans and the planning process was a series of initiatives designed to better accomplish the mission of the authority and subsequently strengthen its financial position. The following initiatives were adopted by the board of the authority:

1) The purchase of five new trolleys for intercity travel and to develop a partnership with the convention center for travel to and from the central city. More than just the purchase was the change in culture in the EMTA, including drivers, board members and political leaders that complements the growth of tourism in the downtown Erie market.

2) The redesign of the route structure to better follow the changing demographic trends.

3) The development of a partnership with the local port authority for the construction of an intermodal transportation center.

4) The formulation of partnerships with local universities for bus service on campus as well as to and from campus to central locations.

Edinboro University Partnership
Edinboro University is a sprawling campus in the southernmost portion of Erie County. It had no campus bus service. It is located in a region of the country and of Erie County that is prone to severe winter weather. Students would have to walk long distances to and between classes. Edinboro was interested in exploring the possibility of having bus service and the new leadership of the EMTA was interested in finding new sources of ridership. The EMTA, representatives of Edinboro University and the Edinboro University Student Government Association met to explore means to better serve their respective constituents.

The result was that EMTA would provide two routes; one a campus loop and the other a route from the campus to local businesses. New bus shelters were constructed and a vehicle locator system was initiated. After one year of service, bus ridership was expanded from the Edinboro main campus to satellite campuses in Erie and Meadville, Penn.

The partnership also developed a student driver and student internship program. The former provided an opportunity for students to defray some of the cost of their education.

In return for service, Edinboro University and  the student association contribute almost $200,000 annually. Ridership has grown from 54,000 in the first year of operation (2004) to 74,000 by the end of 2006. Ridership for the 2007-2008 Academic year reached 104,762. The EMTA’s financial position was strengthened by this influx of revenue as well as by the increase in matching funding.

Currently, plans are being considered to further develop the partnership. Students are asking for the service be extended to include evening hours and the authority is exploring having Edinboro serve as a hub for service from the previously underserved southern portion of the county to other underserved communities.

The partnership with Edinboro University is an example of many of the tenets of good strategic planning being implemented. For instance, it reflects the proper use of environmental analysis in identifying new viable markets for service. It reflects the development of partnerships which seek out and actualize mutually beneficial opportunities. It also reflects the commitment to economic development. The businesses in the community are beneficiaries of the increased traffic and students have their purchasing choices expanded.

So successful has been this partnership that several mirror images have been developed for other colleges in the region. This has further raised ridership and strengthened the financial position of the authority.
The operating officer for the Student Government Association (SGA) made the following observation: “The ‘Edinboro Express’ bus service that we have here at Edinboro University really means a lot to me. I have been around to see it come from its infancy stage to the point now where it has become a staple to the University. The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority has been wonderful to work with. From the very beginning, it was EMTA that applied and received a Penndot grant for two years which allowed us to run the service at a much lower cost to the students. It was also EMTA that listened and understood our ever-changing demands and met them with little to no complaints. The bond and friendships that I have made with members of EMTA is one that I never expected to make but am glad that it has happened.
“I can’t say enough good things about the staff and management at EMTA along with the cooperation of the Crawford Area Transit authority as well. This service would not be where it is today without them.

Was I skeptical that the service would grow and become what it is today? I always saw the service potentially taking off and becoming what it is today, I just didn’t think that it would happen so soon.
“The service was first met with some resistance as we were combating convenience over health as many students felt that the campus was not big enough to support bus service. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the convenience was definitely worth it. The service has allowed students to get to class and local destinations safely and at no cost. Now, in today’s economy, the service also allows students, faculty and staff to take the shuttle to class or work at no cost to them.

“The service has also connected the main campus here at Edinboro to the branch campuses in Erie and Meadville allowing us to truly become one university. SGA, along with the admissions office, is now using the shuttle bus service as a recruiting tool and it has proven to be beneficial to new students coming to Edinboro University as safety and convenience have been major concerns to parents of college students.

“I can honestly say that this is one of the most important things to me as I, along with others, have put in numerous hours of hard work to make the service as successful as it is. It has been four years since we launched the service and I don’t think any of us would know what to do if it were to ever go away.

“The service has become very much a part of campus life and I am pleased to have been a part of making it happen. Truly ‘Great Things Happen Here!’”

Due to these efforts and partnerships, ridership on the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority has risen significantly and it has not had to raise fares in the last 11 years. During the last seven years, these efforts have resulted in overall ridership growth of more than 10 percent. In addition, it is anticipated that ridership will grow another 10 percent over the next three years.

All of these new initiatives have resulted in a local match increase of 27 percent, which continues to allow EMTA to capture more federal and state grant funding to put to good use in the Erie region. One use in particular involved the complete restructuring of its routes last October, at which time it undertook a large service expansion. This was the first evaluation and restructuring of the entire system conducted in modern times.

The paratransit’s financial problems have been largely overcome, and in fact, it has grown from roughly 42 vehicles to 60 during that time period. The authority helped develop 35-foot modern low-floor trolleys and they are running successfully and have had a tremendously positive impact on the community.

Had these initiatives not occurred, ridership and revenues would have continued to decline. However, by embracing a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process, the EMTA is poised to serve the next 100 years as well as it did the first.

Dr. Mogavero has served in many roles at Edinboro University. The majority of his responsibility has been to serve as vice president for planning and continuous improvement. He is a nationally recognized expert in planning in the not-for-profit sector and serves on the board of directors of the EMTA.

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Mengkaji “Bus Priority”

Mengkaji “Bus Priority”

Oleh : Rizki Budi Utomo

– dimuat di Harian Kompas Edisi Jogja, Kamis 30 Oktober 2008

Usulan konsep “bus priority” yang diusung Dinas Perhubungan Provinsi DIY sedang menjadi diskursus menarik. Rencana pemberian prioritas bus yang akan diuji coba pada Bus Trans-Jogja ini rupanya masih berbuah pertanyaan dan pertentangan. Konsep yang bertujuan memberikan layanan masyarakat dalam bentuk mengurangi waktu tunda angkutan umum di simpang, justru dianggap menyalahi undang-undang.

Benarkah? Apa dan bagaimana sebenarnya konsep “bus priority”?

Konsep ini sebenarnya sudah lama diterapkan di negara maju. Bentuk implementasinya bisa beragam, dari pembuatan jalan khusus bus yang terpisah dari lalu lintas lain atau busway, pembuatan lajur khusus bus atau buslane, pemberian prioritas pada simpang dalam bentuk nyala hijau, hingga skema yang lebih ekstrem berupa pengalokasian ruas-ruas jalan khusus angkutan umum.

Prioritas bus yang akan diuji coba di Yogyakarta hanyalah salah satu bentuk pemberian ‘sedikit’ prioritas bus di mulut simpang dengan lampu lalu lintas. Sebuah bus yang melaju dalam jarak tertentu dari mulut simpang akan memberikan sinyal kepada pengontrol lampu lalu lintas untuk ‘sedikit’ merubah skema urutan fase lampu lalu lintas. Misalnya urutan fase normal pada simpang empat adalah Utara – Timur – Selatan – Barat.

Ketika bus melaju di kaki Barat, sedangkan fase lampu hijau sedang berlangsung di kaki Utara, maka waktu lampu hijau di kaki Utara akan dihabiskan terlebih dahulu (bukan serta merta menjadi merah), kemudian bergeser ke kaki Barat. Jadi, urutannya akan menjadi Utara – Barat – Timur – Selatan – Barat, lalu kembali ke fase normal. Seberapa lama waktu hijau untuk prioritas bus tergantung dari jarak bus ke mulut simpang, dengan tetap menggunakan aturan waktu hijau minimal, yakni 10 detik (berdasarkan Manual Kapasitas Jalan Indonesia 1997).

Metode ini umum digunakan untuk angkutan bus dengan jarak antara (headway) yang relatif agak longgar. Dalam ruang lingkup lebih besar, model prioritas bus pada simpang ini terintegrasi dalam skema yang disebut ATCS (Area Traffic Control System) dan ITS (Intelligent Transport System). Skema-skema ini terimplementasi dengan sangat baik di kota London hingga Tokyo.

Di Indonesia, model prioritas bus sebenarnya telah dijalankan di Jakarta dalam bentuk pembuatan busway atau jalan khusus bus Transjakarta, yang sekarang juga telah dilengkapi dengan portal atau pintu otomatis busway. Di London, pintu portal otomatis berbentuk pipa-pipa besi hidrolis berdiameter besar yang terpasang vertikal di jalan khusus bus, dan hanya bisa turun (membuka) secara otomatis apabila ada bus yang akan melintas. Mobil yang melanggar dan memaksa masuk akan menabrak atau terdongkrak oleh pipa besi. Ini adalah bentuk-bentuk prioritas bus dengan traffic restraint atau pembatasan lalu lintas.

Model lain prioritas bus adalah lajur khusus bus atau buslane, yang pertama kali didesain di Chicago pada 1939 dan dioperasikan di Hamburg, Jerman pada tahun 1962. Model ini lalu berkembang luas di Eropa hingga Asia, dari London, Madrid, Sydney hingga Singapura. Lajur ini berupa garis marka yang digunakan khusus untuk bus. Kelemahan buslane terletak pada perilaku pengendara kendaraan pribadi yang sering memaksa masuk lajur bus, padahal bus sedang melintas. Hal ini disebabkan tidak terpisahnya lajur bus dan lajur lalulintas secara fisik (segregated). Model buslane pernah gagal di Jakarta sebelum busway dioperasikan.

Fleksibilitas Akses

Dari sisi perundang-undangan di Indonesia, tema prioritas bus sebenarnya juga telah diangkat oleh pemerintah melalui Sistem Transportasi Nasional (Sistranas), yang menuangkan kebijakan berupa peningkatan kualitas jasa transportasi umum yang meliputi keselamatan, aksesibilitas tinggi, terpadu, kapasitas mencukupi, teratur, lancar dan cepat, mudah, tepat waktu, nyaman, tarif terjangkau, tertib, aman, polusi rendah dan efisien.

Peraturan Menteri Perhubungan Nomor KM 14 Tahun 2006 tentang Manajemen dan Rekayasa Lalu Lintas di Jalan juga telah memberi keleluasaan skema prioritas bus ini berupa pemberian prioritas bagi jenis kendaraan atau pengguna jalan tertentu sebagai upaya pemecahan permasalahan lalu lintas untuk mempertahankan tingkat pelayanan.

Keberhasilan konsep-konsep angkutan publik sebenarnya memang berpulang pada kemauan para stakeholder, termasuk pemerintah kota atau kabupaten, dalam menata transportasi. Visi daerah dalam mengembangkan angkutan publik sering kali terlupakan hingga titik nadir ketelanjuran yang berujung pada penyakit-penyakit transportasi.

Kota-kota yang tidak menata angkutan publik secara dini akan terpuruk dalam akumulasi kondisi kronis lalu lintas perkotaan. Beban transportasi semakin berat, seiring dengan besaran beban biaya yang ditanggung oleh masyarakat.

Pada hakikatnya, tujuan utama prioritas bus adalah mengakomodasi masyarakat yang menggunakan angkutan publik dengan memberikan fleksibilitas berakses. Kemudahan bertransportasi dengan mengurangi fungsi hambatan waktu akan semakin membuat angkutan publik menjadi menarik. Pengurangan penggunaan kendaraan pribadi akan sangat signifikan karena pola peralihan moda. Tujuannya jelas; mengurangi biaya kemacetan, penghematan energi Bahan Bakar Minyak (BBM) hingga pengurangan kadar polusi.

Secara teknis, prioritas bus pada simpang mudah dilaksanakan karena teknologi sudah berkembang sedemikian pesat. Formulasi hitungannya pun normatif karena hanya berkutat pada pergeseran fase lampu lalu lintas dengan tetap berpedoman pada keselamatan lalu lintas di simpang. Model ini juga cocok diterapkan di ruas jalan Yogyakarta yang karakter lalu lintasnya masih bercampur (mix traffic).

Namun, sebagai catatan penting, implementasi prioritas bus harus diujicoba untuk mendapatkan waktu sinyal yang paling efektif, serta memberikan efek pembelajaran lalu lintas kepada masyarakat. Langkah selanjutnya adalah dengan menempuh strategi-strategi manajemen lalu lintas lain untuk mendukung penggunaan angkutan publik.

Kuncinya kini ada pada pemegang keputusan, apakah mereka benar-benar berpihak pada angkutan publik yang merupakan refleksi pelayanan terhadap masyarakat?

Rizki Budi Utomo

Dosen Transportasi Jurusan Teknik Sipil FTSP UII Yogyakarta

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Jogja Kembali Bersepeda

Jumat, 17 Oktober 2008 10:55 WIB, Harian Jogja

Sepeda mungkin sudah tidak asing lagi di tengah masyarakat DIY. Mengingat Jogja adalah mengingat sepeda. Selama 20 tahun sudah tradisi bersepeda di Jogja hampir punah. Tenggang waktu yang begitu lama, membuat masyarakat Jogja kangen dengan tradisi bersepeda sehingga Gubernur DIY Sultan Hamengku Buwono X bersama Wali Kota Jogja Herri Zudianto menggalakkan kembali tradisi bersepeda.
Untuk mengisi jalan-jalan Kota Jogja pada tahun ini, sungguh sangat mustahil bila dibandingkan pada tahun 1980-an silam. Berbagai polusi dan sengatan matahari yang begitu dahsyat sangat memberatkan masyarakat Jogja untuk kembali mengembangkan tradisi kesederhanaan, yaitu bersepeda. Meskipun demikian, pada Senin (13/10), pemerintah kota Jogja tetap menggebrak masyarakat dengan program Segosegawe (sepeda kanggo sekolah lan nyambut gawe atau sepeda buat sekolah dan bekerja). Gebrakan ini terlaksana dengan adanya ribuan peserta yang terdiri dari pelajar dan karyawan di DIY.
Program yang dilaksanakan pemerintahan Kota Jogja merupakan program untuk mengembalikan masyarakat Jogja kepada kesederhanaan dan kebersamaan yang semakin terkikis habis. Di samping program bersepeda untuk kesederhanaan dan kebersamaan, program itu juga untuk mengurangi polusi dan menghemat BBM serta menjadikan Kota Jogja yang nyaman. Mengembalikan eksistensi Kota Jogja yang nyaman dan damai, salah satunya adalah melalui program yang di adakan oleh pemerintah Kota Jogja ini.
Di tengah pergolakan tradisi yang semakin dikuasai oleh teknologi dan berbagai alat-alat transportasi yang serba cepat, membuat jiwa kesederhanaan masyarakat Jogja termarginalkan. Jiwa masyarakat diganti dengan sesuatu yang serba cepat sehingga sepeda yang merupakan transportasi lambat hanya menjadi pajangan saja. Padahal sepeda merupakan alat transportasi yang asyik dan tanpa menggunakan bahan bakar minyak. Selain itu sepeda juga tidak mengeluarkan polusi udara yang mengganggu pernafasan manusia. Jika tradisi sepeda hilang, maka Kota Jogja yang terkenal sebagai kota nyaman akan hilang. Karena semua berbau dengan polusi udara akibat dari asap knalpot dari motor dan mobil.
Kenyamanan bersepeda
Setelah pemerintah Kota Jogja menggalakkan kembali tradisi bersepeda, tentunya harus memperhatikan dan mendapat dukungan penyediaan infrastruktur keselamatan dan kenyamanan, misalnya jalur khusus sepeda. Jalur ini harus tersedia di seluruh Kota Jogja.
Direktur Institut for Transportation and Devolopment Plicy (ITDP) Darmaningtyas, menilai kebijakan menggalakan kembali bersepeda itu tidak jelas karena menekankan sosialisasi yang tanpa disertai penyediaan sarana yang menciptakan kenyamanan bersepeda. Ditambah lagi dengan ungkapannya, “mestinya disediakan dulu sarananya, baru sepeda digenjot”.
Penyediaan sarana untuk kenyamanan orang yang bersepeda sangatlah penting, selain itu juga sangat penting untuk mengantisipasi kecelakaan lalulintas. Seperti yang diungkapkan Darmaningtyas di atas, sangat membantu untuk memberikan jaminan keselamatan bagi para pengendara sepeda melalui pembuatan jalur khusus sepeda. Selama ini jalur sepeda yang ada di Kota Jogja baru jalur yang menghubungkan lima kampus besar, yaitu UGM, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Universitas Sanata Drama, dan Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta. Penyediaan jalur Sepeda seharusnya ditambah banyak dengan diadakannya penggalakan bersepeda.
Kenyamanan adalah yang dibutuhkan bagi pengendara sepeda. Tanpa adanya kenyamanan, maka mustahil masyarakat Jogja kembali menggalakkan tradisi bersepeda yang terpendam selama bertahun-tahun silam. Banyak fakta yang menunjukkan adanya kecelakaan antara sepeda (onthel) dengan motor sehingga mengakibatkan salah satu pihak mengalami luka-luka. Bisa dikatakan ini adalah akibat dari tidak adanya jalur khusus untuk sepeda dan kenyamanan yang tidak diciptakan. Kecelakaan akan terus terjadi jika penggalakan bersepeda tidak disertai dengan sarana yang menjamin kenyamanan para pengendara sepeda.
Pemkot Jogja telah memberikan asuransi bersepeda bagi para pelajar jika mereka mengalami kecelakaan di jalan. Selain untuk pelajar, PNS juga sudah diusulkan untuk mendapatkan layanan dari pemkot. Seperti yang diungkapkan Kepala Dinas Pendidikan Kota Jogja Syamsury, aturan mainnya akan segara disatukan dengan Peraturan Wali Kota. “Sedang kami pikirkan pula, karyawan pun dapat asuransi. Tujuannya agar pengendara sepeda nyaman”.
Membangkitkan jiwa sederhana
Jiwa kesederhanaan masyarakat Jogja yang lama terkubur oleh zaman, mencoba dikuak lagi kesederhanaan jiwa yang sudah lama mati. Menguak kembali eksistensi kesederhanaan jiwa yang mulia, merupakan bentuk perwujudan dan kesetiaan kepada Kota Jogja. Meski bertahun-tahun telah hilang, tetapi mereka mencoba membongkar kesederhanaan abadi.
Tumbuhnya kesederhanaan, akan membawa pada kebersamaan dalam berinteraksi dengan orang lain. Jiwa sederhana yang dimaksud adalah kesederhanaan dalam bentuk material, yaitu mementingkan kembali sesuatu yang sifatnya sudah dianggap tidak modern atau dalam kata lain adalah sepeda onthel.
Kita lihat negara-negara maju yang lebih cenderung menggunakan sepeda onthel dari pada menggunakan yang lain. Itu kerena mereka tahu manfaatnya bahwa sepeda bisa menjadikan badan lebih sehat dan segar kembali serta tidak merusak kelestarian alam. Begitu juga dengan Jogja, untuk mewujudkan kesehatan bersama dan kelestarian alam tradisi sepeda kembali digalakkan. Terbukti di desa yang masih pedalaman belum kenal dengan motor, tumbuhan di sekelilingnya masih kelihatan segar dan lestari.
Membangkitkan kesederhanaan tanpa dibarengi dengan rasa percaya diri, sangat sulit untuk dilakukan. Meskipun kelihatannya sepele, tetapi justru itu adalah pertarungan besar melawan nafsu matrealis. Memerangi tradisi bersepeda motor dengan tradisi sepeda onthel, itulah wujud kesederhanaan yang akan dilakukan Jogja kepada masyarakatnya.
Berbagai manfaat bersepeda juga sudah tidak diragukan lagi, kesehatan akan terjaga, mengurangi polusi udara dan lain sebagainya. Bisa kita bandingkan, orang yang melakukan perjalanan dengan  menggunakan sepeda dan orang yang dalam perjalanannya manggunakan sepeda motor, efek positif jelas terlihat pada orang yang naik sepeda. Kesehatan yang diperoleh sangat jelas serta menumbuhkan stamina yang tinggi.
Bersepeda memang jalan yang paling efektif untuk meningkatkan kesederhanaan dan meningkakan rasa percaya diri pada orang lain. Maka, program yang dilakukan Pemerintah Kota Jogja ini perlu mendapatkan perhatian dari masyarakat Jogja sebagai rasa pengenalan kembali kepada tradissi bersepeda yang lama terpendam. Masyarakat seharusnya mendukung adanya program ini untuk menguak kembali tradisi Jogja sebagai kota sepeda

Oleh Nur Kholis Anwar
Staf Peneliti pada Hasyim Asya’ari Institute, Jogja

Sumber : Harian Jogja

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Fenomena Mudik


Mudik, Bukan Tradisi Monopoli Indonesia

Tradisi pulang kampung halaman untuk bertemu sanak saudara bukan hanya milik Indonesia. Di negara lain, seperti Amerika Serikat (AS), tradisi serupa juga berlaku ketika perayaan hari Thanksgiving (hari pengucapan syukur’) dan Natal.

Proses migrasi sementara dari satu tempat ke tempat lainnya yang terjadi di Amerika Serikat (AS) hampir mirip dengan tradisi mudik yang terjadi di Indonesia. Masyarakat berbondong-bondong pulang kampung halaman atau berkunjung ke tempat sanak famili, kerabat, dan teman-temannya.

Selain itu, warga AS juga memanfaatkan momen tersebut untuk berlibur ke berbagai tempat wisata. Berdasarkan catatan Asosiasi Automobil Amerika (American Automobile Association/AAA), pada perayaan hari Thanksgiving, lalu lintas jalan raya di AS selalu dipadati pengguna jalan. Pada 2007, lembaga asosiasi independen untuk advokasi pelancong dan pengendara itu mencatat sekira 38,7 juta warga Amerika melakukan perjalanan sejauh 50 mil atau lebih.

Angka ini naik 1,6 persen dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya. Kepadatan jalan raya yang dimulai sejak 21 November itu didominasi mobil yang mencapai angka 80 persen. Meskipun terjadi kenaikan harga BBM di AS, tidak menyurutkan para pengendara kendaraan untuk melakukan perjalanan selama hari liburan itu.

AAA mencatat, angka permintaan BBM meningkat 0,8 persen selama empat pekan November dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya, atau rata-rata lebih dari 9,3 juta barel per hari. “Meskipun harga BBM mencapai lebih dari USD3 per galon pada November 2007, hari Thanksgiving merupakan perayaan tradisional bagi berkumpulnya keluarga sehingga kenaikan harga BBM tidak akan menghalangi warga AS untuk berkumpul dengan keluarga yang dicintainya,” kata Presiden AAA Robert L Derbelnet dalam siaran persnya.

Sementara itu, 31,2 juta pengendara motor memadati jalanan pada perayaan Thanksgiving 2007. Angka ini meningkat 1,3 persen dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya, sedangkan 4,7 juta orang lainnya akan melakukan perjalanan melalui udara, dan sisanya dengan bus atau alat transportasi lainnya.

Meskipun membayar lebih untuk BBM, para pelancong itu terobati dengan menurunnya harga sewa mobil, hotel, dan biaya tiket pesawat. AAA mencatat rata-rata harga sewa kamar hotel turun 3 persen, sewa mobil turun 12 persen, dan harga tiket pesawat turun 7 persen pada 2007. Penurunan harga tiket pesawat ini karena perusahaan maskapai menginginkan peningkatan penjualan tiket sebesar 4 persen.

Asosiasi Transportasi Udara (Air Transport Association/ATA) mencatat pada perayaan Thanksgiving 2007 diprediksi meraih penjualan tiket sebanyak 27 juta. Angka ini dicapai untuk 12 hari yang dimulai 16 November dan setiap tempat duduk pesawat terisi hingga 90 persen. Upaya ini demi menambal kegagalan maskapai di AS yang banyak mencatat ketidakpuasan konsumennya.

Sebab berdasarkan catatan Departemen Perhubungan AS, per September 2007 sekira 24 persen jadwal kedatangan pesawat terlambat. Ini merupakan catatan angka terburuk sejak data tentang keterlambatan jadwal pesawat dikompilasikan sejak 1995. Jika demikian halnya, tradisi berkumpul dengan sanak saudara adalah milik semua orang.

Di negara maju seperti AS pun, perayaan Thanksgiving dimanfaatkan warganya untuk berkumpul dengan orang-orang dicintainya. Hari Thanksgiving adalah hari libur yang awalnya merupakan tradisi masyarakat Amerika Utara untuk mengucapkan terima kasih dan rasa syukur pada akhir musim panen.

Hari tersebut dijadikan hari libur resmi di Amerika Serikat yang jatuh pada setiap Kamis keempat November setiap tahunnya. Sementara di Kanada, Thanksgiving jatuh pada Senin kedua Oktober. Pada perayaan Natal 2006, AAA mencatat lebih dari 64,9 juta warga AS melakukan perjalanan sejauh 50 mil atau lebih. Angka ini meningkat 22 persen dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya yang hanya mencatat 63,5 juta orang.

Perinciannya, untuk perayaan Natal ini sebanyak 52,6 juta pemudik (81 persen dari total pemudik) lebih menyukai mengendarai sepeda motor. Angka ini meningkat 2,1 persen dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya yang sebanyak 51,5 juta orang. Selain itu, sebanyak 9 juta warga AS lebih menyukai melakukan perjalanan menggunakan pesawat (hampir 14 persen dari total pemudik).

Angka ini meningkat 2,7 persen dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya yang sebanyak 8,7 juta orang. Sementara pemudik yang menggunakan jasa kereta api, bus, dan lainnya hanya tercatat 3,3 juta orang atau naik tipis dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya 3,21 juta orang.

Desember merupakan bulan tersibuk bagi bandara di AS, sebab saat itulah jutaan warga AS berbondong- bondong membeli tiket pesawat untuk mengunjungi keluarganya. Selain itu, akhir tahun juga merupakan waktu yang tepat untuk liburan layaknya pascalebaran di Indonesia.

Tempat-tempat wisata seperti pantai, kapal pesiar, lereng ski akan ramai dipadati pengunjung. Sebagaimana masyarakat Indonesia yang telah menyiapkan kebutuhan mudik jauh-jauh hari sebelum Lebaran, masyarakat AS pun melakukan hal yang sama. Sebab, momen liburan Natal dan akhir tahun tersebut memang benar-benar dimanfaatkan penduduk di Negeri Paman Sam itu.

Meskipun jika dibandingkan pada perayaan Thanksgiving, ternyata harga sewa kamar hotel, tiket pesawat, dan sewa mobil justru naik saat Natal dan Tahun Baru. AAA mencatat harga sewa kamar hotel saat Natal meningkat hingga 4 persen, sementara harga sewa mobil dan tiket pesawat naiknya tidak terlalu signifikan. Adapun jumlah warga AS yang menyewa mobil meningkat sekira 5 persen.

Namun untuk pertama kalinya, pada liburan 4 Juli yang merupakan perayaan hari kemerdekaan AS, pada 2008 ini terjadi penurunan angka pelancong. Ini merupakan pertamakalinya dalam sejarah angka pelancong menurun 1,3 persen. Tercatat, Juli 2008 ini hanya sekira 40,45 juta warga AS yang melakukan perjalanan liburan atau menurun 550.000 dibandingkan pada 2007 sebesar 41 juta.

Melihat dari paparan di atas, budaya pulang kampung alias mudik ternyata menjadi milik masyarakat dunia. Jika di AS memiliki perayaan Thanksgiving, Natal, dan Tahun Baru, negara-negara lain di Eropa juga memiliki tradisi yang sama saat perayaan Natal. “Di Belanda banyak orang yang mudik ketika perayaan Natal. Ini sudah menjadi sifat dasar manusia ingin kembali ke asal. Ada yang demikian ramai seperti di Indonesia, yang berjubel-jubel, tetapi ada yang biasa saja. Namun, prinsipnya setiap orang ingin kembali ke kampung halamannya masing-masing,” kata Kepala Pusat Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Kebudayaan Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia Muhammad Hisyam. (sindo//mbs)

Mudik, Menembus Batas Rasionalitas

Orang rela melakukan apa saja agar bisa berhari raya di kampung halaman bersama keluarga. Batas-batas rasional tidak menjadi penghalang bagi para pemudik melaksanakan niatnya.

Mudik sudah menjadi tradisi tahunan masyarakat Indonesia. Maklum, selain demi tujuan silaturahmi dengan sanak saudara, kembali ke kampung halaman merupakan keinginan dasar setiap manusia terhadap asal usulnya. Endra (37), warga Ciputat misalnya.

Dia rela berjubel-jubel di Stasiun Pasar Senen, Jakarta Pusat, demi mengantarkan anak-anaknya untuk bertemu neneknya di kampung halaman. Meskipun bapak dua anak ini tidak pulang ke rumah orangtuanya, dia tetap berkewajiban mengunjungi mertuanya sebagai bentuk upaya untuk menjaga silaturahmi.

“Mengantar anak-anak ketemu neneknya di Semarang sekaligus ngobatin rasa kangen sama keluarga,”papar pria yang sehari-harinya bekerja sebagai sopir taksi ini. Hal senada diungkapkan Rico (22), warga Depok yang mengaku mudik demi mengobati rasa rindunya untuk bertemu keluarga.

Selain itu, lajang yang berprofesi sebagai tukang kayu ini juga mengaku sudah tidak sabar untuk berkumpul dengan teman-temannya di kampung. Itu sebabnya, mudik tidak bisa dilihat sebagai suatu budaya semata. Namun, tradisi migrasi sementara ini seakan sudah menjadi bagian dari proses ritual Ramadan.

Menurut Kepala Pusat Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Kebudayaan Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia Muhammad Hisyam, sudah menjadi satu kelaziman jika masyarakat rela melakukan apa saja hanya demi bisa mudik. “Biasanya saudara atau orangtua tinggal di kampung. Apalagi jika orangtua masih hidup,mudik akan sangat diutamakan. Ini karena sifat dasar manusia ingin kembali ke asalnya,” katanya.

Tradisi mudik menjadi fenomena menarik sekaligus unik. Sebab, tradisi ini mampu menembus batas-batas rasionalitas.

Kegembiraan merayakan hari kemenangan setelah sebulan berpuasa, keriangan bertemu sanak keluarga, serta kekhidmatan mencium kembali kampung halaman menghilangkan kesusahan dan hiruk-pikuknya suasana yang terjadi di perantauan. Kampung halaman akan senantiasa berkesan bagi kaum urban yang merantau.

Dipandang dari sisi budaya, mudik merupakan tradisi leluhur sehingga sulit termakan zaman. Bahkan, kecanggihan teknologi yang ada saat ini tak pernah mampu menggusur tradisi mudik. Hal ini disebabkan masyarakat Indonesia memiliki keterikatan batin yang kuat dengan asal usulnya.

Alasan sosial dan budaya ini cukup kuat sehingga mudik akan tetap menjadi tradisi setiap tahunnya. “Ini sudah menjadi tradisi turun-temurun, jadi sulit untuk dihilangkan,” ujarnya. Meskipun tidak bisa disamakan, menurut Hisyam, mudik layaknya orang sedang menjalankan ritual haji.

Para pemudik sudah melakukan persiapan jauh-jauh hari, mulai stamina fisik, materi, serta keinginan untuk berbagi dengan orang-orang di kampung. Jika dipandang dari kacamata ekonomi mikro, mudik hanya akan dianggap sebagai pemborosan.

Namun jika dipandang dari kacamata ekonomi makro, mudik bisa dinilai sebagai penyebaran perputaran uang dari kota ke desa. Dari sisi sosial budaya jelas tidak hanya terjadi migrasi sementara orang dari kota ke desa, tetapi juga terjadi migrasi budaya kota ke desa.

Para pemudik secara tidak langsung akan memberikan asupan warna budaya baru bagi masyarakat di kampung halamannya. Dalam sejarahnya, menurut Hisyam, tradisi mudik tidak seramai sekarang ketika masih era 1970-an. Sebab saat itu kondisi perekonomian Indonesia dalam keadaan sulit.

Di samping itu, tingkat urbanisasi juga relatif masih kecil. Namun ketika perekonomian mulai membaik, masyarakat mulai berbondong-bondong melakukan tradisi mudik. “Mudik bukanlah perilaku agama, melainkan murni perilaku sosial sehingga tidak bisa diukur dari sisi agama. Ini murni gejala sosial budaya,” tandasnya.

Menurut sebagian kalangan, tradisi mudik terjadi akibat ketidakrataan pembangunan. Pesatnya pembangunan di wilayah perkotaan menjadi magnet bagi masyarakat desa.

Mereka enggan menggeluti profesi kultural di desa sebagai petani. Wajah kota selalu menjanjikan penghidupan yang lebih baik. Hal inilah yang membuat angka urbanisasi meningkat. Padahal jika terjadi pemerataan pembangunan hingga ke pelosok-pelosok desa, urbanisasi tidak perlu terjadi.

Kondisi ini juga dialami Eropa pada abad ke-19. Di Swedia, misalnya, setiap habis ritual pulang ke kampung halaman,masyarakat kembali ke kota dengan membawa serta beberapa sanak saudaranya. “Ini tidak bisa disalahkan karena pembangunan memang belum merata.

Jadi kondisi di Indonesia saat ini tidak berbeda dengan Eropa seabad silam.Jika pembangunan sudah merata, urbanisasi tidak perlu dikhawatirkan,”ujarnya. Diah, 35, misalnya. Perempuan yang sehari-harinya bekerja sebagai pembantu rumah tangga (PRT) di Serpong,Tangerang itu mengaku ketiga anaknya tinggal di Madiun,Jawa Timur, bersama ibu dan saudaranya.

Ia rela berpisah dari buah hatinya demi bekerja mengais rezeki di Ibu Kota. Diah adalah salah satu dari ribuan orang yang demikian bersabar menunggu kedatangan kereta yang akan membawanya pulang dari Stasiun Kereta Pasar Senen, Jakarta Pusat.

“Ingin kangen-kangenan sama anak-anak dan keluarga juga,” katanya. Bagi masyarakat urban yang sudah lama merantau di Jakarta dan sekitarnya, mengobati rasa kangen dengan keluarganya inilah yang tidak bisa dibeli dengan uang.

Padahal, mereka harus berjuang agar bisa pulang; terkadang tidak kebagian tiket dan harus sabar menunggu antrean pembelian tiket hari berikutnya. Artinya para pemudik itu harus tidur di stasiun untuk menunggu loket tiket dibuka kembali.

Hal inilah yang dialami Samiji (35), yang harus bersabar karena tidak kebagian tiket kereta pada Jumat (26/9/2008). Pria yang sehari-harinya bekerja sebagai buruh konstruksi di Cilegon ini telah dikaruniai dua anak dari hasil perkawinannya dengan perempuan warga Kampung Melayu, Jakarta Timur.

Samiji terpaksa menginap di Stasiun Kereta Pasar Senen, sementara istri dan kedua anaknya menginap di rumah mertuanya di Kampung Melayu. Suka duka seputar mudik inilah yang sering dialami masyarakat urban demi keinginan berkumpul dengan keluarganya di kampung halaman. (sindo//mbs)

Mudik, Membenahi Masalah Klasik

Tradisi mudik tidak pernah bisa dilepaskan dari sistem transportasi. Sayangnya, transportasi dan infrastruktur belum menunjang. Sesak, pengap, dan berdesak- desakan adalah menu utama yang harus dialami pemudik ketika akan berlebaran bersama sanak saudara di kampung halaman.

Masyarakat kelas ekonomi menengah ke bawah merupakan pihak yang paling merasakan betapa perjalanan menuju pulang terasa sangat berat. Dapat dibayangkan satu kendaraan harus diisi dengan penumpang yang melebihi kapasitas yang ada. Namun, persoalan ini juga berlaku bagi masyarakat kalangan menengah atas.

Hal ini tampak dari sulitnya mendapatkan tiket-tiket eksekutif pada moda transportasi kereta api. Umumnya, untuk tiket kereta api kelas eksekutif sudah habis sejak awal Ramadan. Kondisi serupa terjadi pada tiket pesawat terbang. Sekalipun ada menjelang hari raya, harganya setinggi langit.

Departemen Perhubungan sejak awal sudah memprediksi bahwa jumlah pemudik untuk musim mudik tahun ini akan meningkat dibandingkan tahun lalu. Diprediksi tahun ini jumlah pemudik yang menggunakan angkutan umum mencapai 15,8 juta atau naik 6,55 persen dibandingkan 2007.

Lonjakan penumpang terlihat pada semua moda kendaraan yang dipergunakan, baik darat, laut maupun udara. Untuk mengimbangi hal itu, upaya penambahan kendaraan pun mengalami peningkatan. Jika pada 2007 bus yang dipergunakan mencapai 33,3 ribu unit, pada 2008 meningkat menjadi 34,4 ribu unit.

Demikian juga dengan kapal yang melayani angkutan sungai, danau dan penyeberangan (ASDP) yang bertambah menjadi 127 unit dari 121 pada 2007. Kapal yang beroperasi melayani angkutan jarak jauh pun bertambah 71 buah menjadi 593 kapal.

Adapun pesawat udara, walaupun jumlahnya menurun dari 211 menjadi 184 pesawat, daya angkutnya lebih banyak karena menggunakan pesawat yang lebih besar. Walaupun ada penambahan jumlah armada, bukan berarti permasalahan angkutan Lebaran terselesaikan.

Sebab, jumlah yang disediakan tidak sebanding dengan kebutuhan yang ada tiap tahun. Akibatnya, antrean dan jubelan orang berdesakan tetap menjadi pemandangan rutin. Untuk mengantisipasi hal tersebut, masyarakat sendiri sejak semula sudah mengetahui risiko yang akan mereka hadapi.

Itu sebabnya, sebagian masyarakat memilih membeli tiket di awal Ramadan. Selain jumlah penumpang yang menggunakan angkutan umum bertambah, penumpang dengan kendaraan pribadi pun turut bertambah, terutama pengguna sepeda motor.

Jumlah kendaraan roda dua meningkat dari 2,1 juta menjadi 2,5 sepeda motor atau dengan penumpang berjumlah 6,42 juta jiwa. Sementara pengguna kendaraan roda empat atau lebih naik dari 6,1 juta menjadi 6,4 juta atau dengan jumlah kendaraan mencapai 1,28 juta.

Menurut Direktur Jenderal Perhubungan Darat Departemen Perhubungan Iskandar Abubakar, faktor utama yang menimbulkan permasalahan mudik adalah lonjakan penumpang yang sangat drastis pada waktu yang bersamaan sehingga pasokan dan permintaan tidak seimbang dan hal ini berlangsung setiap tahun.

Hal ini juga diamini Ketua Masyarakat Transportasi Indonesia Bambang Susantono. Menurutnya, hal ini menjadi pekerjaan rumah yang harus dipikirkan semua pihak. “Tumpukan penumpang dalam jumlah yang besar dan pada waktu bersamaan inilah yang menjadikan keruwetan mudik terjadi dari tahun ke tahun,” ujar Bambang.

Untuk mengantisipasi itu, pemerintah sebenarnya sudah melakukan berbagai upaya agar transportasi mudik lebih lancar dan nyaman. Namun harus diakui bahwa upaya itu belum mampu menyediakan kenyamanan secara maksimal.

Menurut Iskandar, dari segi kendaraan, walaupun telah banyak melakukan tambahan, pemerintah belum bisa menyiapkan kendaraan sesuai dengan kebutuhan jumlah penumpang yang ada.

Menurutnya akan menjadi suatu upaya yang sangat mahal jika pemerintah harus menyiapkan kendaraan yang sangat banyak, padahal kendaraan itu hanya dipakai beberapa hari saja dalam satu tahun.

Iskandar mencontohkan, pada hari biasa daya angkut kapal di Selat Madura mencapai 20.000 orang setiap hari, sedangkan pada saat Lebaran bisa mencapai 90.000 penumpang. Akibatnya, walaupun sudah ada beberapa tambahan kapal, tetap saja antrean panjang hingga beberapa kilometer menjadi pemandangan yang tidak dapat dielakkan. “Kita tidak mungkin menyiapkan kapal lebih banyak jika hanya digunakan pada beberapa hari saja,” ujar Iskandar.

Mudik Bareng

Di tengah keterbatasan mendapatkan alat transportasi yang nyaman, khususnya bagi masyarakat menengah ke bawah, ada satu kegembiraan yang didapat masyarakat dengan banyaknya program mudik bersama secara gratis saat ini.

Program mudik bersama kini marak digelar kalangan perusahaan swasta, organisasi masyarakat, dan partai politik. Mudik bersama dinilai akan memberikan nilai positif bagi perusahaan karena dapat menata karyawan agar mudik tepat waktu dan teratur.

Menurut Direktur Lalu Lintas Polri Brigjen Pol Yudi Susharyanto, hingga kini sudah ada 58 perusahaan yang memberitahukan ke Polri soal rencana mudik bersama. Tampaknya masyarakat juga sangat antusias menyambut hadirnya program mudik bersama gratis ini. PT Holcim, misalnya, menggelar mudik bersama pada 24 September dengan memberangkatkan 5,3 ribu pekerja bangunan ke kampung halamannya.

Hal serupa juga dilakukan PT Sido Muncul pada 25 September lalu dengan menyediakan 260 bus untuk mengantar 18.000 pemudik ke berbagai tujuan. Sementara Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDIP) menargetkan akan memberangkan 20.000 pemudik dengan 400 bus.

Makin ramainya jalanan pada waktu mudik Lebaran secara tidak langsung menuntut infrastruktur, khususnya jalan, yang prima. Hal ini pun diakui Iskandar. Oleh karena itu, pihaknya bersama Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum (PU) berusaha memperbaiki kualitas dan rambu jalan.

Iskandar mencontohkan, saat ini sudah ada fly overdi daerah Nagrek, Jawa Barat, yang bisa sedikit memecah kepadatan arus lalu lintas.Sebagaimana diketahui, daerah Nagrek sering menjadi titik paling padat setiap musim mudik tiba.

Hasil perbaikan yang dilakukan pemerintah juga terlihat pada beberapa jalan raya, khususnya di daerah pantai utara (pantura) Jawa sebagai jalur utama pemudik. Untuk memperlancar arus lalu lintas di jalur ini, antara Jakarta, Semarang hingga Pati telah dipasang median (pemisah jalur).

Untuk ke depan, menurut Iskandar, berbagai infrastruktur akan semakin ditingkatkan, salah satunya Jembatan Surabaya-Madura (Suramadu). “Tahun depan dengan rampungnya Jembatan Suramadu, permasalahan di Selat Madura akan teratasi,” ujar Iskandar.

Guna memperbaiki layanan kepada para penumpang, saat ini beberapa upaya telah dilakukan pemerintah. Dari pemantauan di Stasiun Pasar Senen, Jakarta Pusat, misalnya, kebersihan tampak berbeda dengan hari biasa.Toilet terasa lebih bersih dan sampah juga terlihat sedikit daripada hari biasa.

Menurut seorang petugas Stasiun Pasar Senen R Widjojo, saat ini PT KAI memang mengintruksikan untuk memberikan pelayanan yang lebih baik kepada para penumpang. Salah satu pelayanan PT KAI adalah dengan menambah cadangan rangkaian kereta. Dengan demikian, menurut Widjojo, saat ini walaupun masih banyak penumpang yang berdiri, itu masih dalam batas wajar.

“Sistem pembelian tiket sekarang yang melalui komputer tidak melayani jika penumpang melebihi batas maksimal dan akan ditambah jika akan ada kereta tambahan,” ujar Widjojo. (sindo//mbs)

Tulisan saya salin dari, minggu, 28 September 2008

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Lalu Lintas Pantura Meningkat 300%

Minggu, 28 September 2008 – 18:02 wib

BREBES – Kepadatan arus lalu lintas pada H-3, Minggu (28/9/2008), di jalur Pantura, Brebes, Jawa Tengah, mengalami peningkatan tiga kali lipat dibanding H-4, Sabtu 27 September kemarin. Lonjakan kendaraan mencapai 18.950 unit kendaraan, per jam.

Padahal pada H-4 lalu, baru mencapai 5.000 kendaraan per jamnya. Jumlah tersebut merupakan peningkatan terbesar selama arus mudik lebaran.

Lonjakan volume kendaraan ini menyebabkan kendaraan yang masuk ke pintu gerbang Jawa Tengah melalui Jembatan Sungai Cisanggarung, Losari, Brebes mengalami kemacetan dan iring-iringan kendaraan padat merayap sepanjang 5 Km sejak pukul 06.00 WIB.

Dari catatan petugas Pos Cisanggarung, kendaraan dari arah barat yang masuk ke wilayah Jateng sejak pukul 06.00 WIB hingga sekarang terpantau sebanyak 151.539 unit.

Jumlah tersebut didominasi sepeda motor mencapai 111.000 unit dan kendaraan roda empat 35.571 unit. Sementara kecepatan kendaraan rata-rata mencapai 25-30 km per jam.

Di tempat terpisah, kapolres Brebes AKBP Firli Dahuri membenarkan lonjakan cukup signifikan arus kendaraan yang melintasi Cisanggarung pada H-4.

Hal ini berdampak pada penumpukan kendaraan di wilayah Losari hingga Tanjung. Selain akibat penumpukkan kendaraan, kepadatan juga disebabkan banyaknya masyarakat yang menyeberang jalan dan kendaraan yang hendak berbelok arah dari barat ke selatan.

“Kendaraan padat merayap mulai Losari hingga Tanjung. Tapi, setelah Tanjung ke Tegal arus lalu lintas kembali normal,” katanya. (Kastolani/Sindo/ded)

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