Thursday, March 10, 2011

From Here to There -- Getting Around in Delhi

Delhi is not Davenport; it's that simple. If we think the roundabout in Bettendorf  Iowa is a wild feature of the traffic system in our area, we haven't travelled in the mix of cars, mini vans, motorcycles, 3-wheel taxis and bicycles, all moving at once.  If we doubt the theory of self-organizing systems, a little reflection on the Delhi traffic would give pause.

Of course it helps if you have your own city guide leaning over the back seat to point out sights:

It also helps if he can speak fluent Hindi to the driver:

who has an amazing skill, avoiding a crash with vehicles pressing in on all sides, such as this fellow in traffic  riding a fully loaded bike directly behind of the hundreds of 3-wheel motorized rickshaws. The driver seems totally unshaken by the cars inches away, motorcycles squeezing between cars, and at least one donkey-drawn cart:

While this may seem confusing (which it is) and behind-the times, there is a contradiction threaded through it all. The Delhi government some time ago required that public transit operate on compressed natural gas (CNG), dramatically improving the air quality in the city in short time.

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