I have lived in Bangalore for a little over 2 years now. The traffic is bad and I have to often cross some of the biggest chokepoints — Silk board and Sony World. These bottlenecks have their own Twitter handles — (@SonyWorldJn) and Silk Board Junction. There was even a movie about the Silk Board.

I have lived in a dozen other cities and the traffic there was equally bad too. In my 4 years in Boston, my commute [first to my Bschool and next to my work] were both over 70 minutes, crossing barely 14 miles on freeway. This is in a city with a fraction of Bangalore’s population and wide expressways. During the rush hour it was not anymore pleasant than driving in Bangalore.

I had to often drive to Manhattan for work and that was even worse. Previously I have lived near DC Beltway [495], Seattle [405], Bay Area [101] and those commutes were terrible too. Oh, let’s not take London and its choked roundabouts. Last month, I stood nearly 1 hour, crossing barely a few miles on I-90 in Chicago. A week later, I nearly missed my flight with my taxi taking nearly 2 hours to get to the Tianjin airport from my hotel less than 20km away. Shenzhen was horrible and so was Mumbai — where I spent nearly 12 of 24 hours in Uber [Andheri-Nariman Point-Lower Parel-Andheri-Powai-Andheri-Vashi].

The fact is that major cities are all horrible for driving. You don’t get stuck in traffic — you are the traffic, if you are in a car.

Traffic in US v Silkboard

Here is how you can be a part of a solution, than complaining about the problem you are a part of:

  1. The best way to commute is not commute. We encourage all our employees to stay close to work, so that they can walk and bike. Most of us stay walking distance away from office.
  2. Visitors should respect the city they are visiting. If your meetings are all in Marathahalli, but you choose to have your hotel stay in MG road, you don’t get to whine about the traffic. Plan well on where you stay. Big cities are multiple worlds and don’t try to criss cross between the worlds.
  3. When you are taking flight in/out of the city, try to do it in early morning or late night. I do that all the time and I can get to/from the airport in less than 1 hour. Do not take mid-day flights.
  4. Take the public transport where possible. I often take bus from the airport and where possible, the metro. In a couple of years I hope the Metro connects more useful areas — south Bangalore.
  5. If you do commute, try to take a bicycle or a scooter. I often bike in Bangalore and it is a pleasant city to ride a bike with a moderate weather. Rest of the time, I take my scooter that makes my travel around the city far more easy [while riding past all those poor, stuck cars] and do part of my tasks while stuck in intersections. I can finish reading my entire Quora feed while at Silk Board.