Asia Noise News


By: Aparna Anil;

In the first part of our campaign, we look at honking, the bane of eardrums across city

The incessant blare of horns is a background score that almost every Bengalurean has come to live with. But what if we were to tell you that 93.7 per cent of people who use their horns do so for no reason whatsoever: that’s what a recent study discovered. In fact, the study claims that Bengaluru is India’s second noisiest city when it comes to honking.

“From the results of the three-day survey conducted as part of a ‘Culture of the City’ study, looks like people of Bengaluru imagine there is a Right to Honk,” says Harish Bijoor, who heads the consulting firm that performed the study for a multinational company. “Bengaluru, today, stands as the second noisiest city in India,” he says, adding that he could not divulge details as to which city topped the list due to the nature of the study.

If you go by that, things have got worse because a few months ago, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) labelled Bengaluru India’s sixth noisiest city.

The high decibel level in Bengaluru is mostly an offshoot of frustration. The study finds: “Forty-two per cent of people honk because the traffic is moving slowly. Another 41 per cent says they honk because others drive badly, “says Bijoor. He adds that the survey’s responses showed that people often used honking like a swear word.

The responses included: “If I don’t honk, somebody else will”, “It is my way of telling them they are wrong”, “It is a way of me using bad language”, etc. “Honks categorised as necessary are those that can avoid an accident or save a life,” says Bijoor elaborating on the categorizations. Those are cases where people honk to caution somebody of their vehicle’s presence when it’s absolutely necessary, or when they honk to attract the attention of an animal crossing the road, which cannot be alerted otherwise.

Another interesting side the study focused on the honking habits of cab drivers – both those who work for cab aggregators and individual drivers. The results showed that drivers who work cab aggregators always tend to honk more than others.

The study also found that women drivers honk less than their male counterparts. “If we take the rate of honking on a scale of 10, then women would be 2, whereas men would be around 8.6,” says Bijoor.

The qualitative study was conducted by deploying 80 people at 80 different junctions in the city .They were deputed for collecting both direct responses from drivers and making observational recordings. Conducted on a sample of 48,000 people, the study has come up with a representative map of the honking intensity at these junctions.

“As this survey was conducted for a global organization, we cannot reveal the exact findings as to which part of the city is the noisiest,” says Bijoor.
The response to the study shows that a majority of Bengalureans see honking as a part of life. They are not particularly annoyed by it and neither do they think of proactive measures to bring down the decibel levels.

The study focusing on the noise levels in cities is also an attempt to look at the decibel levels in third world countries. “Usually, the noise levels in third world countries tend to be higher,” says Bijoor.