India is poised for rapid economic growth. Such future growth will largely come from the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy, i.e., the industrial and service sectors. Since economic activities in these sectors primarily take place in urban areas, the state of our towns and cities is crucial to India’s future growth.
- Accessing jobs, education, recreation and similar activities is becoming increasingly time consuming. Billions of man hours are lost with people “stuck in traffic”. The primary reason for this has been the explosive growth in the number of motor vehicles, coupled with limitations on the amount of road space that can be provided. For example, on an average, while the population of India’s six major metropolises increased by about 1.9 times during 1981 to 2001, the number of motor vehicles went up by over 7.75 times during the same period.
- The cost of travel, especially for the poor, has increased considerably. This is largely because the use of cheaper non-motorised modes like cycling and walking has become extremely risky, since these modes have to share the same right of way with motorized modes. Further, with population growth, cities have tended to sprawl and increased travel distances have made non-motorized modes impossible to use. This has made access to livelihoods, particularly for the poor, far more difficult.
- Travel in the city has become more risky with accident rates having gone up from 1.6 lakh in 1981 to over 3.9 lakh in 2001. The number of persons killed in road accidents has also gone up from 28,400 to over 80,000 during the same period. This again has tended to impact the poor more severely as many of those killed or injured tend to be cyclists, pedestrians or pavement dwellers.
- Increased use of personal vehicles has led to increased air pollution.
- To recognize that people occupy center-stage in our cities and all plans would be for their common benefit and well being
- To make our cities the most livable in the world and enable them to become the “engines of economic growth” that power India’s development in the 21st century
- To allow our cities to evolve into an urban form that is best suited for the unique geography of their locations and is best placed to support the main social and economic activities that take place in the city.
- Incorporating urban transportation as an important parameter at the urban planning stage rather than being a consequential requirement
- Encouraging integrated land use and transport planning in all cities so that travel distances are minimized and access to livelihoods, education, and other social needs, especially for the marginal segments of the urban population is improved
- Improving access of business to markets and the various factors of production
- Bringing about a more equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles, as its main focus
- Encourage greater use of public transport and non- motorized modes by offering Central financial assistance for this purpose
- Enabling the establishment of quality focused multi-modal public transport systems that are well integrated, providing seamless travel across modes
- Establishing effective regulatory and enforcement mechanisms that allow a level playing field for all operators of transport services and enhanced safety for the transport system users
- Establishing institutional mechanisms for enhanced coordination in the planning and management of transport systems
- Introducing Intelligent Transport Systems for traffic management
- Addressing concerns of road safety and trauma response
- Reducing pollution levels through changes in traveling practices, better enforcement, stricter norms, technological improvements, etc.
- Building capacity (institutional and manpower) to plan for sustainable urban transport and establishing knowledge management system that would service the needs of all urban transport professionals, such as planners, researchers, teachers, students, etc
- Promoting the use of cleaner technologies
- Raising finances, through innovative mechanisms that tap land as a resource, for investments in urban transport infrastructure
- Associating the private sector in activities where their strengths can be beneficially tapped
- Taking up pilot projects that demonstrate the potential of possible best practices in sustainable urban transport
- Several key agencies that would play an important role in urban transport planning work under the Central government, with no accountability to the State government
- Several Acts and Rules, which have important implications in dealing with urban transport issues, are administered by the Central Government
- A need exists to guide State level action plans within an overall framework.
- The launching of the NURM has provided a timely platform for providing significant financial support from the Central Government for investments in urban transport infrastructure. As such, this offers an opportunity for a meaningful national policy that would guide Central financial assistance towards improving urban mobility.
- A need exists to build capacity for urban transport planning as also develop it as a professional practice.
- A need exists to take up coordinated capacity building, research and information dissemination to raise the overall level of awareness and skills.
Priority to the use of public transport
- Provide 50% of the cost of preparing comprehensive city transport plans and detailed project reports
- Offer equity participation and/or viability gap funding to the extent of 20% of the capital cost of public transport systems
- Offer 50% of the cost of project development whenever such projects are sought to be taken up through public-private partnerships, so that a sound basis for attracting private partners can be established. The remaining cost of such project development would have to come from the city development authority/State government and a project developer.
Quality and pricing of Public Transport
- Extent of resources mobilized by the State government through exploitation of its land resources
- Extent of resources likely from private participation
- Institutional mechanisms set up by the State government to ensure a well coordinated public transport system
- Willingness to divert funds from projects that add to road capacity towards public transit systems
- Initiatives taken to promote non-motorized transport and improve safe access to public transport.
- Willingness to introduce premium public transport systems that are priced high but offer better quality with a view to limit the subsidy requirements in normal services.
- Willingness to involve the private sector in operations under the overall supervision and coordination of a public agency
- Willingness to price public transport systems in such a manner as to be financially sustainable at the operating stage or depend only marginally on public budgets
28. First of all, the safety concerns of cyclists and pedestrians have to be addressed by encouraging the construction of segregated rights of way for bicycles and pedestrians. Apart from improving safety, the segregation of vehicles moving at different speeds would help improve traffic flow, increase the average speed of traffic and reduce emissions resulting from sub-optimal speeds. Such segregated paths would be useful not only along arterials, to enable full trips using NMT but also as a means of improving access to major public transport stations. Such access paths, coupled with safe bicycle parking places, would contribute towards increasing the use of public transport. Creative facilities like shade giving landscaping, provision of drinking water and resting stations along bicycle corridors would also be encouraged as they can mitigate, to a large extent, adverse weather conditions. The use of the central verge along many roads, along with innovatively designed road crossings, seems to offer promise for being developed as cycle tracks.
42. The virtual lack of a database on urban transport statistics has severely constrained the ability to formulate sound urban transport plans and reliably assess the impact of the different initiatives that have been taken. The national level institute would build up a database for use in planning, research, training, etc in the field of urban transport.
46. As part of the exercise of skill development, academic programs in urban transport, especially at the post-graduate level, would be strengthened so that a nucleus of qualified urban transport professionals becomes available in the country. Suitable collaborations, with leading institutes abroad, would be established to offer expertise to such programs in the initial years. An annual urban transport conference would also be institutionalized, to bring together the urban transport professionals in the country to share their experiences. International experts would be invited to such a conference so that Indian professionals are able to exchange information and learn from developments and experiences abroad. A well rated urban transport journal would also be started.
56. In order to demonstrate the potential benefits from the policy measures suggested herein, the Central Government would take up pilot projects in a sample set of cities drawn from different regions and different city types so that tested models of best practices can be established for replication in other cities.
|Technology||Advantages||Disadvantages||Some cities where operating
|Heavy rail systems – underground, elevate d or at grade||Very high carrying capacity
Very low pollution in operations
Needs very little urban space
|Very high capital costs
High per unit operating costs if capacity utilization is low
Long gestation period
Needs extensive feeder network or very dense captive area
Complex interconnectivity with feeder system Relatively complex
highly specialized manpower for O&M
|Singapore, Tokyo, Hongkong and several cities in Europe and
|Very high density corridors, where road space is very
Well suited for densely populated cities that have low sprawl and few spinal, long haul corridors
At grade systems are very good for sub- urban systems and the fringe areas of a city where space is
more easily available
||Capital costs are less than for heavy rail systems
Per unit operating costs are less than for heavy rail systems
Low pollution levels
Needs less urban space than bus based systems
Needs limited urban space if elevated or u n d e r g r o u n d (however capital costs
|Capital costs higher than for bus systems
Per unit operating costs higher than for bus systems if capacity utilization is low
Needs substantial urban space if at grade
Carrying capacity is lower than for heavy rail systems though comparable to high capacity bus systems
Needs extensive feeder network or dense captive area
Complex interconnectivity with feeder system
Relatively complex technology requiring
specialized skills for O&M
|Several cities in North America
|Medium density corridors where space availability is
adequate for supporting elevated structures or at grade
Medium density cities