The cities of Tamil Nadu are witnessing rapid motorisation, along with increased congestion and pollution. Public transport service is often unreliable, infrequent, and inadequate to meet demand, resulting peak-hour overcrowding and a shift toward informal paratransit services. Walking and cycling are critical modes for many urban residents in Tamil Nadu, providing essential low-cost mobility. However, dedicated pedestrian and cycle facilities are almost non-existent in most cities.
To address these mobility challenges, the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration (CMA) launched Sustainable Cities through Transport, a planning process to develop municipal transport budgets for five of the largest city corporations in Tamil Nadu after Chennai including Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruppur, and Salem.
The process was organised in partnership with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and with support from ICLEI–SA South Asia, adequately facilitated by inputs from municipal teams in the cities involved. The process sought to identify ways to provide safe, affordable, quick, comfortable, and reliable access for the growing number of city residents. In harmony with the 2006 National Urban Transport Policy, the process seeks out to achieve a more equitable allocation of road space by incorporating a focus on sustainable transport in the planning and budgeting stages.