Touting the Janmarg BRT systems success, ITDP India released a video promoting the many benefits of sustainable transportation in Ahmedabad, India. Janmarg, which opened in 2009, paved the way for further sustainable transportation projects in India, and has become a model for BRT in the region. Projects such as the Indore BRT and the Rajkot BRTS, which recently reached 14,000 riders a day, were based on the Janmarg BRT. Ahmedabad was the 2010 winner of the Sustainable Transport Award, in large part due to Janmarg’s success in transforming the city’s transit landscape. The video explains how BRT cuts through the traditional problems of transportation with its accessible, efficient, and environmentally-friendly design.
With a population of over 4.7 million and with a rapidly growing economy, the city of Chennai faces the challenge of providing efficient, safe, and reliable transport solutions to its citizens without compromising on quality of life. The onus of this responsibility currently falls on a number of agencies in the city and brings with it a slew of issues in planning, coordination, and accountability. The Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) was formed in November 2010 with the aim to address these issues—to serve as a single nodal agency that directs planning, operations, and monitoring of various transport modes in the metropolitan area of Chennai. One of CUMTA’s key responsibilities is the preparation of a Comprehensive Transport Plan that looks at the planning and development of public transport options and their implementation through various agencies.
To facilitate this process, CMDA, in collaboration with the Institute of Transport and Development Policy, organized a workshop from 22 to 24 January 2013 that brought together various government stakeholders along with experts and academicians to discuss the CUMTA’s vision and to develop viable strategies and actions to carry the vision forward.
Participants formed groups to deliberate on four primary topic areas: 1) CUMTA as an agent of change for the Chennai Metropolitan Area: defining CUMTA’s role as a planning, monitoring, and coordinating body to facilitate interagency coordination. 2) Developing an integrated, high quality bus and BRT network for the entire city: expanding the bus fleet, implementing BRT, introducing an integrated fare collection systems across modes, and providing customer information. 3) Improving streets and the public realm: developing pedestrian friendly street design standards and planning guidelines, identifying greenway networks, and improving intermodal links. 4) Management of road space and travel demand: implementing a robust on-street parking management system, facilitating compact development around public transport stations, and implementing dynamic road pricing solutions.
At the workshop, Mr. Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London, described the city of London’s experience in bringing multiple public transport providers under a single umbrella, starting in 2000. He showed how London has been able to achieve a reduction in the use of private cars over the past decade through the steady expansion of sustainable transport options, including expanded bus service and a network of high quality cycle tracks. “You need a transport system that is adequate to meet the demands that the city will put on it,” pointed out Mr. Plowden. “That means focusing on mass transit.”
Workshop attendees included representatives from CMDA, the Corporation of Chennai, Chennai Metro Rail Limited, Highways Department, Transport Department, TNRDC, Metropolitan Transport Corporation, consultants, NGO Chennai City Connect, faculty from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, and representatives from unified metropolitan transport authorities in Bangalore and Delhi, among others.
To achieve the vision of transforming Chennai into a world-class city, a general consensus was reached on the need to assess existing resources, identify short-term goals, and focus on early wins to build CUMTA’s reputation. Participants stressed the role of data collection in enabling evidence-based planning and identified a need for a financial audit of existing spending patterns. “Data collection is critical,” explained Mr. K. Phanindra Reddy, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Tamil Nadu. “Unless we know the scenario we are starting with, and the lacunae that we need to address, we will be groping in the dark.”
A key initiative to emerge in the workshop’s action plan is the creation of a common information portal for all public transport modes in Chennai. Geographically focused, time-bound pilot projects on pedestrianization, parking, street design, and multi-modal integration were also identified. ITDP has begun compiling the outcomes of the workshop into a strategic plan to be adopted by CUMTA. “The stakeholders have come out with each and every suggestion,” said Mr. Reddy. “That is a critical element for success of CUMTA. It’s time that we turn our plans into assets on the street.”
Pimpri Chinchwad is a city of 1.7 million in the state of Maharashtra, India. On January 5, ITDP conducted a full-day workshop on the BRT Standard, which was attended by over 25 officials from the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), public transport operator Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML), and consultants Creations Pvt Ltd, S. N. Bhobe, and C. V. Kand, who are preparing detailed designs for new bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors.
Pimpri Chinchwad’s BRT network includes four corridors and spans a total length of 40 km. The goal of the workshop was to inform the BRT planning process by identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement in the current plans for new corridors. Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi of PCMC opened the session, followed by presentations by ITDP staff on the BRT Standard and salient system features of the Janmarg BRT system in Ahmedabad. Mr Ramkrishna from UMTC, who has been appointed as a project management consultant for the region’s BRT, presented the details of the plan and design. As a warm-up, attendees formed groups and rated the Ahmedabad system using the BRT Standard. In the afternoon, the groups rated the planned BRT lines in their own region. Groups then presented their scores to each other and engaged in lively debate about various opportunities and possible pitfalls of BRT planning and implementation. “We are now aware that what major steps to be taken to upgrade and enhance BRT service in this region,” said Rajan Patil, Joint City Engineer for PCMC.
Workshop participants identified several areas of improvement for the Pimpri Chinchwad BRT corridors, including intersection design, branding and communications, and the provision of adequate pedestrian facilities to enable passengers to reach the future BRT stations. “The workshop conducted by ITDP gave us insight about BRTS element to be incorporated in the design and planning of BRTS for PCMC,” said B. K. Gaikwad, Traffic Engineer, PCMC. “It provided ideas to our engineers, consultants, planners, and operators through discussions in interactive sessions on each of the aspects of the BRTS. Also the importance of pedestrian safety while accessing BRTS has been deliberated during this workshop. Overall, it was very helpful to PCMC.” ITDP will compile recommendations from the groups and follow up with PCMC to facilitate implementation.
The BRT Standard is available for download at www.brtstandard.org.
On a typical day, old Mumbai Pune Highway connects the Indian cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad with long snarls of traffic jams. For one day, however, the road was free from traffic chaos and had a steady flow during morning peak hour on Pune Bus Day, an initiative to promote and popularize public transport in the city. Various government offices and NGOs worked together to encourage commuters to leave cars at home and try the bus for a day, with the intention of demonstrating how easy it can be to take the bus. There was a 21 percent drop in the number of passengers travelling daily by private vehicles, with a massive jump of 116 per cent in number of people travelling by bus. For the event, the city added many more buses, increasing frequency from 60 buses per hour to 90 per hour, and as there were fewer cars on the road, the buses were able to move even more quickly.
Before and during Pune Bus Day, ITDP surveyed the existing traffic condition on major roads at peak traffic hours at ten different locations to compare the effects of increased bus use and decreased car use. The surveys captured the use of private vehicles (two wheelers and cars), auto rickshaws, and both official and informal buses, which include private buses and cycles. The operations for Bus Day were designed to accommodate twice the total daily trips by public transport, which, according to the surveys, decreased traffic and increased bus speeds.
The success of Pune Bus Day suggests that the most economical and effective traffic congestion solutions involves better public transport facilities, especially express bus services like BRT, supported with traffic management and re-branding of public transport system. The initial findings from Pune Bus Day indicate that private vehicle use came down drastically on city roads improving mobility for all modes of transport. It was hassle-free movement for most of the daily commuters.The results are encouraging do show people faith in a public transport system, if adequate and prioritized facilities are provided to public transport users.
ITDP India team of Pranjali Deshpande Agashe & Pratik Dave supervised and analysed the surveys. The team got support from first year students of Padmabhushan Dr. Vasantdada Patil College of Architecture, studio team of Prasanna Desai Architects and PMPML and volunteers from Art of Living foundation conducted the survey.
Pune, India: ITDP India is providing technical support for ‘Pune Bus Day (PBD)’, a first of its kind event to promote & popularise public transport facilities in Pune city. PBD is a social media initiative of Sakal group, a media conglomerate, to encourage the use of public transport among all classes of people on November 1, 2012.
In the run up to the event, ITDP India team has analysed the existing public transport trips, comprehensive mobility plan, and identified major transport corridors in Pune for making ‘Pune Bus Day’ bus operational plan – the event to be held on Thursday. ITDP has been actively working with various public agencies to promote the use of public transport in Pune for the past three years. Ms Shreya Gadepalli, Regional director, ITDP India, said, “The Pune Bus Day is a wonderful initiative that has brought together many stakeholders to showcase importance of bus based public transport in improving mobility for all.”
ITDP India team will be conducting several technical surveys to gauge the impact of bus day, when a good number of daily commuters will be using public buses instead of private vehicles, and a day prior to the event. Pune is IT and educational hub located in Western part of India and has grown exponentially in economic and geographical terms. Once known as, city of cyclists, now the city is bursting at seams with increasing number of private vehicles resulting in traffic congestion, deterioration in quality of air, high number of traffic accidents and marginalization of cyclists & pedestrians on roads. According to Pune RTO, there were 23.13 lakh vehicles registered in Pune till October 2012.
Pranjali Deshpande Agashe, senior associate with ITDP India, part of PBD team, said, “ The surveys are aimed to understand the impact of Pune Bus Day when a good number of private vehicle users will be leaving their vehicles at home and will be using public mode of transport, mostly PMPML buses, to commute. Analysis will be useful the for Pune region towards long term investments for sustainable transportation options,”
“ For Pune Bus Day, the city bus services have been planned well in advance, with additional public transport buses with higher frequency and express bus services in the main traffic corridors run by PMPML,” added she volunteers from Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Co-operative Management, Art of Living foundation, Padmabhushan Dr. Vasantdada Patil College of Architecture and Indira Management Institute will be supporting ITDP team for conducting the bus occupancy, on and off board, willingness and user satisfaction survey on the bus day.
According to Sakal Media Group,‘Pune Bus Day’ initiative is an attempt to demonstrate how the use of optimum number of buses with high frequency can actually reduce the traffic congestion in the city and to influence decision makers to improve public transport facilities in the city. The event has full support from all the quarters including different political parties, local NGOs, institutions, corporate houses, among others.