In Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, 96% of residents live within a 500m walkable distance of a bus network. But, as per Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) schedules, one-third of these residents don’t have access to buses which are available frequently – every five minutes. Therefore, a lowly 12% of the trips made in the region are via bus transit.
Though a five-minute wait seems ideal, this figure is an aggregation of areas with high bus availability and low ridership and of localities with low bus availability and high ridership.
This begs the question, what good are extensive transit systems which can’t ensure accessibility and high frequency. These are some of the key arguments the People near Transit (PNT) report, prepared by the ITDP India Programme, raises with regard to access to public transit and surging personal motor vehicle dependency in the Pune Metropolitan Region.
From time immemorial, cities have been built upon transit. Be it citadels built around trading routes to present-day cities with interwoven networks connecting residents to their place of work, education, leisure, etc. Hence, transit and accessibility to these systems remain central to the development of societies.
Indian cities have been growing at a tremendous scale. This growth poses many urban transportation challenges and though tottering, public transit has stood its ground as an indispensable public utility. But as the automobile industry’s clout grows, more motor vehicles, of various kinds, offer “freedom” at the cost of congested roads and choked cities.
Whereas, accessible, affordable, and frequent public transit offers a guarantee for mobility, which also furthers the economic and social mobilisation of citizens.
Basically, the PNT analysis measures how well a city provides transit access to its residents. The USP of the analysis is that it works on secondary sources to formulate the assessment. Quite handy for Indian cities, as most lack primary data on transport operations and functions.
To start off, PNT requires basic data like ward boundaries and their population to establish demand. Next, details regarding the routes, schedule, and station placements of various modes — such as bus and rail — help ascertain accessibility and frequency of these modes. These data points, in a digitised GIS format, find accessibility levels of public transit and identify gaps in the system.
In the last two decades, the Pune urban agglomeration, including Pimpri-Chinchwad, has witnessed a steep economic and population growth. The IT (information technology) boom orchestrated a massive migration to Pune city. This advent doubled its population, but it pales in comparison to the city’s vehicle population — which grew by 700% in the period.
Adding to the congestion is the issue of urban sprawl. A symptom of urbanisation, urban sprawl is when cities grow unplanned towards their peripheries. It is estimated to cost Indian cities close to $1.8 trillion per year by 2050. Presently in Pune, this outward sprawl forces 48% of its trips to be longer than 5km. And in situations where public transit isn’t readily accessible or frequent, many residents — of areas like Shivane, Pirangut, Wagholi, etc., — are forced to use two-wheelers to commute.
Many high-density areas like Dhanori, Kalyani Nagar, Warje-bypass, Pradhikaran, Talwade, etc., fall under the category of transit deserts. These are sections which do not have access to frequent transit — a public transit available every five minute — within a 500 m walking distance. Here’s where the “ideal five-minute wait-time for a bus” takes a hit, as accessibility (or lack thereof) to public transit trumps the former.
At the onset of this piece, we spoke about how mobility is key for the economic and social mobility of citizens. Now, interlay the situation of the lack of accessibility with the need of the people residing in transit deserts. There are breadwinners who struggle for hours in transit to reach work and back; caregivers whose daily regimes pivot around that one over-crowded bus and missing which throws the day into a chaotic convulsion of catching up; and then children whose means to education literally hangs on the footboards of these overcrowded buses.
In Pune region, work trips account for half of the total trips. As per the PNT report, only 62% of employment centers have access to frequent public transit. Key employment areas near Mundhwa and Bhekrai Nagar are transit deserts. While 40% of school-children don’t have access to frequent transit services to their schools.
Transit interventions best work when they take into account the needs of every citizen. Despite being capital-intensive, the much-anticipated Metro Rail project, running through the twin cities, will be accessible to only 10% of people within a 500m walking distance. Even with the Rainbow BRT (existing and upcoming), rapid transit is accessible to only 25% of people.
Now, with 23% of low-income sections not having access to frequent transit, investing in rapid transit projects with high-cost and low returns (or ridership) is a self-inflicted “catch-22”. Neither is the Metro accessible nor would it be affordable to a vast majority of the public. As for the BRT, the lack of fleet expansion and network limitations bottle up the system’s potential.
The PNT analysis has some concrete and well-versed answers to the twin cities’ dilemma of improving public transit that works to serve all. These are:
- In sections with low access to public transit, specific corridors can be introduced to intersect high-density areas and high-frequency corridors. Subsequently, PMPML needs to rationalise routes to ensure accessibility to frequent buses is uniform across the board.
- Running smaller feeder services, in transit-deprived sections, ensure residents have access to the PMPML bus network. By extension, it also helps curtail the dependence on personal motor vehicles.
- BRT and PMPML high-frequency routes could potentially facilitate multi-modal integration by connecting to the Metro — hence improving the latters’ ridership. In fact, fare integration would ensure footfall as these transfers would be affordable.
- Densification under transit-oriented development (TOD) will help more residents get access to existing corridors in the future.
- Low density areas in TOD zone need local area plans (LAPs) to ‘infill’ them with densities. Similarly, high density areas in TOD zones need LAPs to improve street network and public spaces.
- By adopting PNT as a tool in preparing and revising the development plan and identifying mass transit corridors, cities can ensure better integration of land use with transport needs for the future.
The PNT report provides a thorough glimpse into the current capacities of public transit operations in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. At the same time, the analysis can pave the way for interventions that can maximise the density of city layouts, accessibility, and frequency of public transit; while minimising urban sprawl, transit deserts. To conclude, PNT is an instrument for change that holds the potential to shape public transit that serves maximum and pollutes minimum.
Written by Rohit James
Edited by Kashmira Dubash
If life is a theatre, then commuting on Indian urban roads is a Greek tragedy that unfolds daily. Jostling for space, dashing to beat a signal or tip-toeing around oncoming traffic, all these are daily reminders of how desperately the Indian transport system needs an overhaul. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, a commuter in Mumbai spends 135% more time in road travel than any other Asian city.
Yet, our current vehicle-centric transportation planning only adds more vehicles on roads. And beating congestion by adding more roads is a battle that no city has won. It isn’t just the rapid increase in congestion, traffic snarls or travel time, but also the subsequent rise of pollution and road accidents that hamper quality of life in our cities.
“Every rupee spent by a city on public transport boosts its economy by four rupees!” said Mr Khatua, Director of Mumbai Technical Support Unit, at a workshop on the Maharashtra State Urban Transport Policy. Succinctly put, the senior officer magnifies the need of the hour: sustainable public transport systems.
Closely looking at Maharashtra’s urban population, it is expected to increase by a whopping 30% in the next decade and by another 50% in the years to follow. Going by the present-day scenario of urban commute in the state, the future seems too hazy. To counter these issues, the Urban Development Department of the state has drafted and published the Maharashtra Urban Mobility Policy.
With sustainability at its core, the policy looks to develop transport systems in accordance. So efforts will be concentrated on urban transit systems which reduces burden on resources and most importantly, offers an equal space to every commuter. Hence, facilitating walking, cycling and usage of public transport.
How the policy came about
In 2006, the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) was laid out as a guidance for transportation planning in Indian cities. It prioritized the movement of people and not vehicles in cities, emphasizing on adequate road space for sustainable transport modes, such as walking, cycling and public transport. However, the NUTP mostly existed as a term of reference on papers.
You may ask, so why bring it up now? Well, Maharashtra is taking strides to plug this gap, making it the first state to define its own transportation policy. This further ensures that its urban transportation projects are consistent with NUTP. In June 2017, the Urban Development Department released a draft of the policy. To ensure transparency and insight on feasibility the process was participatory, taking into consideration comments and suggestions of citizens and officials from various cities.
Consultation with Pune Municipal Corporation
Consultation with Nashik Municipal Corporation
In all of this the ITDP India Programme provided technical guidance to the Urban Development Department, and the department is now in the last stages of finalizing the draft.
What it offers
Applicable to all urban areas of the state, the policy envisions transport modes which are safe, reliable, sustainable and accessible for citizen from all walks of life. Additionally, focusing on women’s safety.
The key objectives that the policy will enforce upon cities are:
· Safety and convenience offered to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
· Reducing usage of personal vehicles
· Our transportation infrastructure must be is universally accessible
· Road fatalities should be drastically reduced
· Ambient air quality should meet or exceed Central Pollution Control Board norms
All this is easier said than done, of course. Hence, the policy offers tangible metrics for infrastructure implementation, followed up with support and training provided by the state government.
The policy also helps to detangle the bureaucratic red-tape and ensures a coherent approach is in store. Cities with a population of 10 lakh or more are expected to establish a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and an Urban Transport Fund to manage financial resources for all transportation projects. This will ensure that each agency works in coordination and follows an identical vision.
In conclusion, the policy offers a glimmer of hope; and we say glimmer because there are still many a miles to go and stretches to be reclaimed for equal distribution. But this clearly is a step in the right direction which will impact and influence other states to follow suit. In essence, Maharashtra has shown its wherewithal to get with the times and be the trailblazer that leads by example.
Over the past decade, cities across India have dared to dream of reimagining bus transit, most famously known as the Bus-Rapid-Transit, or the BRT. The concept of having buses ply in the centre of the road, on dedicated bus-only lanes, has gradually mulled into our urban transport systems with a tenacious aim of mobilizing people rather than cars.
India’s first high-quality bus-rapid-transit system was inaugurated in 2009 in Ahmedabad — the Janmarg bus-rapid-transit. Janmarg set a national benchmark and inspired systems across India, including the Rainbow bus-rapid-transit in the twin cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad that was launched in 2015.
The Rainbow bus-rapid-transit offers convenient commute, as efficient as a metro or a train without the cost of acquiring land, laying tracks, building large scale stations, and the pedestrian foot-over-bridge to get to them. The ITDP India Programme assisted Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, and Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited create physical designs and operational plans for the system.
Today, the Rainbow operates along a 43 km network of bus-only lanes, with 58 stations along four corridors. However, this was Pune’s second attempt at perfecting a system that would help address the pressing issue of transport needs for the influx of population. Back in 2006, Pune piloted a 13 km bus-rapid-transit corridor but failed to meet BRT Standards.
A good bus-rapid-transit system requires dedicated bus-only-lanes, high quality bus fleet at regular frequency, a matching height of the station and bus fleet for easy step-less passenger boarding, off-board fare collection, and adequate passenger information for seamless travel. Unfortunately, the pilot bus-rapid-transit was short of meeting these basic standards.
The initial set back was not detrimental to the city regaining momentum to construct a successful bus-rapid-transit. Learning from this experience, and from the systems later commissioned in India and around the world, leaders were determined to get Rainbow right.
The Rainbow bus-rapid-transit was faced with a challenge of retrofitting a high-quality system on an existing bus network. The ITDP India programme assisted with route rationalization to deliver frequent service and ensure efficiency of the system’s fleet.
Soon after it’s launch, Rainbow was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Mobility’ at the Volvo Sustainable Mobility Awards 2015. The award was attributed to it’s efficiency of mobilizing thousands of commuters, and travel time savings. Dedicated bus lanes ensured that commuters reach their destinations 10 to 15 minutes earlier than usual.
Rainbow bus-rapid-transit started off well but has failed to achieve its full potential. Ridership has only increased by 12-17 percent over the three years while the number of personal motor vehicles on the road has been growing unabated due to infrequency of buses. Considered a first for any urban area in India, Pune’s total number of vehicles has surpassed the human population!
Lack of cleanliness of stations areas attributed to the public’s demeaning perception of the system. Walking and cycling access to bus-rapid-transit stations is the dire need of the hour but yet to be developed along most corridors.
In an era where financial resources are sparse but population growth is inevitable, large-scale public transport systems are difficult to conceive. An expansion of the the Rainbow system is being planned for an additional 45 km network. This is because the twin cities strongly believe that the Rainbow can provide a solid backbone to the urban transit system.
A major limitation to the bus-rapid-transit system is also the stigma that comes with being a ‘bus’. This can be addressed through better system design, well-maintained stations, and most importantly bus-only lanes to make the users feel like it worth leaving the car back at home.
Finally, for the success of any bus-rapid-transit system it is essential to periodically assess the infrastructure and operations of each corridor, and set benchmarks to ensures its longevity. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad can aim for a ‘Rainbow’ future, learn from its shortfalls, and get back on the wheel to move its citizens.
“Congratulations to Pune on taking this important step! If the going gets tough, always remember WHY the streets need parking management. The fees, the enforcement and the well-designed parking spaces are needed to make sure that parking happens in an orderly way, only in the right places and that it is almost never too full (so newcomers can find a space to park).” Dr. Paul Barter, Urban transport researcher, policy advisor and trainer.
The renowned parking policy expert’s words ring true: making streets inclusive and people-friendly is one of the biggest challenges cities face today, and a key part of the puzzle lies in a system we mistakenly take for granted: parking. In a laudable move, Pune Metropolitan Corporation (also known as PMC) has approved a public parking policy that aims to manage on-street parking through an efficient paid parking system. Ultimately, it will shift people from private vehicles toward sustainable modes such as walking, cycling and using public transport.
PMC heralds a new era of travel demand management by regulating on-street parking. ITDP provided technical expertise to draft the Policy. The Policy introduces an efficient paid parking system, an intelligent transportation system that facilitates payment, and the creation of a management cell that oversees implementation. The outcome – a demand-based parking system that smoothens traffic movement – is avant-garde in India.
DP Road, Aundh is an example of street design that includes clear parking spots
It’s widely known that private vehicles are voracious consumers of space because they require a parking spot at each leg of a journey- at home, at the market, and at the office. Streets are crowded with parked vehicles that block traffic and turn walkways into obstacle courses for pedestrians. A parking policy is needed to ensure that the frustration and hassle of parking is addressed sustainably and efficiently.
The policy proposes to regulate on-street parking by clearly demarcating legal and restricted parking spaces, in accordance to Pune’s Urban Street Design Guidelines. The street design guide, which was adopted by the city in 2016, sets standards for designing street elements and provides a collection of street design templates catering to the needs of all road users.
The policy proposes clearly demarcating legal and restricted parking spaces
According to the policy, parking rates will be determined across the city for both on-street and off-street parking, depending on location, time and type of vehicles. Pune’s parking policy has determined parking fees based on vehicle dimensions, parking demand at particular locations, time (peak or off-peak hours), and occupancy to enable a fair fee structure. Revenue from parking fees can help fund further improvement in public transport and parking management.
The Policy aims to be proactive in ensuring that parking information is available to commuters through various means (such as real time digital displays, smartphone apps etc.) to reduce redundant trips for hunting parking spaces. In a move to promote cycling as an affordable and sustainable mode of transport, the policy exempts bicycle parking from any charge. Exemptions are also extended to daytime ambulances, special-aid vehicles and paratransit parked in designated lots.
Once implemented, the policy promises efficiency to travel demand management in the city. As a significant step towards holistic and sustainable urban transport planning, parking management can help Pune become a ‘world-class’ city!
“Smart cities are equivalent to glamorous buildings where policies and guidelines form a strong foundation”, Mr. Kunal Kumar, IAS, Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation. Over the years, our streets have been reduced to battlefields as people try to grapple with traffic congestion, lack of footpaths, and air pollution. One city that has taken bold, applaudable measures to rectify this chaos is Pune. Pune has been and continues to be an inspiration for many Indian cities that strive to reclaim streets for its people.
To explore Pune’s accomplishments, ITDP organised and facilitated a study tour for Tamil Nadu city officials – Corporation Commissioners of Erode, Madurai, Salem, Tiruppur, and Vellore, accompanied by engineers from the office of the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration. The study tour was conducted in collaboration with Pune Smart City Development Corporation Ltd. (also known as PSCDCL) and Pune Municipal Corporation, in February. The one-day programme aimed to sensitise participants on the best practises of designing complete streets – streets with quality footpaths, segregated cycle tracks, safe pedestrian crossing and managed parking.
Delegates interacting with PSCDCL team at the Smart City Operations Centre
The delegates visited the Smart City Operations Centre that seamlessly integrates management and monitoring of the smart city operations. To the extent, “this system also oversees the energy consumed by streetlights in the city and alerts us when any light stops working”, explained Mr. Manojit Bose,Chief Knowledge Officer, PSCDCL. The team from Tamil Nadu marvelled at the Centre’s resourcefulness at data collection and efficiency in maintaining the city’s public infrastructure.
This was followed by a roundtable discussion, facilitated by Mr Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation. Mr Kumar highlighted three guiding principles for a smart city: adopt policies that guide it’s existing and future transportation requirements, leverage multiple sources of funding, and build internal capacity. Pune has launched a two-year programme with Singapore Land Transport Authority to enable 120 engineers from five departments in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to acquire the knowledge and skills required for the projects.
Mr. Kunal Kumar interacts with the Tamil Nadu team and shares his recommendations for the success of the smart city projects.
The discussion was followed by a site visit to Aundh-DP road to observe the seamless execution of Pune’s complete streets. Mr. Vikas Thakar, Pavetech Consultants, gave an insight into the implementation of high quality streets and detailed the design process of DP road. The delegates took the opportunity to experience Pune’s public bicycle sharing (PBS) system first-hand by cycling along the dedicated cycle tracks on DP Road. Pune’s dockless PBS system was proposed under the city’s Bicycle Plan which piloted 275 bicycles of the proposed total of 13,100 docked bicycles. The system received a great response from the delegates.
Tamil Nadu delegates testing Pune’s dockless PBS system
The delegates also visited a transformed public amenity space at Baner. Pune’s vision of creating recreational spaces has been revolutionised. Gone are the days when parks were the only public open spaces in the city. Underutilised and derelict parcels of land have been acquired by the Corporation and developed into theme-based amenity spaces. The two pilot projects in Baner are perfect examples of how cities can explore and catalyse the versatility of urban spaces.
Amenity space developed on the theme of ‘Art and Culture’ in Baner
Although smart cities are often synonymous with information and communication technologies, a city has to invest in human and social capital for improving the quality of life and achieving sustainable economic development. That is when it can truly become a smart city. And, after the exposure visit to Pune, it can be safely said that this is what cities in Tamil Nadu are aspiring for!
“I would gladly leave my motorcycle home and cycle at least thrice a week if roads were made safer!”, said Deepti Gokhale, a working woman in Pune. Granting her wish and that of many others in the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) General Body has approved a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan which envisages safe and convenient cycling conditions for existing and future cyclists in the city.
To transform this vision of a cycling haven into reality, the Plan provides several recommendations including the creation of a city-wide cycle track network, a public bicycle sharing system, design guidelines for cycle-friendly infrastructure, bicycle parking facilities and strategy for awareness campaigns. Its vision for integration with public transit prompts Pune’s citizens to use cycling for last-mile connectivity. With the Pune Bicycle Plan, PMC aims to improve the city’s share of cyclists from its current 3% to 25% by 2031.
Not long ago, cycling was a widely popular mode of transit, favored by most school and college students. However, today cycling constitutes a mere 3% of the city’s trips owing to congested, unsafe roads with over 500 motorized two-wheelers and cars being registered every day. In an effort to make Pune a cycle-friendly city again, the Comprehensive Mobility Plan, prepared in 2008, set an ambitious goal that “by 2031 at least half the trips in Pune i.e. 50%, should be by walk or cycle”. To meet this goal, PMC set out to create a Bicycle Plan for the city, with support from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and encouragement from Parisar, a non-profit organization lobbying for sustainable transport.
The Corporation appointed a team of consultants, including iTrans, Prasanna Desai Architects and Centre for Environment Education (CEE), to create the plan. The consultants surveyed over 11,000 people from various backgrounds for their travel patterns, views about cycling, willingness to shift, etc. A Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) was formed to oversee the progress of work, with regular cyclists and concerned citizens as key members. ITDP India Programme was also a part of the BAC and helped in periodically reviewing the Plan. Two rounds of public consultation took place before the drafted Bicycle Plan was submitted to the General Body for approval.
One of the primary objectives of the Pune Bicycle Plan is the creation of a 300 km network of bicycle tracks in the city. The fear of riding on roads with mixed traffic deters people from cycling regularly. Segregated, user-friendly cycle tracks, like the one recently constructed on JM Road, will help put them back on their bicycles.
A key component of the Plan to support the cycle track network in the city is the Urban Cycling Design Guidelines for cycling infrastructure, like the physically segregated cycle tracks in high-speed roads, the visually segregated cycle lanes in medium-speed roads, shared use of cycles and motorised traffic in low-speed roads, and appropriate vegetation. The Plan details the width and material requirements to enable comfortable conditions for cyclists.
The public bicycle sharing (PBS) system proposed under the Plan aims to serve as another mode of transport for commuters and provide efficient last-mile connectivity for public transit users. The Plan suggests 388 stations and 4700 bicycles in the first phase, with a proposed total of 13100 docked bicycles. A dockless PBS system, recently piloted with 275 bicycles in three different areas of the city, has received great response from residents and four vendors dealing with dockless systems have recently signed an MoU with PMC.
Apart from the policy and design changes, the Plan also recommends awareness and outreach programmes to rejuvenate the culture of cycling in the city. As part of these programmes, several discussions have been conducted with multiple stakeholders such as schools and colleges, RTO, Traffic Police, various NGOs, cycle shops and corporate staff (as a part of their CSR initiative).
The year 2018 will see various measures for the implementation of the Cycle Plan, like the setting up of PMC’s Bicycle Department, re-construction and retrofitting of select existing cycle tracks, and the development of a training facility for cycle mechanics. With many such steps in place – and in the pipeline – for the improvement of all sustainable transportation modes, Pune is becoming an incredibly ‘smart’ city indeed!
“The mode share of cycles, elicited from the household survey carried out in 2016 for the Pune Cycle Plan is 3%. This is a much smaller proportion as compared to the modal share of 2012 from Pune Metro DPR study which shows 9% of cycle as a mode share.”- Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan, 2017
 Currently, walking and cycling constitute 32% of the trips made in the city
“I used to take my two-wheeler to travel the 3 kilometers between my house and the railway station. I’m now able to walk the stretch, thanks to the continuous footpath. Best part – I’ve lost 5 kilos and my diabetes!” Mr. Manimaran, a resident of Egmore in Chennai, is thrilled at the tremendous change that a safer and better footpath has brought about in his life.
The year 2017 witnessed many such impactful changes in the field of sustainable transportation all around the country, including cities which ITDP India Programme has been closely working with. Thanking all our supporters, we take a look at the year that passed by.
Pune broke ground on its ambitious Complete Streets networks – a 100km-network with its own financial resources and 45km through support from the National Smart Cities Mission. The first phase of these street design projects on JM Road and DP Road has already been lauded by the country, owing to the vibrancy of these redesigned streets. Pune’s Bicycle Plan, recently approved by the General Body, paves way for the creation of a 300km bicycle-track network in the city.
Having accomplished over 40km of Complete Streets, Chennai initiated the next phase of street design by inviting tenders in late October to redesign 22km of streets. The city tested out the design of 5 key intersections through a tactical urbanism approach – quick, temporary, on-ground interventions. Chennai also conducted another trial run of the proposed pedestrian plaza in Pondy Bazaar, the success of which fetched the project a sanction of of Rs 55 crores (~US $9 million) under the Smart Cities Mission.
Smaller cities have also made remarkable progress this year in their Complete Streets programmes – Nashik appointed nationally-acclaimed urban designers to redesign its proposed street network of 50 kilometers, with 10 kilometers tendered out; and Coimbatore commenced construction of its Model Roads and hosted an interactive exhibition to inform the people of the design of the roads while collecting feedback. Coimbatore also started developing detailed implementation plans for its Greenways and Lake Restoration Project, which includes a 30km network of greenways (exclusive walking and cycling infrastructure) that crisscross the city and connect 8 water bodies.
Becoming one of the pioneering cities in parking management in the country, Ranchi implemented a progressive on-street parking management system on its busiest thoroughfare, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, with a twelve-fold increase in revenue. Inspired by the success of the pilot, the city has proposed to refine and expand the system to cover all key locations. The state of Jharkhand has also proposed to adopt a state-level parking policy.
Chennai recently invited tenders to select an operator for its proposed on-street parking management system covering 12000 equivalent car spaces on Bus Route Roads across the city. Since Pune is also working towards parking management, ITDP, in collaboration with GIZ-SUTP, facilitated and managed a two-day workshop on the topic, with international parking expert, Dr Paul Barter in the city. Participants included municipal officials, traffic police, public officials from other agencies as well as various local stakeholders.
An increase in demand for better public transport has provided the fillip to cities across the country to increase and improve their transit services. Chennai made considerable advancement in its BRT planning, with the interim report for Phase I approved by the state and a series of public consultation programmes organised to explain the significance of BRT to people and get their feedback on the various corridors.
In Pune, around 130 crore rupees was sanctioned to construct 13 new bus terminals to facilitate better integration of bus services with the proposed Metro Rail network. The city also commenced work on expanding the existing 38km Rainbow BRT by an additional 15km. Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) initiated the process of adding 200 feeder buses to its fleet, to improve connectivity between the city and the surrounding towns.
Public bicycle sharing (PBS) is emerging as a popular mode of public transit across the country. Pune piloted a dockless PBS system with 275 bicycles and signed an MoU with 4 vendors dealing with dockless systems. Two other cities are preparing for the installation of a PBS system – Ranchi and Chennai invited operators to submit proposals for setting up 1264 bicycles in 122 stations (Phase 1) and 5000 bicycles in 378 designated parking areas, respectively.
Successful and sustained on-ground changes invariably require the backing of well-framed guidelines, policies and financial plans – 2017 was marked by many of these. Two sets of guidelines – the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning and design guidelines, and the Guidelines on Control and Regulation of Mixed Traffic in Urban Areas – prepared by ITDP, were approved by the apex committee of the Indian Roads Congress. These guidelines will apply for all cities across India and guide them towards low-carbon mobility.
The Government of Jharkhand adopted an inclusive TOD policy that focuses on equitable development of cities in the state, so that a majority of the population lives and works in areas with safe and accessible walking and cycling facilities integrated with reliable and high-quality public transport.
The Government of Maharashtra published a draft of the State Urban Transport Policy, which promotes low-carbon & equitable mobility and urban development by prioritising public transport (PT) and non-motorised transport (NMT). Furthermore, over half of Pune’s total transportation budget of 1100 crore rupees was allocated towards sustainable transport development for the financial year 2017-18. In the South, Coimbatore adopted a Street Design and Management Policy that focuses on creating equitable and sustainable mobility options and expanding their use.
The realisation that sustainable urban development will remain elusive without integrating women’s safety and comfort in urban transport, has generated momentum to include gender as a key factor in transport planning. Bringing this subject to the fore and as a first of its kind, a paper on Women and Transport in Indian Cities was created by ITDP and Safetipin, and released at a national workshop on gender and transit conducted by the two organisations. This paper identifies indicators, service level benchmarks and processes for integrating a gender perspective in urban transport projects, policies and programs along with good practice case studies.
2017 was a year of radical planning indeed, with many grand plans conceived, developed and initiated for sustainable transportation. With all these plans set to materialize in the coming months, 2018 will be a year of implementation and tangible transformation. Looking forward to a great year ahead: Happy New Year!
Written by Mayank Balakrishnan | Edited by Nashwa Naushad
“I don’t have my own vehicle. Does that mean I’m not entitled to space on the street?” In the past, this had been the cry of many in one of Maharashtra’s most prominent upcoming smart cities – Pune. However, over the years, the tides have turned, with the city taking greater efforts to improve walking, cycling and public transportation facilities for its people. Last year’s budget proposal especially, witnessed a paradigm shift in Pune’s transportation expenditure — Rs.397 crores (i.e) over half of the city’s transport budget, was spent on sustainable transport initiatives.
The good news does not end there – this rain of resources will continue to shower in 2017-18, with more funds for achieving the city’s sustrans vision. Rs.534 crores have been assigned for sustainable transportation projects, out of a total transportation budget of Rs. 1040 crores for the city (51%).
Around 52% of a total of Rs. 769 crores spent last year on transportation, was for sustrans projects, as allocated in the 2016-17 budget for Pune. These expenses are materialising today. JM Road, one of the busiest stretches in the city, is being redesigned with wide footpaths and a cycle track on both sides. 21km of BRT construction along with upgradation of the existing Satara Road BRT corridor in the city has been initiated.
Pune is set to make an even bigger leap this year. The sustrans projects to be undertaken with the 2017-18 budget include NMT improvements with Rs.56 crores, in addition to Rs.80 crores allotted for the construction of cycle tracks. The city aims to eventually create over 100km of cycle tracks in a phase-wise manner. The budget also allocates Rs.137 crores to complete on-going BRT redesign and expansion work.
Furthermore, Pune’s Smart City Proposal (SCP) of Rs 1100 crore would be used to create 42 km of cycle tracks, 60 km of redesigned footpaths – 500m of which has been kicked off vibrantly in Aundh on D.P. Road, 8 km of BRT corridor, and for the procurement of E-buses and technology based projects such as command control centers, smart ticketing, smart bus stops, integrated road asset management and developing a traffic app.
Throughout Pune’s sustrans journey so far, ITDP has provided the requested technical assistance to PMC, helping them review street and BRT corridor designs. ITDP will continue to assist the corporation with its future endeavours. Considering the current developments, PMC is sure to continue channelising its resources in the right direction – towards creating a sustainable Pune!
Note: The total transportation budget includes projects by Road department, PMPML and Projects departments
1 Cr = 10 million | 1 US$ = approx. Rs 65
“Let us seize the chance for parking success without excess!”, world-renowned parking management expert Dr.Paul Barter concluded. The occasion was Park It Right – a 2-day parking management workshop conducted by the Pune Municipal Corporation, with ITDP as knowledge partner; in association with GIZ, SUTP and TUMI*. The event was a part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building & Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Participants included PMC engineers, officials from RTO & Traffic Police and representatives from various NGOs.
With the adoption of Pune’s parking policy in the offing and the city’s plans to implement better parking management, the workshop aimed at drawing lessons and inspiration from global best practices. Local government’s responsibilities regarding on-street parking management, regulation of parking supply under real-estate/urban planning powers, choices over city-owned off-street parking, and the relationship between the city government and private sector parking businesses were also discussed.
The workshop kicked off with Mr. Kunal Kumar, the Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation, speaking of the city’s firm course towards sustainable transportation, with great joy and pride. Various initiatives to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport has ensured that Pune has stayed on track. Speaking of dissuading the use of personal motor vehicles, the Commissioner said, “managing parking is an integral and essential part of our sustainable transport planning.”
The tone of the discussion thus set, Dr. Paul Barter took over to explain the basics of parking management. While most cities perceive a supposed lack of parking availability on the streets, there is generally excess supply off-street. The solution is thus not supplying more parking; it is, rather, better parking management.
To understand this concept better, the audience was asked to participate in a hands-on exercise to simulate parking in a commercial area between 8 am to 12.30 pm. Two scenarios were considered: one with minimal parking fee and management, and another with higher parking charges determined by supply and demand.
At the end of Scenario 1, the participants observed that with poor parking management, high-demand spots in the commercial area were occupied by shopkeepers and office-goers for better proximity, leaving the shoppers and other customers without a convenient spot. With an appropriate increase in parking fee as per demand, long-duration parking moved to the outer fringes where the fee was lower. This freed up many easily accessible parking slots within the commercial area for shoppers and restaurant-goers.
Another key takeaway was that the city does not have to wait for visible improvements in walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure changes to implement parking management. Basic parking reforms can help significantly reduce the parking chaos on the street. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, where on-street parking pricing was introduced not as a means towards sustainability but to tackle congestion in many stretches, the parking situation has improved considerably.
The simulation exercise thus helped the participants understand that parking management starting with simple steps should be the approach to the “parking crisis”, instead of increasing supply. Presenting examples from Taipei in Taiwan and Seoul in South Korea, Dr. Barter reinforced this fact and helped the audience decide good parking management goals.
Best global practices highlight that the location and quantity of parking supply play a crucial role in the success of parking management. Dr. Barter stressed that parking, both on-street and off-street, must always be provided in tightly controlled amounts, and charged based on demand.
Applying these lessons to well-known localities in Pune, it came to light that the existing parking spaces could be managed easily without increasing the capacity. “Our cities should aim to eventually shift towards sustainable transport solutions. But even for a car-centric city, parking management is an essential step in solving congestion on the street and for better use of road space. Let us start now Pune!”, said Shreya Gadepalli, Director – South Asia, ITDP.
With the parking policy expected to come into effect soon, and the city taking measures to start on-street parking management, along with various NMT-PT friendly initiatives, Pune is indeed firm on its sustrans course!
*GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (English: German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH); SUTP – Sustainable Urban Transport Project; TUMI – Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative