Funds for urban development used more for public transport

Neglecting pedestrians and non-motorised vehicle infrastructure as State Governments keenly strengthen public transport systems could prove costly, according to Dr Pawan Kumar, Associate Town and Country Planner, Town and Country Planning Organisation, Ministry of Urban Development.

Not placing emphasis

The claim for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission funds indicate that State Governments are not placing as much emphasis on creating facilities for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles as on public transport systems.

This could prove a costly mistake as surveys indicate that in cities such as Chennai pedestrians' access to public transport facilities is a major bottleneck.

“Public transport terminals are the least accessible by walk,” say the studies, he said.

Funds for such infrastructure available under the JNNURM are waiting to be utilised by cities. But in most urban centres, pedestrians, including school going children and the elderly, are largely neglected.

Investments in simple pedestrian facilities such as clear walkways and tracks for non motorised vehicles, not only increase safety on roads but increase the efficiency of more expensive public transport infrastructure such as road and rail based systems, he said addressing Municipalika 2012, an international seminar on urban governance.

Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad score high on facilities for pedestrians and ‘walkability,' he said.

Gujarat is set to extend the success of its Bus Rapid Transit System with a third phase that will cover over 120 km more, according to Mr Dilipkumar Mahajan, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

Bus transport

The 42-km bus rapid transit route which is into its third year of operation will be extended to 89 km by the year end in the second phase. In the next two years the third phase will also be taken up.

The bus rapid transit system has been a significant success in terms of providing an affordable, efficient and comfortable public transport.

With a fleet strength of 102 buses, that is to be doubled by the year end, the BRTS moves over a 1.20 lakh passengers daily and a major portion of its route is along the sections of the city that need public transport.

Over the last one year the numbers of those using the BRTS has increased six times and the business is breaking even as of now, he said.

rbalaji@the hindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 24, 2012)
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