Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide a concessional loan of ₹500 crore for smarter mobility project in Chennai to develop Intelligent Transport Systems for an efficient traffic management system to ease the city’s congestion and promote economic growth.

The Official Development Assistance (ODA) agreement for the project was signed between Sujan R Chinoy, Ambassador of India to Japan, and Junichi Yamada, Senior Vice-President, JICA, in Tokyo, says a press release from JICA. Chennai Smart City Ltd is the executing agency of the project, which will see installations under three heads — Traffic Management System, Bus Systems and Traffic Information System.

Easing traffic

The ITS-based traffic control system will benefit road users — from private vehicle users to users of public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. This project will be implemented within right-of-way on existing road network in Chennai, and will not affect the city’s natural or social environment.

The project will optimise the way traffic lights work and reduce long vehicle queues at city’s main intersections. It will also provide traffic information visual message signs or LED display boards, especially for bus users.

The ODA loan’s conditions are concessional at 1.5 per cent interest rate for project activities and 0.01 per cent interest rate for consulting service, and 30 years of repayment period, including 10 years of grace period, says the release.

Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India office, in the release said, traffic in Chennai has risen steeply with rapid urbanisation and the city is prone to heavy traffic jams. While metro trains are one of the solutions, and JICA has been supporting Chennai’s development through ODA Loans, the agency is taking another step forward by introducing this new project to enhance mobility through the help of Information and Communication Technology-based system.

In addition to this project, JICA has also extended ₹11,000 crore in concessional ODA loans over five tranches since 2008 for development of around 52.4 km metro rail system in Chennai, the release said.