The government is working on a multi-modal transport infrastructure plan to decongest roads in Bengaluru – ranks second in traffic congestion globally – and New Delhi, officials said.
The proposed plan, being prepared by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation, will be rolled out in the coming months, they said.
“A key feature of this plan is that both segments of transport, goods and passenger, will be considered as demand,” a senior government official told ET. “This is important since most city planning focuses on moving passengers, despite goods traffic in urban settlements being a key contributor to congestion.”
Another advantage is that other cities can emulate this plan, said the official.
Restricted goods movement
“Local administrations, or even the urban development ministry, can pick these models for cities and adopt them appropriately,” the official said.
Traffic congestion is a menace across many cities. Bengaluru’s infamous roads hit the headlines late last month when a scheduled show by stand-up comedian Trevor Noah led to major snarls, prompting the traffic police to issue an advisory to avoid travel.
Most cities have restricted the hours during which trucks and heavy-load vehicles can operate within municipal limits.
“Despite this approach, large cities have been unable to optimally cater to either goods or passengers,” a second official said.
The proposed plan will also talk about options to improve movement of passengers and goods to and from railway stations, which are usually in congested areas of cities, the official said.
The plan will supplement city master plans of Delhi and Bengaluru. The ministry of housing and urban affairs is in the process of finalising the Master Plan for Delhi-2041 (MPD-2041) and Regional Plan-2041 (RP-2041).
In 2017, Bangalore Development Authority had proposed a Revised Master Plan for Bengaluru-2031, which is yet to be finalised.
Vinayak Chatterjee, founder of Infravision Foundation, a think-tank working on infrastructure development, said reducing the number of cars on the roads is a key element of decongesting cities. But this requires larger investment in last-mile connectivity.
“No person should be more than 10 minutes away from the public transportation system,” he said.
A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority should be set up for improving transport systems in major cities, Chatterjee said.
He also said India needs to opt for more municipal bonds issued by civic bodies and raise funds from the capital market for infrastructure to develop these cities.
“A huge series of reforms is required in the governance and administration of our cities – from double-entry book-keeping and user-pay charges escrowing, to increasing the collectability of property taxes, among others,” said Chatterjee.