We should have the backup city plan where we can really bring everything close to public transport. Samir Sharma, Associate Vice President, Transport Planning Group, Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS), explains to Sumantra Das about the importance of integration of transport and development.
Is India at par with global standard in maintaining land for transport?
Yes, overall in most of the cities it is maintained. In Delhi for example, it is around 25 per cent. So if we compare Delhi with even the international cities it is reasonably good in terms of the area under transport with respect to the total development area. Even in metro cities when we made the transport development plans we try to maintain that percentage so that it can synchronise with the other developments.
What are the challenges in urban transport?
The biggest issue is the supply of good public transport. If a city cannot provide a good public transport, then private vehicles will grow which causes more congestion and disrupt the whole transport system.
Therefore, a good public transport system becomes the key requirement. Second is to bring the population close to public transport system. So once there is that kind of situation, they will be allied other kind of measures which can be applied like parking in traffic management measures and then we can really restrain private vehicle use as well as ownership and that can really help relieve the congestion.
What is the role of proper land planning in urban transport?
Presently, the planning of land use is isolated. City planners hardly consider the transport aspect in their city planning or they do in a traditional way. Their land use, the population or employment with reference to the transport is not scientific.
How far will the central government's move to employ mixed use of land work?
Definitely it will work. But it will take another 10 years for these things to take shape. We are far behind from other countries to implement such systems. The strategy was not as contemporary as it should have been.
For example, US cities have a proper monitoring system-they have been monitoring more than 200 sites for the last 20 years, trying to identify the benefits before encouraging it. But we are almost 20 years behind them to think on the same lines. We have just started thinking this idea. The implementation process will take another 10 years. When other countries did a lot of research and developed plan, our development planning is more focused on just putting the land uses without understanding other linkages of it.
What is the possible solution?
One is of course city planning. We should have the backup city plan where we can really bring everything close to public transport and it should be public transport oriented. This is very important for all the future projects and can create the corridor for a better public transport system. So integration of the transport system with development is very important.
When we have an improved public transport, we can take traffic management measures. So, first task will be improvement of public transport and then comes the demand measures. These measures will restrain the use of private vehicle and solve other congestion problems.
DIMTS is an equal equity joint venture of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and IDFC Foundation with a focus on urban transportation. DIMTS provides Concept to Commissioning, Consultancy, Intelligent Transport System solutions and Urban Transport asset management services.