How will upcoming metro rail systems respond to how an integrated system to ensure the city’s traffic and architecture is preserved or enhanced?ExpertsBI Singal, Director General, Institute of Urban TransportK Rajaraman, Managing Director, Chennai Metro RailNVS Reddy, Managing Director, Hyderabad Metro RailAre our Metro systems treated as cogs in a mobility wheel for a city or as standalone? How is your city coordinating and integrating these systems?SingalMetro systems at present are being treated standalone and not as cogs in a mobility wheel for a city. Cities are not able to integrate the transport services in the city because their is no single authority to manage all aspects of urban transport.Rajaraman In line with the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), the government has constituted the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) to monitor all aspects of transportation in Chennai. The basic purpose of CUMTA is to achieve integration of all modes of transport in the city to provide seamless travel facility to the passengers across the entire network.Reddy There has to be inter-modal integration between metro rail and main rail terminals/stations, bus depots and other feeder services so that “seamless travel facility” is available for commuters. In Hyderabad Metro, we will provide metro rail connectivity to the two main rail terminal stations, six suburban rail stations and six major bus depots, apart from planning feeder bus services in the colonies around every metro rail station and provide pedestrian and non-motorised transport (NMT) facilities.How can metro rail blend into the city’s architecture?Singal Metro rail systems will have to blend in with the architecture of a city as a design exercise. It is not possible to remain underground all the time due to huge costs involved. If, however, rail transit is kept at grade then it is easy for it to blend with the architecture of a city.Rajaraman Much of the 45.1 km of Chennai Metro runs along major arterial roads that house many heritage buildings. Around 24 km length (55 per cent) of the metro network is planned to be underground, and one of the reasons is to preserve the cultural and heritage buildings. Underground rail also minimises land acquisition. Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) has requested contractors to construct elevated metro stations that blend with nearby heritage buildings. Since metro rail changes traffic patterns, how best are cities addressing such changes?Rajaraman Around 65 per cent of Chennai’s road network comprises two-lane roads. The share of public transport dwindled from over 50 per cent in 1971 to about 31 per cent. Currently, the commercial vehicles and IPT modes are operated by private agencies and are not well organised. As many as fourteen agencies are involved in planning, providing operation and managing existing transportation system in CMA. In many tasks, their role is overlapping. In order to utilise the available infrastructure, facilities and resources for development, proper coordination and streamlining the activities of different agencies, there is need for a statutory organisation.Reddy There is a need to discourage parallel bus services and convert them into feeder services so as to improve the overall share of public transport. Pedestrian facilities, bicycle tracks and other non-motorised transport (NMT) facilities are being provided at metro rail stations and their catchment areas. Singal Traffic pattern changes are not being addressed today due to the absence of a coordinating agency in the city.