How will upcoming metro rail systems respond to how an integrated system to ensure the cityâ€™s traffic and architecture is preserved or enhanced?
BI Singal, Director General, Institute of Urban Transport
K Rajaraman, Managing Director, Chennai Metro Rail
NVS Reddy, Managing Director, Hyderabad Metro Rail
Are 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?
Metro systems at present are being treÂated stanÂdaÂlone and not as cogs in a mobiÂlity wheel for a city. Cities are not able to integrate the transport serÂvices in the city because their is no single authority to manage all aspects of urban transport.
In line with the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), the government has constiÂtuted the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) to monitor all aspects of transÂportÂation 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 acrÂoss the entire network.
There has to be inter-modal integration between metro rail and main rail terminals/stations, bus depots and other feeder services so that â€œseamless travel facilityâ€ is available for commuters. In Hyderabad Metro, we will proÂvide metro rail connectivity to the two main rail terminal stations, six suburban rail stations and six major bus depÂots, apart from planning feeder bus services in the colonies around every metro rail station and proÂvide pedestrian and non-motorised transport (NMT) facilities.
How can metro rail blend into the cityâ€™s architecture?
Metro rail systems will have to blend in with the archiÂtecture of a city as a design exercise. It is not posÂsible 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.
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 minimiÂses land acquisition. Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) has requeÂsted 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?
Around 65 per cent of Chennaiâ€™s road network comÂprises two-lane roads. The share of public transport dwindÂled 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 infraÂstrÂucture, facilities and resources for development, proÂper coordination and streamlining the activities of difÂferent agencies, there is need for a statutory organisation.
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, bicÂycle tracks and other non-motoÂrised transport (NMT) facilities are being provided at metro rail stations and their catchment areas.
Traffic pattern changes are not being addressed todÂay due to the absence of a coordinating agency in the city.