FEATURES/Biggest Questions of 2013 | Dec 24, 2012 | 8585 views
Metro rails can be a solution in the top 20 cities, but not beyond, says Vinayak Chatterjee
Anil Kelkar Dec 29, 2012
The way this article has been compiled is wrong. What Mr. Chatterjee told the author seems to have been picked up selectively. There are sweeping statements without reasons being given, e.g. Chandigarh is ideally suited for electric trolley buses. Why? Of the three patterns of urbanisation specified, an example has been given for only one. The other two have been left hanging.
Muhammad Sirajuddin. Dec 28, 2012
Yes, definitely when they are planned properly.
Sujit Patwardhan Dec 28, 2012
Dedicated lane not width of the road is the crucial factor in BRT.
One needs mass transport for carrying large number of people on narrow roads without being forced to demolish houses on both sides, so BRT (can be) a good option. If the road width is REALLY a major issue, the better solution is not to stop the bus (whether BRT or not) but the personal automobile as that is the most inefficient way of transporting people. That's why there are often options such as these in some cities with narrow streets.
-- BRT in both directions and personal automobiles in one direction,
but always space for the pedestrians (and usually also for cyclists)
-- Only BRT lanes (no personal auto vehicles)
-- Pedestrian zones. Turn the street into auto vehicle free (pedestrian and cycling only) streets.
The perception that WIDE roads are essential for BRT is more a result of our hangover from the days where transportation planners believed "Wider the roads, better it is". Thankfully this is not the case any more, but many continue to be under the influence of old ideas.
Ranjit Gadgil Dec 28, 2012
Not clear why even the top 20 cities need Metro rail. At least the author should have been consistent and claimed that one needs to do a proper traffic analysis to see whether a Metro corridor is warranted. For instance, Pune is a top 20 city, but we do not think a Metro is needed. No single corridor needs that kind of carrying capacity. BRTS will suffice.
The author also commits the cardinal sin of assuming that wide roads are needed for BRTS and ignores the fact that "too many cars" cannot be a justification for the assumed width of roads needed. TDM measures as always are ignored entirely.
Finally the author glosses over the issues of land and the power it exerts on all decision making, when glibly stating that PPP models can use land as a resource. Opaque decision making and corruption prevent any rational use of land as a financing tool. In Pune for instance it is the increase in FSI for land adjoining the proposed Metro corridor is the bigger driver for Metro than the need for transport itself. Land is a big "tail" that can wag any transport "dog".
Manoj Dec 28, 2012
Compliments to Mr Chatterjee for a nice article. As an ex Indian Railway design person, I saw metro plans for 17 cities from 1970s, spark off Kolkata project and then quietly shelved, and correctly too. Urban planning needs to be integrated across various modes - buses, trams, BRTS, Rail and ferries - this is still a dream for Indian cities, though Chennai and Mumbai have made some attempts.

To my mind, meaningful urbanization is necessary to boost manufacturing in India - industrial parks and SEZ's alone cannot. And for this to happen, cities need separate self-financing governance in place of multiple agencies from state
Arun Dec 24, 2012
Hi Vinayak,

Interesting article. Perhaps there is an awareness of alternatives, but huge capital expenditures means everybody in the chain gains in the process. Is that a reason why alternatives are not being considered? It always struck me as strange why metro rail systems/subways are seen as a magic wand for all our transportation problems.
Manav Choksi Dec 24, 2012
Dear Vinayak,

The article was interesting. What I want to know is, will people switch to Metro from the Noida Toll Bridge? Are they competing against each other? How do commuters choose between the two?

Warm Regards,
Utkarsh Dec 24, 2012
What I find dangerous is a 'me too' mentality in developing urban infrastructure.

A lot of our cities want stuff that they have seen in New York or Paris, without considering the location, temperature, cultural and other relevant factors.

Decision must be based solely on how each system fits into the greater picture of better and cheaper public transport.
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