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What's so awfully wrong with Bangalore Metro design ?

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Metro RailPollutionTraffic
The basic problem with Bangalore Metro Rail design, which is a "carbon copy" of the Delhi Metro Rail design is: i. its failure to define a catchment area and ii. design for seamless integration of feeder services and metro rail system (with seamless ticketing and intermodal synchronization) - RIGHT AT THE INCEPTION. When this "flaw" was brought to Mr. Sreedharan's notice, more than 2 years back, and to Mr. Sudhir Chandra - a senior official at BMRTC - both chose to wilfully ignore it. Mr. Sreedharan reluctantly agreed to some "patchwork" for the feeder system - like those lousy and rickety "Rural Transport Vehicles" called RTVs. Too many stations make Delhi Metro painfully and inefficiently slow with more than 1hr. 30 minutes door-to-door travel time for a 24 km. journey say from Dwarka to Barahkhamba Rd. The same route is navigable by a car in an average time of 45 minutes., in our study with the added benefit/flexibility of having your car for further trip. Most of the stations are already stuffed with cars parked like unherded cattle. In a recent trip at 3:30 pm, I could not find a parking at Central Secretariat station and was asked to look for space at Patel Chowk. The parking lot was muddy and flled with water. Even if I could squeeze in some space for my car, the attendant would not allow b'coz there were 7 cars behind me. He was adamant on some silly logic that if he removed the boulders preventing me to enter, every one else will enter. It wasted me a total of 20 minutes before he agreed. As a case study, 3:30 pm at this station makes it a lean time..just imagine the time wasted in peak times. The poor design has primarily lead to the chasm between potential ridership of 35 lacs. and actual of just over 5 lacs. This means that still so many cars are doing rounds which could be reduced by an appropriate design. This was also brought to the notice of Mr. OP Agarwal then Jt. Secretary and Officer on Special Duty - MRTS. He expressed shock and dismay initially but it was too hot for him to handle. Even when I reminded a senior Urban Development Ministry official in Delhi last week, he told me that I should talk to Sreedharan for what is wrong with Delhi Metro. The advantages of the MetroLITE design as it applies to high capacity systems like Metro Rail, wherever required or inevitable, for whatever reasons, in turn so are as follows: A. Plan for optimal spacing of stations (~ 2kms.) in conjunction with a seamless feeder system saves capital cost (principal and interest repayment burden) as well as significant benefits in operational efficiency - better trip frequency, lower electricity bill, faster travel times, better ridership, on-demand operation management. B. Enhances commuter benefits and economic viability of the proposed Bangalore Metro model. 2. I suggested Metro "at grade" only as a last resort. If you take a systemic approach, the problem can be entirely solved by MetroLITE using high occupancy cars and buses. Once we remove our blinkers or juvenile fantasies for swanky toycars - (for Mr. Sreedharan's bloated ego, Delhi Metro is the swankiest toy car of all..Can you beat it ? which is no different from Ratan Tata's fantasies of the 1 lakh car - the irony is both are highly energy inefficient, in their present form) and take basic measures to "localise" trips related to daily activities by a combination of incentives or regulation. This also implies that no private cars should be allowed on these routes with remaining lanes dedicated for essential goods movement and Bicycle/Pedestrian Lanes, as applicable. Regards, Vikash

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tsubba's picture

metro

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I agree with your point that it is important not to be blinded by the ho-hum of technology and shine. Building potentially capable network is only half the battle, realizing that potential is the other half. regarding catchment, metro phase 1 appears to be designed to address west blr. Even though the eastern half of blr is more in news, some of the highest traffic volumes are really seen on the western part of the city - areas to the west of . Amongst the major arteries, Tumkur Rd pips Hosur Rd in traffic volume, similarly, west-town roads like rajajinagar rd, chord road, platform rd etc see mind numbing volumes. There is a serious interzonal flow in the western half of the city. All the fab, tools and textiles industry are there. it is for this reason that they keep extending the north line, from yeshwantpura, to peenya and now upto hesaraghatta road. The western half is also more compact, so i am guessing impact/added km is more. to the question as to why the eastern half is not addressed, my thesis is that it is because of lack of current survey data and a lack of projection capability at the BMRC. i have to look up some files to state exact dates, but I am pretty sure that in early 2000 DMRC was working with old data. There is now a current survey on BMRC site, but even in that the eastern half curiosuly is not as densely sampled as it ought to be. But that is no excuse to not address what was visible by then-- that east blr was catching up with west in terms of congestion and that, with ITPL and EC-Phase 2 up, and given the resulting distance between where people live and where they work, that things were only going to go down hill. IMHO, BMRC should invest in solid in house survey and projection expertise and not depend on touring surveyors. Without data you can neither understand what you have at hand nor foresee and definitely cannot strategize. By doing that they will also be doing a great service to BLR. With the new master plan on, the RE industry is abuzz with plans for Kanakapura, Bannerghatta, Pipeline Road, Kathriguppa road etc. But we have not heard from either BDA, BMP or BMTC about these roads. Engineers are only one half of the game. The system doesnot get utlized simply because you have built it, it has to be operationalized. They should get some operations experts and service industry people. Talking of such people, well, acad dadas in dilli are busy undermining metro instead of making it work better to solve the transit problem. They are trying to undermine its impact by showing graphs of before and after metro in car heavy american cities that have naam ka vaste networks. who ever heard of the LA metro? They donot mention NYC and will not dare to ask what NYC would look like without its subway. and definetly not talk about Europrean and Japanese networks' impact. because that will throw their theories out of the door.
cvikash's picture

Metro Rail - Good Design vs. Slothful Design

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Tarle S: 1. Defining a catchment area is not just about planting a high capacity, monolithic system like Metro Rail in a dense area. It is about making the stations accessible by either walking, bicycling or congenial modes such as ultra-light, zero emission vehicles and weeding out heavier polluting vehicles from the catchment area except for essential goods movement. 2. Seamless ticketing and intermodal synchronization, if not done at the inception costs far more heavily to do it post hoc, as I learnt from my experiences with Delhi Metro. 3. In a logical prioritisation, it is necessary to a) create incentives or regulation for "localisation" and b) load factor - travel time optimisation of existing fleet of cars and buses - whether public or private. Regards, Vikash

Chandra Vikash
Head – Innovation & Communication

tsubba's picture

impact on cities

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vikash, what is the impact of a public transit system on cities? ie how does the city change with it? what system transforms the city for the better?
cvikash's picture

Appropriate Transport System for Bangalore

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what is the impact of a public transit system on cities? ie how does the city change with it? : 1. In an objective view, the term "public transit" itself is a misnomer. Most of the trips are planned for one person or two persons. People do not huddle themselves into a group and transport from A to B at the same times. What we truly need is a transit infrastructure which can dish out "personalised mobility services". This is what MetroLITE system design is all about. 2. When designing transit infrastructure, it is necessary to manage densities so that other utilities such as water (green space and clear rainwater flow for ground water recharging); electricity, localised vegetable/fresh produce supply (where kitchen waste can be directly composted and elderly people and housewives amongst others can find gainful employment opportunities - and inculcate a sense of community - that is sorely missing from our cities; this will also reduce crime amongst other benefits), greenery ( so that the natural air-conditioning infrastructure for Bangalore can be repaired and restored), playing space etc., are not overburdened. The last thing to do is to destroy existing infrastructure of trees - which also double up as our air-coditioning plant combined with better air-flow design for living and work spaces - by something grossly inferior like 1.5 tonne electric ACs on every window leading to a vicious cycle of power spikes, load shedding, back-up generator running on cheap, adulterated diesel causing more pollution and localised heating. what system transforms the city for the better? system that is context-specific and as a corollary has the minimum garbage content...in currencies of time, health, materials consumed. That's where the present design of Bangalore Metro badly falters. Check out a public report from the Planning Commissio - It is aptly called : "Elevated Options – Assets or Liabilities." Unfortunately, though the reality of cities’ development such as “Bangalore Metro Rail” which is just about to disfigure Bangalore and become a liability is quite different, as I am further following up with PC on. Regards, Vikash

Chandra Vikash
Head – Innovation & Communication

Naveen's picture

Metro - The case for East & South

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I refer to tarlesubba's observations -- As I had earlier mentioned, the south & east are very much likely to get the nod during phase-2. This is why they have ommitted them from Mono alignments. The Rites/iDeck study states : "In Do Something situation where in network has been considered along with commuter rail and Metro rail (NS and EW corridors) the traffic flow pattern shows little relief around the proposed mass transit corridors but it still poses threat to the network in the southern and eastern side of Bangalore city" and "the other corridors on the Northern, Southern and Eastern side of Bangalore, the type of system required for various corridors and their inter linkages as main and feeder services will be decided during the finalization of CTTP".

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