Mobilicity report - session on Bus Priority System

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BusPublic Transport

Apologies for delay in logging in this report. Real tight on time due to office work. I will request Naveen and Shaheen to log their individual reports/notes as well, had requested them to take notes during the session. So yeah, here is a quick summary.

The Setup

We started with a short presentation to describe BPS. Idea was to start with a clear statement that text-book BRTS would be the best, but since BRTS carries a baggage of being too sophisticated (width, fully dedicated lanes), on some key corridors that are narrow and have inconsistent width, the journey may have to start with BPS which uses the same basic tenets of BRTS. In the hindsight, we should have spent a bit more time on the presentation to make the point w.r.t to BRTS a bit more clear. I made the mistake of rushing through the presentation so that we could make the most of the time we were getting with the panelists.

Due to some last minute commitments, BBMP, and Traffic Police (Mr Sood) could not attend. But they are in the loop and informed, and will join the follow up sessions. Mr A Ravindra, KSRTC MD Mr Gaurav Gupta, BMTC MD Mr Pasha, Mr Balachandran (BRTS Subject Matter Expert, with experience at Ahmadabad), Mr R K Misra (advisor, GoK) and Prof M N Sreehari sat on the panel.

The session

We spent decent amount of time understanding BPS concept itself. The reference to current BRTS plans (on Outer Ring Road)  was made, and we struggled to say this in the right words

  • yes, BRTS on already wide, and well planned Outer Ring Road is nice, and welcome. But there would be practical difficulties in doing BRTS on radial corridors.

Unfortunately, we couldn't state above in a crisp way,  so spent a bit of time debating BSP vs BRTS. Fair enough, the confusion is valid. But after 15-20 minutes, I would like to believe that most folks (attendees and panelists) were clear on the difference, and understood that saying yes for BPS doesn't mean saying no to BRTS.

Mr Balachandran, and Mr R K Misra in particular were very crisp in 1) understanding what BPS would be, and 2) in supporting it as a step in the journey towards BRTS. However, Mr Gaurav Gupta had the very valid point that if BPS is designed like poor man's BRTS, or if you do BPS with BRTS like expectations, you may be doing a dis-service to the concept of Prioritizing Bus Services - Public may be disappointed in the end, and future BRTS plans may see a setback. He mentioned that KSRTC is planning BRTS on four corridors in Mysore (C1, C2, C3, C4).

Mr Pasha mentioned, and Mr Ravindra added that recently, GoK and BBMP have woken up to BRTS, and aggressive plans are in the works to move towards BRTS. The specifics of the plan, or time-lines were not disclosed. But the takeaway was that as long as BPS or similar proposals help towards the goal of getting us to cost-effective BRTS solutions, the governments and public agencies should be game.

Closure, Next steps?

All is well when it ends well. And we did end well, with a crisp and clear next step of producing a concept paper on BPS in three weeks time. CiSTUP and Praja should join hands to produce a concept paper with G1 as sample corridor in 3 weeks from Jan 10, so the deadline is January 31. Clear date, and a clear deliverable. Once we can describe this clear, the same panel (with BBMP, and traffic police as well) will meet again to help refine and push with local and state governments.

This is it, from my side. Errors and omissions are regretted. Others in attendance, please do add or correct via your comments.

cheers,

SB aka Pranav

PS: rushed post, pardon the typos etc.

Comments

Report in Hindu and Bellary Rd BPS

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This report on the BPS session by the Hindu also appears to blur the lines between BPS and BRTS. Nevertheless, the progress thus far is breathtaking and inspiring...kudos to all involved with Mobilicity.

Though traffic expert M.N. Sreehari agreed that BPS was a good system to woo users of private vehicles to public transport, he said HAL Airport Road might not be suitable for pilot project. Instead, Bellary Road from Mekhri Circle should be taken for the pilot project, he suggested saying the frequency of buses on this trunk route was high. (from the same report).

sb, not sure how you guys responded to that...but I'd still lean on the G1/335E route for two reasons; it's a pretty heavily used IT-park route, and more importantly, (as ids and Naveen have mentioned before), Old Airport Rd does not have any other plans (other than the signal-free DPR) in the immediate future (unlike Bellary Rd with the acquistion of Palace lands). Thoughts?

Btw, would BMTC be able to provide us those 'time to cross recordings' suggested at the meeting with BMTC by any chance?

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TM

 HAL Airport Road might not

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 HAL Airport Road might not be suitable for pilot project. Instead, Bellary Road from Mekhri Circle should be taken for the pilot project

Ultimately they should go and provide priority on all Big* routes for buses 

Noticed nobody started a thread on the proposed ORR toll, I support it whole heartedly as it will encourage people to move to the BRTS proposed there. But the quality of ORR is pathetic, they need to make it access controlled & use proper engineering principles to build the road before charging toll. This will be the first step towards congestion charging on the inside of the ORR

Jan 31

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Ultimately they should go and provide priority on all Big* routes for buses.

yes...but what are lining up in our sights for the Jan 31 deadline?

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TM

 yes...but what are lining up

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 yes...but what are lining up in our sights for the Jan 31 deadline?

The pilot for the concept is definitely G1, I dont think they can afford to destroy the commerce there to accomodate barricaded lane for buses at the same time cant afford not to give priority to buses on that route. It is actually appropriate to try incremental changes like removing signal interruptions etc there. Bellary rd is a no brainer for BRTS. Our administrators pick the easy ones. We land them the uncomfortable, hard ones on the table :)

the pilot corridor, Prof Sreehari wasn't clear

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@Transmogrifier, first of all, with all due respect, Prof M N Sreehari may not have understood the BPS concept. He thought G1 wasn't the best for pilot because it is "narrow", and has inconsistent width. Whereas Bellary Road from Mekhari Circle onwards is already wide. Also, note that he had produced a "report" on BRTS for Bellary Road few years ago, so it could be that he has only researched that route.

There would be no end to "what's the right corridor" discussion. The basic criteria of picking up a corridor for BPS pilot would be:

  • Part of ongoing routing reforms (Big10), so would fit with BMTC's forward looking plans
  • NOT having consistent width (2+1 lane for BRTS)
  • Currently NOT marked for major investments in public transport (like Metro, mono or LRT)

With above, you do get G1.

With time, and a clear proposal paper, Prof Sreehari and others would understand the BPS concept. The key point about BPS is "PRIORITY", which is a relative word. The goal of BPS is to make car users see that the Bus could take them home/office faster. For BRTS, the focus word is "RAPID", as in speed, (It is implied indirectly that "RAPID" speed would make Buses go faster than private vehicles).

To close this comment, to those not clear on BPS vs BRTS difference, here are the key lines

  • Do BRTS if you think it would be practical to widen/demolish etc throughout the corridor to acquire width for two extra lanes.
  • You perhaps can't do this on Bangalore's radial roads.
  • So take BRTS in bits and peices - an extra lane where you have width, some special measures for Bus at big signals.
  • And call it BPS.

BPS has two goals

  • Direct goal: Relative speed perception - Make Bus do the pilot route faster than car
  • Indirect goal: Build public support for BRTS - help change perception of the Bus (via above goal) so that public at large starts demanding bus priority throughout and everywhere.

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