CTTP review comments

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Public Transport
Comments on RITES proposal, Suhas Kulhalli.

General background

Structuring of report is good. Conceptually clear flow of thinking. Starts with a good background of Bangalore. Then gives a background of the study itself. What is the data collected and how it is collected is dealt in Chapter 3. Using this data to create a model for travel and transport is discussed in Chapter 4. The next chapter gives a general background on the guiding principles for transport planning. Then (in Ch 6) is discussed on how to extrapolate the data to do an analysis of future demand. Based on the strategy and the future demand developed with the help of the modeling, a travel and transportation plan is proposed, which involves, Metro rail, LRT, BRT among others is presented in Ch 7. The next chapter(8) discussed the importance of seamless integration of the various modes. Then the cost estimates, how to generate the money, and how to phase the transport network is discussed in CH 9. The last chapter talks about institutional development that is required to run the city effectively.

Two biggest lacunae, no serious analysis of different MRTS options, their workability vis-à-vis Bangalore city. The second is the report is not complete. That is, the suggestions are open-ended. The loop should have been closed, by estimating the impact on the traffic and transportation statistics of implementing the proposals. More in the detailed comments below.

Data Collection (Ch 3)

In general, data collection has been good. Can be used for other studies as well

In chp 4 it is mentioned that there is not much information of trip attraction points, such as work places, colleges etc. This could be a very important exercise and data collected on this basis, especially since most of the trips are for work or education basis. At least to find the major hotspots in Bangalore and identify the daily trips to/from that conglomerate. For eg: Electronic city, ITPL, Airport, Majestic, Peenya Industrial area are obvious high I/O points. This data should be relatively easier to collect and use in their modeling.

Modelling(Ch 4)

Model should have been validated on previous data. Ie, if similar analysis was carried in 2001 or the RITES in 1994 and similar modeling was done, how accurate has it been in estimating the traffic today. Based on that the accuracy of the forecast could have been estimated.

Strategy for transport development (Ch 5)

Talks about street design but needs to be more comprehensive. Aspects mentioned includes space for bus lanes, bicycle and pedestrians, para transit passengers to mass transport facility. I believe street design should also incorporate space for hawkers, which would make the city more economically inclusive. Bus-stops, street lights, parking, forestation (tree-lining), turning lanes are some of the other things that should be added.

Future demand extrapolation (Ch 6)

The desire line diagrams as well the peak hour diagrams are not readable. It comes across as blotch of colour. Some suggestions for improving them would be - Spread the diagrams across multiple sheets. They could be segregated by point of origin or by quantum of traffic.

Transport mode alternatives (Separate chapter required)

Not much info from an engineering perspective on the various MRT options, their cost, their speeds, quality of service etc. A thorough study of the mass transport alternatives, their relative advantages and disadvantages is not part of the study. Suburban rail, or rail at grade is not mentioned at all, and no reason why this has been dropped has been given.

This is very critical and obvious to an extent. How could one give proposals without understanding the pros and cons of each in depth ?

My pet peeve – Does not talk sufficiently on cost effectiveness other than mention BRT. Laying surface lines, avoiding commute through central areas by laying rail tracks in the periphery is not mentioned. BRT is the lowest cost, however the next best thing would be a suburban or metro system at grade but with ROW (right of way). Talks about diverting through traffic on PRR. But in the same light, if we could divert people traffic through circular rail routes and not have them commute through the centre would help, both reduce commute time as well reduce the load on the centre.

Traffic and transportation plan (Ch 7)

The suggestions are open-ended, ie the report doesn’t talk about what to expect once the proposal has been implemented. Such as, what would be the percentage of ridership on the Metro at completion of each phase ? What would be the ridership along each route ? How much would use Public Transport , (updation of table 3.7/ Fig 3.8)? How would the density of road traffic compare (update Table 3.1, 3.2 etc)? What would be the average speed (speed and delay study - Table 3.16)comparison between now and once these suggestions are implemented. Average commute time if the transport network is utilized. None of these are addressed, as the study missed this crucial point altogether.

Regarding the plan itself - West Bangalore seems to have a lot of monorail and east has none, but seems to have a lot of BRT. This could result in imbalance, specially if BRT does not work as well.

Specific Suggestions:

1. Convert the Hebbal to J.P. Nagar (Bannerghatta Road) along the eastern portion of outer ring road also to Monorail/LRT. This way the LRT corridor would be a complete circle along outer ring road.

Currently, proposal is to have Mono/LRT along eastern section and BRT along western section.

Efficacy of BRT in Indian context is a serious question. How would the buses on the BRT corridor be free flowing. Would they be signal free ? How would that be achieved without grade separation ?

Compared with Monorail/LRT which has grade separation and would thus be extremely predictable and quick, BRT would be mixed with the heavy regular traffic with all the turns, signals and highly heterogeneous and non-compliant traffic which is characteristic of Bangalore. As I mentioned, this has to be proven in the Indian context.

Usage of a Mass transport depends heavily on convenience and even perceived convenience. Having to change modes, and especially to Bus would be a serious hindrance to increasing usage. Even for the agency laying the Monorail/LRT, having access to the high density tech corridor along the outer ring road would greatly improve their financial viability.

Given the above, strongly advised to have a circular monorail/LRT corridor along the entire outer ring road.

2. Convert the BRT corridor along the PRR (peripheral ring road) to a ‘at grade’ suburban rail system.

As mentioned, any at grade rail system would be very cheap and has potential of much higher passenger throughput than a BRT. A BRT would saturate at 15,000 to 20,000 phpdt whereas a heavy suburban system can go far beyond. The convienience of a rail, is perceived much better. Also, suburban rail systems have been hugely successful in India. The key is to incorporate the suburban system in the planning stage, before significant densification has happened and this would make it extremely cost effective. Actually, the 1977 document also proposes a ring railway.

This circular suburban rail would be hitting significant trip attraction points of Bangalore, such as Electronic City, ITPL, the Bangalore International Airport , Peenya Industrial area, and Kengeri satellite town. Even the desire line diagram (Fig 3.5), shows considerable traffic between these points. It would reduce the traffic congestion inside Bangalore city. Also, this would thus help alleviate the current hot problem of Airport connectivityJ. It has been observed that people are willing to switch personal transport for rail, but very rarely for Bus. This was borne out even in the recent Times of India survey. Converting to a high quality at grade Metro or suburban rail is thus imperitave.

This should also be taken with immediate effect, as at a lower cost, its potential benefits are significant. Also there is a huge opportunity cost, if this is delayed.

3. Cancel the Metro corridor from Yelahanka via Nagvara

Metro is extremely expensive. None of the data justify two Metro corridors so close to each other. (Devanhalli Airport to MG road and Yelahanka to MG Road). The Airport to MG Road corridor can also take the traffic of Yelahanka/ Nagvara.

In this context, the high speed Airport rail link is really a no-no. While being extremely expensive, the amount of Airport traffic does not justify it. Assuming 12 million passengers annually, that would be 1400 phpdt. A number of passengers, especially international travelers, prefer taking a taxi. In addition, this high speed link only drops them to MG Road and not to the final destination. How much would it help the IT folks working in ITPL or Electronic City for eg:? Would this be an alternative to a cab along the PRR or ORR ?

Instead, one could run special airport trains on a regular METRO corridor

Note : This suggestion is to consolidate the two METROS in the NORTH (Bangalore Airport and Yelanhanka till MG Road). The M.G. Road to Electronic city is useful and needs to continue to exist.

4. Push out the Kanakapura Rd extension of the METRO

The desire line Fig 3.5, as well as Table 3.3 do not show very heavy traffic movement through Kanakapura road. Traffic is much higher on the Hosur Road, Tumkur road and Bellary Road sections. From these charts, as well as our experience in Bangalore, we know the congestion of Hosur Road through to Electronic city. Thus the Electronic City MG Road should be taken up as a priority or the JP Nagar should be extended to Electronic City.

The Kanakapura rd extension could be converted to Monorail.

5. Completing the interconnects, creating a grid to have good coverage across the city.

If the above are carried out, and some of the corridors may need to be extended to hit the suburban ring railway, we will have a grid of Mass Transit which ensures a good coverage across the city. The usage of Mass Transit increases exponentially with coverage.

Mass Transport Grid

The Magadi Road Monorail/LRT can be converted to Metro, so that the 4 intersections are more evenly placed.

This is the basic structure. Over this, other lines would be present (not shown) such as the Phase I of the network between Peenya and RV Terminal which would be intersecting the Monorail/LRT corridor. In this way, any new line should intersect one of these corridors, and that would automatically give access for that line to the whole city.

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