Traffic/Transport Issues & CTTP-2007

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There is deep concern about unmanageable volumes of traffic, the deteriorating road discipline & difficulties in commuting, all calling for very urgent interventions. The CTTP report has recognized these deficiencies & has generally attempted to halt further deterioration, but does not seem to have gone far enough by making recommendations to reverse this trend & to bring about orderliness. The road development policies followed so far have been overly accommodating to individual motor vehicles & non-protective of public transport. There has been no approach taken with regard to the allocation of road space between competing types of users & the emphasis on increasing road capacity for private motorized vehicles has only benefited & encouraged car & two-wheeler based urban development to critical levels. The losers of this have been pedestrians, bicyclists & public transport vehicles (BMTC) – these account for over 50% of all users. Possible long-term solutions are being attempted here for the various issues. Click on the links below to read more.

CTTP Review – Further Comments & Inputs

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Public Transport

Hi Suhas, went through your assessment of the CTTP & the discussions that followed – various comments & many relevant, valid points have surfaced.

There are a few issues I would like to fill in :

1) Re. analysis of different MRTS options, their workability vis-à-vis Bangalore city -----

You are probably aware that many earlier studies had been made & recommendations for different types of mass transit systems were considered & debated. I had also mentioned this in parts on various posts in the past. I am including them all together again & making a new post since the CTTP-2007 report does not quote nor make references to them though Ch.6.6 has some general criteria for system selection & 6.7 summarizes the corridors with recommended systems. As you correctly indicated, a summary of past studies is relevant & clarifies system selections better, & should have been included for reference.

Click here for the summary:

http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/naveen/2008/10/27/bangalore-mass-transit-summary-past-study-reports

2) You mention that the report is not complete, & suggestions were open–ended, with no estimates on the impact on traffic & transportation statistics upon implementation – I am not entirely sure what you referred to here ----

I think the future growth scenarios with the effects, as summarized in three incremental steps are quite substantial to visualize what the outcomes would be following each action. ( The three scenarios are termed Scenario 1, 2 & 3 in this report, but in previous study reports, they were called “Do Nothing”, “Do Minimum”, & “Do Something” ).

My concern here is that even with the recommended Scenario-3, where several Mass Transit options are in place, the no. of daily trips by cars & 2-wheelers still show increases by 2025 – there are no recommendations to limit this & thus, this area has not been sufficiently addressed in the report. The only way this can be addressed is to enforce several more traffic restraining measures & very strict compliance to discourage private vehicle use – I wonder how they plan to achieve this. The other option is perhaps to include many more mass-transit additions (over & above what has already been recommended), which would really complicate the city’s core areas.

3) Suburban rail (Commuter rail) has been mentioned in some detail in Ch.7.5, recommending 10 routes totaling 204.0 km. However, this is generally not for commuters who live & travel within the city, but for commuters who live outside & travel to & from the city.

CRS would not be useful for someone wanting to commute from say, Jayanagar to Shivajinagar, or say from Koramangala to Rajajinagar – he would use the Metro or Mono as available, which cuts through the city on shorter route/s & in quicker time. Travel circumferentially on ring road or PRR for such commutes would increase travel time, obviously.

4) About developing surface rail systems around the periphery :

Along ORR, this is impossible due to all round development, in fact road-widening on the western part of ORR has been ruled out due to this & Monorail has been recommended, instead of the cheaper BRT due to narrower road width.

The PRR is being built with provisions for BRT, & also for rail tracks by way of a 12m central median (should rail tracks be necessary at some later stage). The planning of the PRR seems in order since BRT tracks will be positioned on curbside, just outside the main 4-lane carriageways each side. There are 2-lane service roads on each side that are planned on curbside of the bus-ways. Thus, the road is being customized with a focus on BRT, with curbside operations (as opposed to median operations that are usually more suitable on existing roads) & with easy access for local commuters.

I am not sure if planning & running surface Metro-rail on PRR right from the beginning is a good idea. As BRT is the most convenient, least expensive, & one which can be easily scaled up /down or withdrawn without wastage as & when required, the CTTP has recommended this & it is being followed up by BDA. Maintenance is also economical & easy. If a network of electric wires were installed, we could have trolley buses (as they are called in Europe /Russia) running with silent electric motors & cutting back on emissions, too. This should be the ideal choice. Well planned BRT systems have carrying capacities nearly the same as Metro rail (the Bogota system, Transmilano has 40,000 phpdt).

The Delhi /Pune BRT fiascos have more to do with insufficient thought, poor planning & maybe, also incorrect choice of corridors to run the service, first up. Such errors, common by many planners, does not necessarily imply that it is not suitable for India. In fact, it is an excellent low-cost solution for India – cost-efficient systems are much needed to assist the poor. The BRT concept has been ridiculed & made a casualty by the media & car lobbies. What is lacking is a process to customize the system to suit our needs. If BRT corridors can be designed without any traffic signal synchronization with other traffic, the chances for it to succeed are far higher as our road discipline & traffic signal systems are poor /unreliable when compared to those abroad. For this, busways must be physically separated to prevent intrusion, & must have exclusive passages through the signaled intersections by overhead ramps or underpasses. In Ahmadabad, these features are being planned along some lengths of the BRT corridor & we will probably see the 2nd BRT success in India here, after Indore.

In general, costs for rail systems are far higher & when this is added to the fact that investments have to stay committed for single-valued outcomes with little or no re-use for tracks /coaches, signals & other rail infrastructure (should it be unsuccessful), the whole exercise makes it unattractive for planners as financial risks are too great.

About the failure of MRTS, Chennai please click below link :

http://praja.in/blog/naveen/2008/04/01/urban-rail-chennai-experience

You mentioned that suburban rails have a good track record in India – this is only true for Mumbai. Kolkata, Chennai & Hyderabad have seen failures & are just about managing to stay afloat. For that matter, even the Metro rail systems (Delhi & Kolkata) have not fared well so far.

5) Re. Average speed for Metro – this is estimated by BMRC at 32km per hour (maximum speed 80 km/hr). For BRT, average speeds are about 22-25km per hour on prioritized & exclusive routes (estimates from BRTs elsewhere, such as Bogota – this is lesser than Metro due to more frequent stops). No forecast estimates have been made for speed of private vehicles movement, probably because this becomes less important. Metro ridership estimates are on the BMRC website (10.2 lakhs in 2011 & 16.1 lakhs per day in 2021) – there had been a separate study by RITES for Metro previously. Maximum load /unload stations would be Majestic, City Railway station, Vijayanagar & Toll gate, as estimated by BMRC & reported in the press some time back.

6) The airport rail link, if & when planned will be a dedicated express (hi-speed) service exclusively for the airport, inclusive of city check-in facilities. Thus, it would involve additional infrastructure such as security scanners for baggage & airline check-in facilities at two stations (MG Rd & Hebbal). At Yelahanka, only hand baggage will be allowed as baggage check-in facilities will not be made available. The train has only four stations along it’s track, & all commuters will be seated, with sufficient space to store luggage, unlike city Metro where most would be standing. This service is therefore distinct & quite different from the city Metro service. Funding for this through private means should also be easier since business is more or less assured.

However, with current air passenger volumes around 10 million, this dedicated train does not make any sense, & volumes must cross some 25 million before such a service is needed. It is good that plans are afoot for this now – If & when we require it, we already have a backup plan ready, for once ! Traveling by taxi around PRR will increase time /costs enormously (PRR is some 116km long, thus one half would be nearly 60km !). Instead, travel by Hi-speed airport link & transfer to taxi /autorickhshaw or car will be much more efficient, as it is elsewhere in most cities.

7) I thought that the extension of Metro to PRR along Kanakapura road was basically to connect the IT hubs in the south east & EC to the parts that lie to it’s west & north through NICE & PRR & then Metro. Though, at present this may look unnecessary, with time, it might need a second look. Already, an extension till Jarganahalli (near Metro Cash & Carry) has been announced. Thus, in a few years, when further growth takes place, we may again see a further extension, till PRR.

After providing BETL to EC along Hosur road, it is somewhat unlikely that a Metro line will be planned along Hosur road. EC may be linked by Metro from the western side, via Bannerghatta road.

8) About Monorail – actually, they did not make sense to me too, earlier since they had been primarily designed for zoos & amusement parks. Now, since there are many private manufacturers who might offer good deals, such as bearing all installation & maintenance costs for fixed periods, Monorails may be worth a fresh look with BOOT options. In this context, it makes sense to also pursue this option & use it if required, as funding options are better.

9) As you have rightly mentioned elsewhere, I found a lot of variation in cost/s for Metro-rail, Light-rail or Monorail. These variations, I presume are probably due to varying costs of land acquisition, the type of soil (depth of the foundation piers, tunneling difficulties, etc.) & due to the varying prices between different manufacturers – the European ones are the most expensive followed by the Japanese, then American /Canadian & the lowest are Korean /Malaysian companies. Further, rolling stock makers were all from overseas initially for DMRC & they had imported coaches from S.Korea, but for phase-2, they have now placed an order with BEML. So, costs may have come down, which is a positive development.

CTTP review comments

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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.

[Did some minor formatting change, did hide the email address to prevent spam and promoted to front page - {blr_editor}]

Part I: BRTS

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Metro RailTraffic

Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)
Earlier (1999), a feasibility study for BRTS had identified a promising network of 20 corridors for bus routes comprising twin central rings intersected by 8 radial routes, with assistance from SIDA, Sweden. A pilot project of 12kms from Jayanagar to Shivajinagar with a combination of exclusive lanes with priority of passage at signals & construction of rapid transit lines was planned but never materialized & was abandoned without any attempt. There is no mention of this in the CTTP-2007 report, either. If this had commenced then, we might have seen it progress to some extent & at least, public opinion about the value of such quicker means of public travel would have been recognized.

The CTTP-2007 report has now identified 14 new BRT corridors (totaling 291.5 kms), mostly outside CBDs. The recent urban road infrastructure oriented BBMP budget again seems to focus on ‘improving connectivity’ for private vehicles without any attention to stem the rot & pay fuller attention to improving public transport & try BRT options. Also, the ongoing installation of ‘magic boxes’ of narrow width again seem to cater to & encourage private vehicle use. Such solutions might provide temporary relief, but will surely turn into obstacles as motorization levels increase with the present approach. Several Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Pune & Delhi have already begun experimenting BRT options, but sadly, Bangalore, with the worst possible road & traffic conditions, is yet to commence trying BRT options.

Public transport services (BMTC) have been at the mercy of unrestrained competition & dominance by individual motor vehicles & are fighting a losing battle with passenger volumes steadily falling. The long-held biases in favor of private vehicles urgently need to be undone & public transport (BRTS /BMTC) needs to be given on–street priority at all stages, wherever possible, to make them efficient & better alternatives than individual motor vehicles.

A possible way to commence such options now, for a start is to provide priority of passage through the magic boxes for only public transport & essential services, such as BMTC buses, Vajra Volvos for airport, Suvarna services, etc. & for emergency use such as ambulances, traffic police activities, street maintenance, etc. since space is limited & crowding will be avoided through these narrow underpasses. Roads over drains, if built & elevated roads could also be considered with exclusive lanes for public transport. In congested areas, suitable narrower roads could be converted for passage of only buses, whilst allowing only private vehicles belonging to residents within that lane through boom /barrier controls. Once these have been stabilized, dedicated lanes can be allocated on wider surface roads. By then, hopefully, public opinion will favor these developments & users will increase, with a reduction in private vehicle use. Various types of buses can be operated, all enjoying priority of passage at signals & on exclusive lanes. High quality bus services need to be provided to be car-competitive & comfort levels improved to sway quality conscious commuters – this may be the only solution for the city’s traffic woes as buses are the ‘Workhorses’ of the transport system, & this may remain so even after Metro-rail & other systems are in place.


Part I: Monorail

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Monorail
About 60 kms of Monorail /Light rail has been recommended in the CTTP report on various potentially high-growth corridors (Western portion of ORR & Bannerghatta road) in the CTTP report.

An article by Lloyd Wright published in ITDP magazine highlights that Monorail systems suffer from significant operational and financial difficulties, & performance levels have rarely lived up to the image. The reality is that Monorails have failed to match promises. Excluding amusement parks and zoos, there are currently only 13 Monorail systems in operation in the world (Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Seattle, Sydney, Qiongquing, Osaka, Tokyo, Tama, Hiroshima, Naha, Kokura, Chiba City & Kuala Lumpur). None of these existing systems have actual rider-ship levels greater than 5,000 passengers per hour per direction, & most of them outside Japan are facing financial problems. In Japan, Monorails have been financially viable because ticket pricing is set very high, & is still affordable due to very high incomes.

A new Monorail system by Scomi claims a capacity of 106 passengers per car. A 6–coach vehicle will thus be able to carry 636 passengers, & with headway of 3 minutes, the capacity would be 12,720 passengers per hour. This is still lesser than 1/3rd the capacity of a Metro system & less than ½ that of a Light rail system. For costs at $12–40 million per km (Rs.50–160 crores per km), the capacity is on the low side when compared to a Metro system & this implies that ticket pricing will need to be higher than Metro-rail on commercial considerations. Thus, the value of this system to the middle & lower income groups is questionable as it might not be cost-efficient for people with limited resources & may not match up to economics of scale, particularly in India with very low ticket pricing. If subsidies or rider-ship guarantees are being considered to private parties who may meet costs for installing the system, then again, the cost to the city (& tax-payers) may be on the high side. In any case, Monorail technology is yet to be tested in Indian conditions with very low ticket pricing, when compared to monorail systems overseas. Thus, there appear to be financial risks & capacity concerns with these systems.

If commuters are channeled to use public mass transits instead of private vehicles (as needs to be done), there is the possibility that capacities with Monorail may fall short of the city’s requirements along the planned corridors at about 2025, or may be even earlier with unforeseen induced growth with improvements in transportation networks & increased FSI. All indicators point to rapid urbanization & high growth cities, like Bangalore will obviously see very large expansion with job creation & outsiders pouring into them from all parts of the country, as before. The presumption that ‘capacities would suffice’ has already been tested & has repeatedly failed with growth rates exceeding projections each time – capacities of widened roads, flyovers & the airport/s have been falling short within a few years. Surely, the city cannot afford such errors with hugely expensive mass transit projects & provisions for capacity expansion must be in place.

Compared to Monorail, if Metro-rail or Light rail is used along the same corridors, with an initial capacity about the same as Monorail by reducing rolling stock & increasing headway times to about 10 minutes, installation costs may be around the same or lesser than Monorail since all these corridors allow for elevated sections. This has the advantage of capacity increases speedily & economically as & when required in the future by merely adding rolling stock & reducing headway times, & could be a financially viable permanent solution to transport problems along these high growth routes.

Given these facts, Monorail may not really be justified, particularly with dubious records of performance & implementation elsewhere in the world.

Part I: Airport Rail Link - The Monorail Option

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Airport Rail Link – the Monorail Option
The Airport-City rail link has been a much visited topic, but nothing seems to have been finalized, so far. The central government had recognized mass transit systems as vital for larger cities’ needs & had previously offered assistance to the tune of 30% (similar to Metro-rail systems), which is a small contribution – 70% still has to be met by state government & BIAL, including loans & debts. Negotiations always seem to have ended in deadlock as agreements over revenue sharing are uncertain with changing stands by the government/s involved. It appears that the central government has now changed its stand & is willing to provide more participation as this is a vital sector that can have far reaching consequences for the country’s economy.

Given that this is a necessity & business is assured with higher levels of ticket pricing, the Monorail option could be used here. Monorail makers generally meet installation costs, & with newer, high capacity systems being developed, this can be more attractive since higher fare levels will mean that there may never be a subsidy burden. High speeds may not be possible however - if the ride takes about 35 minutes instead of 20 minutes, users would certainly prefer this to an indefinite & uncertain wait for the high speed rail, if ever it materializes. A high speed rail is also hugely expensive & may never be able to recover its costs, let alone make any sort of profits for its modernization. Assuming that the maximum traffic handled by the airport is of the order of 50 million at its maximum in the future, the monorail would still be able to handle this load at about 6-7,000 passengers per hour.

For the present level of traffic (about 11-12 million per year or about 30–35,000 per day), a rail based system may not be urgent, but traffic volumes are bound to grow, & hence the need to work out possible options in due time.


Part I: Commuter Rail System

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Commuter Rail Services (CRS)
There has been frequent & repeated mention of CRS on existing rail tracks in several previous study reports (since 1981), but with no follow up action so far. The CTTP-2007 report has recommended an increase in the CRS network to 204km in three phases. It is not clear if this is being seriously pursued with the Railways. Some land acquisition is also involved, & there are many questions as to which body will build & operate the CRS network, & also the type of rolling stock & service /quality levels, ticket pricing, etc.

The CTTP report has not recommended a CRS for Dodballapur or Devanahalli though tracks exist from Beniganahalli, cutting thro’ the upper north-eastern quadrant outside ORR, via Yelahanka. That part of the city is also developing & the CRS along this route will help commuters along Dodballapur road & for those bound towards Devanahalli.

The Mass Transit system operating in Copenhagen (Denmark) has the facility to carry commuters’ bicycles in the train. Such a facility would be a significant benefit to the commuter as he can ride his bicycle on both sides of his journey & many suburbanites would welcome this, the climate in the city being conducive to bicycling. This may be worth investing in, for a start on CRS since CRS is expected to cater to economically weaker, long distance travelers, who will look for quick & cost effective mobility options upon reaching their destinations. This would also promote non-motorized vehicles. CRS stations need to be designed for handling easy entry /exits for commuters with bicycles & some bicycling infrastructure should also be in place within the city to make this successful.



Part II: Non-Motorised User Facilities

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Pedestrian Facilities
Excerpts from various sections of the CTTP report are as follows :
3.13.1.9: There is high pedestrian traffic in core area and some other areas in Bangalore. Footpath facilities are generally not adequate and their condition is deteriorating. Therefore up gradation of their facilities is very important.
5.5.8 (Preferred Strategy for Transport Development): Special facilities for pedestrians within the entire network specially in the core areas; Pedestrianization of selected shopping streets in side the core area going to be served by Underground sections of Metro; Provision of pedestrian sky walks, under passes, footpaths and other road furniture along the roads where necessary.
7.9: Recommends as many as 78 roads within ORR & 54 roads outside ORR for improvements & widening.
7.11.2.2 (Foot paths): Recommends a width of 2.0m for sidewalks for about 350 kms of city roads.

The welfare of pedestrians, particularly mobility–impaired pedestrians such as old people, small children, pregnant women, injured, those on wheel chairs, etc. has seriously been compromised all along in planning road widening to accommodate more vehicles & to increase the speed of the flow of traffic, leaving meager, broken down sidewalks.

As a result, pedestrian casualties & deaths due to improper facilities have been mounting. Serious steps need to be taken & a policy planned to modify all roads to provide properly leveled continuous pedestrian side-walks of 2.0m width as recommended in the CTTP report, even if vehicle carriageways have to be narrowed.

Pedestrian zones have been recommended at Gandhinagar–Chickpet, Brigade road & Commercial street. The more dense City market area & surroundings have not been addressed, though this is more pressing & urgent. Shivajinagar & surroundings have also been ignored. Pedestrian facilities in these areas, as also at Jayanagar shopping complex area & around Malleshwaram circle area need to be properly addressed & some restraints are required for reducing private vehicles around these activity centers.

Bicycle Facilities
Excerpts from various sections of the CTTP report are as follows :
3.13.1.11: Share of cycle traffic has declined over the years. This mode of transport needs to be promoted by providing cycle tracks along the roads.
5.1.2 (National Urban Transport Policy recommendations): Encourage greater use of public transport and non- motorized modes by offering Central financial assistance for this purpose.
7.11.1: Their use in Bangalore is not significant but still this needs to be encouraged on environmental considerations. Provision for safer and better section of road or cycle track is the best way to keep them on roads. This is necessitated more on roads in the periphery of city and in many areas in BMA. In CBD some side roads and lanes can be exclusively reserved for cyclists and pedestrians in peak periods.

Although there is recognition that non-motorized traffic needs to be promoted, Section 7.11.1 is vague & appears to accord low priority with insufficient thrust on road space allocation for providing physically separated & protected lanes for bicycles on existing roads. As has been seen in the city, increasing the width of roads to cope with the scorching pace of motorization without providing protected bicycle lanes has resulted in motor vehicles pushing off the bicycles. Without a continuous network of secure infrastructure, people will not risk bicycle travel, & perhaps this is why there are fewer & fewer bicycle users in Bangalore. Without users, investment in infrastructure for cycling may appear wasteful. Despite this, cycling infrastructure cannot be neglected as bicycles are a more civilized, pollution-free alternative for commuting & encouraging bicycle travel has the potential to replace a sizable proportion of the existing motorized traffic whilst reducing air pollution. For these reasons, they cannot continue to remain disadvantaged & uncared, & the position needs to be improved on the street for bicyclists. The lack of higher priority for dedicated bicycle tracks or bicycle & pedestrian–only roads in the city in road improvements is unfair & actually supplements further growth of motorized private vehicles that increase consumption of road space & worsens street congestion. The excessive priority favoring private motorized vehicles is evident here too. Available road space has to be managed, taking bicyclists also into consideration.

Allocating road space or some roads exclusively for bicycles & pedestrians may counter the strong pro-growth forces & motor vehicle owners; however, road and street design standards have to be bicycle-friendly to conform with international practices for energy conservation & care for the environment, & more particularly, for Indian conditions since cost effective mobility options would be made available for a sizable proportion of the economically weaker population. If bicycling infrastructure is in place as in many cities worldwide, the negative stigma & close mindedness in this country that views bicycling as only for the poorer classes will also be tempered & bicyclists will gain more acceptance as part of mainstream traffic. On street enforcement may initially be problematic due to widespread indiscipline & the excessive no. of motor vehicles, & bicycle use may take some time to catch on, but it has to be commenced at some point. For a start, the wider arterial roads could be upgraded with bicycle lanes & some of the narrower streets can be made off-limits for motor vehicles, whilst permitting bicycles & pedestrians only. With several mass transits being introduced, the opportunity may soon be available to push this through along with other necessary measures, such as traffic restraints.

Some Quotes about the bicycle :

HG Wells, Scientist: "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race".

Iris Murdoch, Author: "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart".

Earl Blumenauer, Rep. US Congress, 1948: "Let's have a moment of silence for every American stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bicycle".

Elizabeth West, Author: "When man invented the bicycle, he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision & balance for the convenience of man. And unlike subsequent inventions, the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, & of no harm or irritation, to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle".

Part II: Traffic Restraining Measures

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Traffic restraining measures
CTTP Section 7.14.1 (Reducing Private Vehicle Use) states “There are two ways to restrain the growth of private vehicles on road: either by pricing policy or by providing better level of service on public transport”, & recommends the following, amongst other measures : Parking facilities provided /planned in side the CRR should only be for Short term parking with high hourly charges.
Congestion Charges be imposed on slab-scale from private vehicles entering first the ORR and then the CRR.

The excessive growth in private vehicles in the city has resulted in serious health & safety problems. Bangalore is now being referred to as a ‘Car dependent’ city. This growth in vehicle population is due to many factors including the absence of tolls for bridges & flyovers, the prevalent undercharging for road use, uncontrolled & free parking, etc. There are no policies in place that involve any use of traffic restraining measures, save for some prohibitions against trucks & goods vehicles on some roads at certain hours. Thus, there are no disincentives whatsoever to restrain motor vehicle use. The social harm & costs for using motor vehicles & road space have also never been gauged.

The world over, it has been demonstrated in many cities that providing capital intensive forms of comfortable off-street mass transport (such as Metro /Monorail or Light rail) does not automatically result in a reduction of private vehicles. Several traffic restraining tools still need to be used to divert private vehicle users to take up public modes of commuting, however politically difficult & inconvenient this might be, & generally based on some calculus that results in lower price, shorter travel time, comfort, convenience, etc. that makes public transport more attractive.

It is clear from the CTTP report (Table 6.3) that even if all recommended mass transit routes, etc. are developed, it would still result in the share of daily trips by cars & two-wheelers to increase from 2006 levels of 4.2 & 18.4 lakhs to 7.0 & 20.6 lakhs by 2025 due to increase in the city’s population & the corresponding increase in the no. of daily trips, although in percentage terms, they would drop to 5.5 & 16.2% from 7.5 & 32.8% respectively. A part of this increase will have to be absorbed with only the present road inventory within CBDs /ORR merely by augmentation of existing roads as creation of additional roads will not be possible within CBDs /ORR (the elevated CRR appears to have been abandoned). This implies that traffic congestion will worsen unless traffic restraints are enforced to bring down the no. of road vehicles.

On street priority to public transport, if enforced will serve as an effective traffic restraint & encourage public transport use. If bicycle /pedestrian facilities are to be upgraded, road space for motorized vehicles may have to be reduced, & this could be another positive restraint. In addition to the existing vehicle taxation, if fuel taxation is introduced /increased, it may have better potential to serve as road use fees & is capable of being used as an effective instrument for restraining traffic. Tolls & congestion /cordon pricing (as recommended in the CTTP report & which has been successful in many cities worldwide) need to be considered very seriously. Measures such as much higher & variable parking fees within ORR /CBDs also need to be focused on. Funds raised through these measures could be useful & can be invested for street improvement programs in a closed loop.

The objective should obviously be to sway & push all groups of commuters to take up public transport for their daily commutes & use private vehicles generally only to reach a bus stop or rail station, or for the ‘weekend family outing’, etc. based on much higher costs & longer travel time for such private trips. If these goals are set, pursued & achieved, it would make capital hungry mass transit systems to operate without subsidies by economics of scale. This is perhaps yet another reason why traffic restraints are a necessity – mass transits involve investments amounting to billions of dollars & the outcomes have to be productive with large passenger volumes & substantial revenues to meet operating costs, expansions /modernization & for debt servicing whilst minimizing financial risks & to improve efficiency & competitiveness of the city. The Laissez Faire approach being followed with no traffic regulation or restraint will not yield any of these desirable results. Trains will be running with passenger volumes much below projections & well below designed capacities with meager revenues, such as the MRTS in Chennai, or the Delhi & Kolkata Metros, necessitating government subsidies – whilst the local governments have continued to argue that they have fulfilled their obligations by providing transport, & it’s the public that has to do the rest.

Whilst the transition to a stifled, discipline–imposing approach from the present unrestrained road supply–oriented sort of development can be a formidable task, it is also clear that there are no choices but to gradually enforce traffic restraints as & when better quality public transport alternatives are made available. It will never be possible to end traffic congestion by widening roads or building new ones – the city cannot ‘build’ its way out of the problem – additional road construction without traffic restraint mechanisms has only resulted in even more traffic congestion – this is generally true worldwide.

Lastly, the city now no longer needs to appear competitive & business friendly, at least as far as restraining traffic is concerned. Business investments are flowing into the city as usual, & will probably improve if congestion is dealt with some harsh measures & reduced successfully – Singapore is an example for this. Efficient, time-saving public transport is the key to address congestion problems, even at the expense of private vehicles – this is obvious & is being demanded now by most business heads. Urban experts, such as Professor Badami, have emphasized the same, time & again in many forums.

Part III: South East CBD areas not connected

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South East CBD areas not connected.
The attached Sketch “CTTP–No MRTS within SE CBD” indicates that the very large area marked by a red outline – the South-Eastern quadrant of the inner core area within CRR that has important CBD points such as JC Rd (105,000 PCUs), KH Rd (96,000 PCUs), Lalbagh Rd (61,000 PCUs), Corporation /Hudson Circle & Richmond Circle does not have convenient Mass transit within easy reach. Very large nos. of commuters travel to activity centers around these areas daily & school going children /staff to various schools & offices arriving by private vehicles choke up Richmond /Residency roads during school times. The only TTMC at Shantinagar may not attract these commuters due to the inconvenience of long distances, transfer to buses & the time delay involved.

A possible way to address this problem is to extend the Monorail /Light rail route (Kathriguppe to National College) past National college to pass through Sajjan-Rao circle, Minerva, JC road, Corporation, Hudson circle, RRM road, Richmond circle & Residency road to terminate at Rex cinema & have an interchange with the proposed NE–SE Metro route (Phase-2). This routing had been proposed earlier for ELRTS, which had since been abandoned. At sometime in the future, loads may become heavy during peak hours on the E–W line as it is the only line planned to connect the two N–S lines & the extension will also provide another much needed connection between the two N–S lines through the core area.





Part III: ITPL and surrounding areas not covered

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Dense areas leading up to ITPL & surroundings not covered
The recommended Metro transit corridor (in Phase-2) to Whitefield is shown passing along the existing Airport road straight east towards Varthur, thence northwards towards Whitefield Commuter railway station. Thus, the more developed areas in Whitefield, where most tech companies, businesses & high-rise residences are situated, are not covered. It may be far more functional if this route could turn left at Karunashraya & pass through Kundalahalli cross, turn right opposite Graphite India & pass through KIADB area, ITPL & Kadugodi before aligning with Whitefield road. There are no direct mass-transit routes otherwise recommended to these points in the CTTP, & a TTMC proposed at ITPL may not help as commuters would need to interchange modes. Quality seeking professionals, who are sensitive to traffic delays, detest inconveniences such as transfers, any time penalty that usually cannot be avoided when changing modes & who generally use private vehicles, commute daily to these areas, & will also start preferring the Metro with the convenience of this realignment & direct connectivity. An additional rapid bus corridor can be arranged from Marathalli /Karunashraya to Whitefield CR station via the broad Varthur road to fill the gap there as a result of this re-alignment, if volumes justify the need.