Transportation Solutions for Bangalore

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Everyone has opinions and ideas on solutions for Bangalore's transportation woes. This book will list some popular and comprehensive ones that came up in various discussions.

Economical Transportation Solutions for Sustainable Bangalore

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TrafficPedestrian InfrastructurePublic Transport

Big Idea for Transportation in Bangalore - Plan for Non Motorized Transportation in Bangalore

When people refer to Bangalore, they immediately visualise the chaotic traffic scenario. A lot of concern has been expressed over the years on the congestion issue with government launching several schemes to improve its traffic (Building several Roads, Flyovers etc) but alas no solution!!


Bangalore has approximately 6.8 million trips daily. Urban sprawl in years has increased the trip lengths, which has resulted in decreasing mode share of public transportation and increase in private automobiles. The problem is not insufficient roads as made out by the authorities but the priority given to improve vehicular flow rather than improving people movements. The transportation share is nearly 20% of the Bangalore's landuse which simulates international practice. Than why so much congestion?
As per my estimate Bangalore loses out nearly 208 million Rs per day due to congestion (A very Conservative Estimate).
The root cause for congestion can be known from the fact that the 88% of total vehicles constitute only two wheelers and four wheelers, which contribute only 39% of total Trips.


It is very surprising to know that nearly 25% of trips are made in range of 1-5 km. Nearly 40% of those trips are made by motorised share (Cars/Bikes). We need to eliminate those trips by using non motorised transportation such as by walking, cycling etc.

Provide Pedestrian Facilities.

Bangalore lacks good pedestrian facilities. Pedestrians have to compete with vehicles, hawkers and encroachment to gain space. It is fact that nearly 40% of people killed in accidents in Bangalore are pedestrians. Improving footpaths are very economical way of sustainable transportation, which we often neglect. The pedestrian crossings are very rare to find in Bangalore roads. In fact you may find more number of flyovers in Bangalore than grade separated pedestrian facilities. Authorities need to improve footpaths/ provide pedestrian facilities at war footing.

Provide Cycling Facilities

Cycling as a mode of transport is virtually non-existent in Bangalore (less than 2%). Bangalore has nearly 477853 cycles. Such a large number of cycles does not transform into trips on roads basically due to lack of facilities (less than 15% operational trips). If proper facilities such as cycle tracks are provided by the authorities than the mode share has the potential to improve in Bangalore. It can also be developed as a feeder to public transportation by providing small parking facilities near prominent bus stops. Internationally the City-Bike System is the new big thing. It involves provision of city bikes with proper infrastructure (monthly-annually-fees) with several parking lots provided by the private party. It is considered to be the best option to demotorise thus having a sustainable city.

Stats From CTTP

Some related stats from Bangalore's CTTP (Chapter 3).

Distribution of Trips by Purpose
Purpose No. % Share
Home Based Work 1839819 29.27
Home Based Education 738799 11.75
Home Based Others 649737 10.34
Non-home based 92347 1.47
Employer Business 11747 0.19
Return 2953229 46.98
Total 6285678 100

Distribution of Trips by Mode of Travel
PT Car 2-Wheeler IPT Cycle Walk Total
With Walk
2634471 416304 1845476 726425 139407 523597 6285680
41.91% 6.62% 29.36% 11.56% 2.22% 8.33% 100.00%
Without Walk
2634471 416304 1845476 726425 139407 0 5762083
45.72% 7.22% 32.03% 12.61% 2.42% 0.00% 100.00%

Distribution of Trip Length by Purpose of Travel
Trip Length (KMS) Home Based Work Home Based Education Home Based Other Non Home Based Employer Business Return Total
0 to 2 327907 137356 28133 4852 1681 223144 723074
2 to 5 278904 78626 120412 17595 1712 458116 955365
5 to 10 433673 73612 87537 26870 1371 579279 1202342
10 to 15 422495 235376 222539 21646 3759 891636 1797451
15 to 20 281664 156917 148359 14431 2506 594424 1198301
20 to 35 95176 55422 41802 2939 675 200621 396636
> 35 0 1490 954 4013 43 6011 12511
Total 1839819 738800 649737 92346 11747 2953230 6285680
Avg. Trip Length 9.26 10.88 11.52 10.98 10.72 11.08 10.57
Average trip length for education is higher than average trip lengths for work. CTTP attributes this to higher education trips. It says since many educational institutions such as the Bangalore University, are on the outskirts of the city, the education trip length is high. CTTP also says, the percentage of education trips is comparatively low indicating that lot of education trips at primary and secondary level are intra zonal, due to availability such schools within most zones.

Distribution of Trips by Mode & Trip Length
Trip Length (KMS) Bus Car Two Wheeler Three Wheeler Cycle Walk Total
0 to 2 197 46 142633 0 59137 521061 723074
2 to 5 117434 27809 482306 279891 45390 2536 955365
5 to 10 134333 151603 725082 165814 25509 0 1202342
10 to 15 1429620 152409 316173 192265 6560 0 2097026
15 to 20 612694 65318 135503 82399 2811 0 898725
20 to 35 329555 17627 43779 5675 0 0 396636
> 35 10639 1492 0 381 0 0 12511
Total 2634471 416304 1845476 726425 139407 523597 6285680
Avg. Trip Length 14.99 11.59 8.02 8.59 3.88 1.01 10.57

Trees and Transportation

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Trees in trouble (
Plans are afoot to fell thousands of trees to make way for roads. Kathyayini Chamaraj wonders why trees have to always bear the brunt of development.

The voiceless victims of development, or rather, the devastation of Bangalore are its road-side trees, which until now also constituted its pride and soul. But, in the mercenary rush characteristic of new Bangalore, trees are considered a nuisance to be hacked away at the slightest inconvenience.

The latest is, of course, that the trees are a hindrance to people rushing about in their individual cocoons, called cars. Whole lines of trees on 84 roads, numbering thousands, are to be hacked away because Bangalore, if it has to be a global city with any self-respect, has to have 6-laned roads.

Alternative Law Forum, CIVIC, Environment Support Group, and a few concerned individuals, under the banner of Hasiru Usiru (HU), are daring to raise their voice against this collective suicide.

The body authorised to give permission for felling trees in any urban area is the Tree Authority, to be set up under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976.
* HU has questioned whether this  has been constituted, with three non-official representatives, and if its permission has been taken for the large-scale felling of trees.
* HU has questioned whether road-widening is necessary at all since the proposed Metro will be passing through many of these areas and the quantum of vehicular traffic is expected to reduce on these roads.

Surprisingly, the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), which has been passed by the Union Cabinet in 2006, has enlightened elements, which have come as a god-send to HU activists.

The vision of NUTP is to recognise that “people occupy centre-stage in our cities and all plans would be for their common benefit and well being”. The NUTP recognises that “a disproportionate amount of road space is being allocated to personal vehicles”. The mission of the NUTP is hence to bring about “a more equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles, as its main focus” and “encourage greater use of public transport and non-motorised modes”.

The NUTP says the vision and mission can be achieved “by reserving lanes and corridors exclusively for public transport and non-motorised modes of travel”. The drawings of the plans to widen some of the roads, such as Palace Road and Seshadri Road, which have been given to HU, merely show two red lines indicating the new width of the road. The final design of the roads has not been given. (See below for these drawings)

HU has been questioning why an earlier decision to create dedicated lanes for cycles and two and three-wheelers, while retaining the trees as the median, was given up, after public assurances regarding the same were given in newspapers?  Urban Planner Dr S Prasanna has submitted that it is possible to do this. In Bangalore, where the chaos and deaths are mainly due to cycles and two and three-wheelers weaving in and out amidst 4-wheelers, there is a case for such a design for the road. This would not only preserve the road’s aesthetics and be environment-friendly, but also add to road capacity, while enhancing safety and speed of travel.

The NUTP calls for the setting up of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority in all 1-million plus cities for better coordination. Karnataka is however one of the first states which has done this by setting up the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA). The NUTP also calls for an ‘integrated urban transport policy and plan’ which looks at multi-dimensional ways of de-congesting the city. Widening roads has never provided the solution for congestion anywhere in the world.

The NUTP states that the Centre is willing to finance projects that “divert funds from projects that add to road capacity towards public transit systems” and “to promote non-motorised transport”.  These points could be made use of to acquire more land, if necessary, along these roads to create additional lanes, while retaining the trees. As most of the lands in these areas belong to government, this should not be difficult.

In response to the memorandum submitted on 30.10.07 to the Governor by CIVIC on behalf of HU, the Chief Secretary & Chairman of the BMLTA called for a special meeting of the BMLTA and allowed CIVIC to make a 10-minute presentation on November 30, 2007. The meeting failed to address almost all of the concerns expressed by HU.  Disappointed, a public meeting was called by HU on December 20, 2007. However, not a single member of BMLTA participated.

Meanwhile, a Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Bangalore (CTTPB) has been drawn up by KUIDFC, accepts all the suggestions made in the NUTP but in its implementation plan, includes only a few of the measures. It does identify certain out-lying roads for the creation of Bus Rapid Transport System. But, it seems to accept road-widening as inevitable and hence many of the measures suggested and allocations made are for road-widening and construction of underpasses. However, there are no plans for introducing fiscal incentives and disincentives, such as congestion tax, graded parking fees, etc; no identification of only-pedestrian-zones, NMV zones; car-free days, etc. which could all be undertaken in the short-term to reduce personal vehicles on the roads.

There have also been reminders from the Ministry of Urban Development to the State. The Secretary to the Government of India has requested feedback from State authorities on action taken for the implementation of NUTP 2006.

The suggestions of HU were for an integrated, holistic, sustainable and equitable urban transport system for Bangalore. The onus to establish the rationale, on the same lines, for the current ad hoc decision to widen roads and fell trees, lies on the current decision-makers. Until the rationale and justification for the current decision is established, the plans to fell trees must be put on hold.

External Links (related work)

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This consolidation is a set of links to related work available on the web.

> Two PowerPoint presentations by Das GV on AuthorStream:

  1. Bangalore Traffic - Do we have a problem?
  2. Bangalore Traffic Mess - The Solution.



Metro Rail too much to handle - Can we leapfrog...

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Metro RailTrafficPublic Transport
Where as the need of a high capacity transit system for our cities is beyond any doubt,at a cost of Rs. 16000 crores for about 33 kms., as it stands on this day and further escalation anticipated, Bangalore Metro looks pretty expensive. Can Bangalore leapfrog into a next generation public transport system ? The answer today is a resounding "YES". The new system called MetroLITE will in turn use a fleet of eco-friendly vehicles - 15-seater open minibus and auto-rickshaw running on electric or 4-stroke LPG, electric cars, electric scooters and lots of bicycles - parked at demand-responsive locations around the city. These will be used to service short trips and feeder trips to an advanced form of on-demand bus service and carpooling. Metro/mono rail will be used at the high density corridors "at grade", wherever required. Together, it is estimated that at an average cost of Rs. 20 crores per kilometer for an estimated network of 600 kms., we can have a full-fledged transport system - that will offer personalised mobility services - for Rs. 12000 crores. Compare this with Metro Rail cost of Rs. 16,000 crores for 33 kms. A way to go...

PIL - To Sort out the Transport Mess

[Note: Work in progress - Copied from an email exchange, needs to be merged with the the PIL draft itself]

Our basic complaint is ----- 

In the past, the authorities had been trying to address street congestion only by expanding common use roadways & building flyovers – what normally would seem an easy solution to overcome such problems, apparently. However, this is a temporary measure, at best, & such responses by them were obviously incorrect in the first place. The correct response should have been to expand roads, whilst simultaneously work on solutions that try to keep a check on the growth in traffic, such as by charging high parking fees or by bringing in parking restrictions, controlling supply of parking slots, allocating lanes for buses as & when roads were being widened, creating infrastructure for faster bus movements (such as bus-only overhead ramps or underpasses), creating better pedestrian & bicycle infrastructure, & charging high for private vehicle ownership (high, annual taxes), etc.. 

None of these restraining tools had been used. Now, even after creation of the necessary lead institution, as recommended by NUTP, the various bodies still continue to address congestion in exactly the same tested & failed way. 

Referring to Srivathsa's ideas:

a)   On the complaint, we might want to add some data to it - e.g. the number of pedestrian deaths over the past 2 years, photographs of pavements along the arterial roads, width of pavements along arterial roads (we can take measurements) and check vs. IRC.  You can add Sankey Road to your list (see the pavement next to the Golf course).  The more details we have (even if as annexures) the better the chance we have.

Absolutely – Pavement widths, their poor condition with pictures can provide valuable support. For unsafe conditions, & particularly the vulnerability of pedestrians to injury & deaths, analysis /reports by Secon Pvt Ltd (with data up to 2006), titled “Bangalore: Silicon City or Black City?” could be used, with their consent (This had been posted earlier by TS). Their article had also appeared on World Transport Policy & Practice, Volume 13, Number 2, Oct-2007, by Eco-Logica, UK. These can be attached. We will require to get updates of this from Traffic Police.

b)   You also say that - "negligible efforts at prioritizing public transport by the concerned authorities."  BMTC can show how many buses they have added in the past 1 year and say that this is more than what even Bombay has added.   So how can we say that public transport has not been given priority.  (I think you are right, but what I think is not important).  What do we mean by prioritizing public transport?  - Bus lanes? better bus stops ?

What I meant was that road & related infrastructure developments are being put in place for creating common mixed-use road facilities, usable by all, with no efforts to segregate public transport buses & it’s users. No road investments have been made or are planned for 'bus only' use, not to mention proper sidewalks & cycle stands, at least at the approaches to bus stops. Whilst we concede that whole networks of bus-only infrastructure (such as a full-BRTS with physically separated lanes) is impossible, if not very difficult to plan on existing streets, at least where new additions are being made, such as flyovers or underpasses, provisions for buses to escape signal delays, etc. are not even being considered, even after the ‘discovery’ of quick installation underpasses, or ‘magic boxes’ as they are being referred to.

The only bus-exclusive facility in the city is outside the bus terminus in majestic, near railway station – one carriageway (on the right side) has been made bus exclusive. Narrow streets in market areas that see a lot of pedestrian movements (Chikpet, Balepet, Commercial street, Brigade road, Malleswaram–Sampige road, Gandhi bazaar, roads around Jayanagar 4th Block complex, Yeswanthpur market, etc) should have been reserved only for buses, bicycles & pedestrians a long time ago when private vehicle ownership levels were beginning to rise steeply, but none of this was done to discourage them.

District Office rd (facing Cauvery bhavan, near KG rd), Raja Ram Mohan Roy rd, Kasturba rd (Hudson circle to UB junction), Nrupathunga rd, Seshadri rd – these wide roads in the heart of the city have all been made one-ways & have nearly five lanes each, many over 20m wide. About 6-7m could easily have been left for buses on one side (two bus lanes, to allow buses to overtake one another as necessary). Such a move would also have provided pedestrians some secure havens. Pedestrian walkways would have received more attention at least along these bus routes – Such efforts for bus prioritization have been Nil.

Likewise, when Richmond & Residency roads were made one-ways, Richmond circle flyover could have been converted to a bus-use only facility, which would have speeded them up & made best use of the now outdated flyover.

A questionable new-elevated road coming up over Hosur rd – the financing modes may not permit bus lanes over these. It is also quite logical to assume that BMRC will not plan a Metro alignment along Hosur road now since this was not planned & allowed for when constructing the tollway. When all this is known, there are still no plans for bus lanes at the bottom. Thus, this is again going to benefit private vehicles & encourages more car & 2-wheeler use, whilst bus commuting gets discouraged.

Proposals such as above may face political difficulties because they run counter to pro-growth forces & motor-vehicle owners, but a balance has to be reached somewhere - the tilt is excessive in trying to be overly accommodative to private vehicles, whilst ignoring the public transport users.

A key point in NUTP recommends exactly this – to encourage & support investments in facilities that would wean people away from the use of personal vehicles rather than build facilities which would encourage greater use of personal motor vehicles.

The Laissez Faire approach which provides infrastructure without focus on right of ways for buses or other non-motorized modes & not allocating sufficient pedestrian walkway widths is benefiting only car & 2-wheeler users as they, being more nimble, challenge buses, bicycles & pedestrians, & win the battle on the streets. This promotes further motorization & greater use of private vehicles, & the problem gets even worse

c)  You might want to add how the one-ways have made life difficult for the bus commuter and that this is the ultimate road widening tactic and things still have not improved.  We can count the number of pedestrian crossing facilities along the major roads.

One-ways can serve to discourage private vehicle ownership, but the focus has been to increase the speed of the flow of vehicles, & not to discourage them. As already mentioned, peripheral lane/s on the wider one-ways could have been left for buses, for buses to move either along the same way or in the opposite direction to plan routes better with savings in time, costs & in improving efficiency. A test of this was once done on District Office road, but was soon abandonned without any hard work by various bodies to overcome obstacles. The authorities clearly take the easy ‘exit’ route out, rather than to go through some difficulties & establish more permanent solutions.

Pedestrian crossings are put up at many spots now, but they are generally poorly planned, most of them being overhead, are not preferred since secure infrastructure for approaches & exits to stairways are far from satisfactory. If continuous, uninterrupted & even pedestrian walkways are provided leading up to the stairway & also past it, the utilization might improve.

A pedestrian underpass at BDA junction is a classic example – this leads nowhere as pedestrians have to negotiate the barrage of vehicles flowing past it’s mouths.

d)  How much money has been spent on flyovers in the last 5 years and what improvement has it brought is another piece of data that will help. Richmond Circle flyover is the perfect example of money down the drain.  The flyover was built and then the roads were made one-ways.  The original flyover was a unidirectional design.  Now we have a policeman on top!!!

Very Right, I think. Money spent on flyovers in the last 5 years have resulted in worse problems of congestion as they shift bottleneck from place to place. We might have to RTI for the amounts spent.

e) Judges normally allow PILs only as a last resort and if all other steps have failed.  THey will ask things like - have you met Mr. Gupta?  Have you met Mr. Subramanya and made your case to them?  What was their response? Why have you come to us?  What would our response be?

I agree that PILs will be allowed only if merited – We have to prepare for this. We have held meetings with various bodies, such as BMTC, BMLTA & need to meet them again, perhaps. We have made a possible idea presentation for bus priority lanes to feed metro to BBMP, & might want to check his position on this, just to be clear, although we know now that all efforts are to take the easiest of options that encourage private vehicle use & ignore all others, except for some token efforts to ward off criticism.

As Pranav mentioned, we will engage with the lawyer & the various bodies in parallel. Only when responses from authorities convince our suspicions will we decide to file the PIL, but I believe we must continue with these efforts.

f)  I think the other thing that we need to fight against is corporators announcing grade separators in their localities.  Traffic improvement must be left to BMLTA.  Corporators should focus on local improvements (at least in my opinion) and be the voice of the people.

Absolutely. Ministers & Corporators competing for laurels is another piece of evidence that suggests that our leaders are immature & incapable. How much can we expect from such lame duck administrators ? The only answer to such misaligned interests is for us to file PILs to try to shake them up !!

Your further comments :

Coordination can be achieved by using the BMLTA better – this is a key point. We are not asking the judge to install a mechanism, he will not go in that direction.  They cannot get into legislation.  They can however demand that existing mechanisms and institutions work as intended. We have to prove that the BMLTA is not working as intended and because it has not been given the powers originally intended.  Merely saying so will not be enough.  Is it the speed of execution that is being affected?  Is it the quality of execution that is being affected ?

Perfect Summation. We do not need any more bodies since the administration is already bloated, as it is.

A big question mark here – does the BMLTA have the necessary regulatory skills ? Or is it just another entity comprising bureaucrats with little expertise ? This need not necessarily be out of the purview of the judiciary, & is very relevant. Most of the institutions are run by bureaucrats with poor abilities & in the typical vintage India IAS style, totally disconnected from realities. These officials further their personal & departmental interests in that order. Why should ABIDE come into existence now ? This role should have been left for BMLTA. If it is not well equipped with technocrats & traffic experts, then they should be trained or hired afresh.

Bad policies can be reduced by sticking to the CTTP (are we sure?)

Personally, I am not convinced either as the CTTP recommended alignments for Metro & BRT are more supply oriented & not based on where demand is (ie. purely based on existing road demographics, & without any innovative attempts) – bus priority measures recommended within ORR are only at the periphery, whereas needs are far greater within ORR. Further, there is at least one other gaping hole – traffic projections (based on models) predict increases in traffic volumes even after all mass transport & road additions /improvements by 2025. Strangely, the CTTP has not addressed solutions for this at all, & in fact, seems to accept it.

Are footpaths not being provided though the CTTP says so?  Are pedestrian facilities not being provided?  The BBMP will turn around and say that they can't do everything in one year - but they have a plan for everything and all will be fine in 5 years.

This is quite correct – we will need to get pictures of the more recent developments by BBMP proving that their approach continues to be negligent of pedestrians. The poor condition of sidewalks, narrow widths, etc., diverge completely from IRC guidelines /NUTP /CTTP, all of which have recommended improvements to pedestrian facilities.

In a nutshell - we have to show causative linkages among the symptoms and what we believe are the root causes.

Very True, & let’s move – it might have some value for the city, even if we do not succeed in bringing about any changes !!

Draft PIL

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The City’s inhabitants have been subject to unscientific methods of traffic control & regulation that are relentlessly being pursued by the responsible authorities. This has seriously jeopardized pedestrian safety & movement on the streets. It has also increased dependence on private motorized modes for mobility, forcing people away from walking, bicycling & public transport. There has been minimal consideration for the welfare of pedestrians & bicyclists & negligible efforts at prioritizing public transport by the concerned authorities. This has led to a huge increase in the no. of motor vehicles in the city.

Sidewalks for pedestrians on major arterial roads that are being widened, such as Racecourse road & Seshadri road have deliberately been made very narrow & left uneven, reflecting low priority, whilst vehicle carriageways have been made excessively wide after increased road width available with land acquisitions.

Despite evidence & examples that such unscientific road development results in even more private motorized traffic that slows down movement of public transport & severely disadvantages walking & bicycling, the city corporation continues with these undesirable methods to deal with traffic & congestion. These unsatisfactory responses to the needs of the city by the city corporation must be stopped urgently as it has been causing a great deal of inconveniences to the general public. Unless this is halted, the quality of life in the city will keep deteriorating further.

The administrative structure & mechanisms have clearly failed & have not been up to the task. In fact, they appear clueless about steps to be taken to rectify the situation. A well coordinated & planned effort by all concerned agencies is what is required to address the urgent issue of street congestion in the city, but such a plan is yet to be prepared, though a study with recommendations has been ready for long.


To prevent such singular & one-sided attention & others from being ignored, the central government’s National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP-2006) had prescribed the formation of a unified Metropolitan Transport Authority to co-ordinate with various bodies & to halt such indiscriminate, unplanned responses that only aggravate problems. The State government had accordingly constituted the following bodies:

1)      The State Directorate of Urban Land Transport [DULT], under the Urban Development Department vide Order No. UDD 134 BMR 2006 (I), dated 8.3.2007.

2)      Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA), vide Order No. UDD 134 BMR 2006 (2), dated 9.3.2007 with the following functions :

  • To co-ordinate all land transport matters in Bangalore Metropolitan Region.
  • To prepare a detailed Master Plan for Transport Infrastructure based on the Comprehensive Traffic and Transport Study (CTTS) for Bangalore.
  • To oversee implementation of all transportation projects.
  • To appraise and recommend transportation and infrastructure projects for bilateral / bilateral Central assistance.
  • To function as empowered Committee for all Urban Transportation Projects.
  • To initiate action for a regulatory framework for all land transport systems in BMR.
  • To initiates steps, where feasible for common ticketing system.
  • Take any other decision for the integrated urban transport and land use planning and Implementation of the projects.

However, the existence of these bodies for over 1½ years has had no effect so far & no steps have been taken to reverse this unsatisfactory trend. No attempts have been made to bring about much needed changes. Pedestrians & bicyclists continue to be losers, whilst public road transport has become time-consuming for commuters. Pollution levels have been worsening in the city.


Environment friendly measures that need to be promoted are being ignored. Cleaner, greener initiatives in the city & with road transport planning have so far been grossly inadequate with large increases in traffic volumes. Thus, the central governments’ policies & recommendations under the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP-2006) have not been adhered to & in fact, the city’s development has diverged away from NUTP-2006 guidelines. Norms for street planning, as outlined by Indian Road Congress (IRC) have also been ignored as pedestrian facilities have been seriously compromised with narrow, broken down sidewalks that are not in conformity with prescribed guidelines. There have been no bicycle-friendly initiatives as per NUTP-2006 & IRC guidelines. The green cover with shady trees by the street sides is being destroyed with each road widening.

Whilst BMRCL is constructing the first phase of a Metro-rail network based on previous study recommendations, other government bodies have ignored most other recommendations as outlined in the latest transport study (CTTS). The study had recommended a Commuter rail system (CRS) on existing rail tracks, a Bus rapid system (BRT) & also a Light-rail (or Monorail) system. None of these systems are being pursued nor planned yet, though it has been over 1½ years since the study had been concluded. The city corporation has, contrary to recommendations, turned it’s attention to provide ‘signal-free’ corridors on Bellary road (road to new airport) & on eastern half of Outer ring road for all traffic now – an effort echoing it’s past responses to increased traffic scenarios. Such recommendations were never made in the CTTS study report. Prioritized bus services, or BRT was what had been recommended on Bellary road & on eastern half of ORR.


1)     Generally, the relevant transport bodies, such as BMTC, SWR & BMRCL, the body that is building the Metro-rail system, aided by the city corporation (BBMP) & the City Traffic Police must plan a complete shift out from the present stalemate. They need to work as a team with a common goal, with full coordination under the direction of BMLTA, the Unified Transport Authority for Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR).

2)     Based on the recommendations from CTTS, all relevant bodies must together prepare a plan to relieve the city’s roads of excessive traffic. Such a plan must include development of all public mass transport systems with full details, & include measures to restrain traffic with TDM principles, as will be necessary once the Metro rail & other mass-transit system/s are operational in the city. Once a plan for decongestion & various mass transport route alignments & modes, etc. is ready, & agreed /accepted by all bodies, it must be well publicized for public support & objections, if any, & for eventual implementation. Once finalized, each body must adhere to it’s responsibilities as per the plan with no deviations, whatsoever, unless extraneous conditions warrant a shift, as agreed to, by all parties. All through these phases, the concerned agencies must coordinate & work with full co-operation with one another.

3)     The plan developed as above must include alternatives in case construction of one or more of the various modes of mass transport lag behind in time.

4)     Since the creation of DULT /BMLTA has had no impact whatsoever on the city’s road traffic & public transport administration until now, it is desirable that BMLTA be accorded more statutory powers to provide stable & full umbrella arrangements for overseeing all aspects for relieving congestion & public mass transport development, including scrutiny & approving various road development schemes by the city corporation (BBMP), whilst ensuring that future demand analysis that takes account of an operational Metro rail system & also Commuter Rail /BRT systems is mandatory for all future road developments.

5)     Construction of phase-1 of the Metro rail project is expected to be completed by 2012 & trains would become operational from then on. The concerned authorities do not seem to have charted what feeder bus routes would be necessary to help commuters reach the Metro stations. The various bodies under BMLTA, particularly BMRCL, BMTC & SWR need to urgently commission a joint study & finalize bus feeder system requirements & routes for the Metro-rail for all phase-1 stations & commuter rail stations along routes that may become operational. Based on this study, near term road development programs can be finalized, instead of ad-hoc road widening, as has been the case to-date.

6)     The various transport bodies also need to conduct a study well in advance before completion of construction of phase-2 of the Metro-rail (& phase-3, if there is a 3rd phase), to determine what feeder routes would be necessary, taking into consideration other modes of mass transits that might also come up by then.

7)     The plan must also include a study to be carried out at an appropriate time to work on feasibility & for appointing a regulatory body to pave the way for privatization of bus services within the city as the no. of routes would be enormous with increased areas & shorter feeder routes, without any compromise to commuters’ interests.

Tax Sops to encourage use of Public transport (BMTC) ?

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Public Transport

About the above discussion on Poor response BMTC I have following suggestion where in a common man is encouraged to use Public transport by giving Tax sops to him by Governament.

Most of the private companies issue food coupons on the monthly basis to their employees. With these coupons employees are forced to do purhcases in the outlets even though they are not comfortable with it. In the similar lines BMTC/Govt should issue monthly BMTC prepaid vouchers/passes where in the bearer of such voucher/passes is entitled for a ride using this transport. The passes should be compulsarily issued by all by the employers in exchange of travel allowance. And there is a income tax benifit out of it as well, which will make employees to use it.

This will enforce many people who has the habit of going to MG Rd/Commercial st/To Office using their private vehicles, use this facility(public transport).

The govt can also think of converting Rs. 800/- pm given towards transportation allowance to the employees to these BMTC vouchers. I think this is perhaps the the good way to handle laziness of people.

Please put in your views,
Srinivas Rao. M

Urban Transportation reforms around the BMLTA concept

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In the telecom space, you have TRAI which is a national level regulatory body. Rightly so, since telecom networks have national footprint through interconnections, it need not be looked at as a state subject. Drawing a parallel for our state, think of extending BMLTA concept - a Karnataka state land transport authority (KSLTA). Why so? Because we want efficient two or three change connectivity from Whitefield to Haradanahalli as well, and not just to Jayanagar or Malleswaram. Just like the primary schools, every region needs good connectivity.


KSLTA can have circles defined for local transportation, just the way telecom world has circles that span 1 or more states. There could be a fixed number of operators in each circle. Some rolling stock operators could be allowed the equivalent of "STD", meaning they can offer inter-circle transportation as well, but there would be separate set of norms for long distance (inter circle) routes. The norms would look like this

  • Mandatory direct or indirect connectivity between hubs like Bangalore and remote and potentially non-profitable areas.
  • Not mixing the local and long distance loads
  • Adhering to price guidelines, there could be two - one for local and another for long haul commutes.
  • Guidelines on safety, operating conditions and quality of service (similar stuff as in UP govt's note about opening up its road transport sector)

"Roaming" should be a strict no no. Meaning, bus registered in one circle must operate in that circle. The inter-circle buses must do only long haul (inter-circle) business. So, a bus going from Bangalore to Kolar can't stop at HAL to pick up passengers for Marathahalli and Whitefield.

Inter state routes would require some more thinking, as there could be different sets of norms across states. A "reciprocal slot" approach could work here, basically on the lines of how international air routes are worked out. So, as an example, there would be equal number of bus trips originating and ending at Bangalore and Chennai (say 100 from Chennai, and 100 from Bangalore). But a Bangalore based operator could "lease" out its route to a Chennai operator (like how Air India does on many international routes today, it can't afford to operate, so gives them out to that country's carrier).

To summarize all of above:

  • In such a world, there wouldn't be a BMLTA, only a KSLTA. Why? Because you don't want to enhance public transportation only in Bangalore Metro Region, you need it everywhere. Its a basic, like primary education. Or else, you will be expanding Bangalore's boundary every 5 years, whereas, 'equal' development will create "peer" hubs around Bangalore without requiring special attentions and more B* bodies.
  • There would be operating circles. Bangalore Metro region could be one. Mangalore-Udupi region could be another. There will be some study required to carve out these circles. Can't have too many of them, nor too few.
  • Inter-state routes will be regulated as well, so that Karnataka based operators get eqaul share of any KA city's prosperity. Number of intestate routes could be driven by demand. But there must be some reciprocal arrangement.
  • Last, KSRTC, BMTC etc can choose to continue to exist. They can be given the first right of refusal in all KA circles. They could be given a fixed percentage on all interstate routes. And if they get their act together (they certainly can, look, they are so much better than many other state's operators), perhaps KSRTC/BMTC will exist and prosper like BSNL and MTNL!

How does it sound? If someone can do a Karnataka map with possible "local transportation" circles, that will add some cheese here.

Bengaluru Light Rail

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Metro Rail

A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams also run on main-line train tracks for greater flexibility and convenience. Most tram-trains are standard gauge, which facilitates sharing track with standard gauge mainline trains. Tram-trains have dual equipment to suit the respective needs of tram and train, such as support for multiple voltages and safety equipment such as train stops.


Example of such light rail include the Bombardier Flexity swift model which can share metro infrastructure or run on streets

Bombardier Flexity SwiftFlexity swift on street

This light rail system can be run as a connector service to the metro. This can run at grade on medians of broad roads like ORR, IRR, Bellary road etc. It can also run on elevated tracks or go underground where necessary. It can share metro infrastructure (power lines, signaling systems, rails, low platforms) and because it is low floor it is disabled, stroller and luggage friendly and can also double up as connections to airport. 

My proposal is to run such a light rail along the following routes

1. IRR connecting Byappanahalli Metro station to Madivala serving Indiranagar, Airport road, EGL Business park, Koramangala along the way.

2. ORR Connecting Peenya to KRPuram

3. Bellary road Connecting MG road/Chinnaswamy metro station to Hebbal interchange 

4. Chord road Connecting soap factory metro station to Vijaynagar Metro 

5. ORR connecting KR Puram to Silk board.

6. Bannerghatta road Connecting Silk board to RV road metro station via madivala.

7. ORR connecting mysore road metro station to Silk board