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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:

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 :

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.


srkulhalli's picture

CTTP ... more discussion

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If ever you decide to stand for Mayor or some such, you would have my vote :). Good attention to detailing. Further comments on your comments - 1. I actually havent been through the previous reports and all my little information was second hand. I also meant some insight into the engineering and finances of each of these options - eg: could be footprints, turning radius, vibration/noise estimates, cost breakdown etc... 2. You are right about this one on both counts. But fundamentally they should have one working example where such an extrapolation has been reasonably correct. Otherwise it is a little in the air. That is what I meant by closed loop. 3.Yes, suburban rail cannot alone be used - agreed. But if it is well integrated into the proposed mass transport network, it is a very cost effective solution. I am not sure we are so limited by distances as much as travel times. We are quite densely packed and as such distances are relatively lesser. What matters is having right of way. If I can travel along the PRR at 80 kmph/ I can reach the airport from electronic city within an hour, and it makes it a very viable alternative. If we can have planned townships along the route, it will help decongest a lot of Bangalore and spur development on the periphery. 4. Am in some agreement here. Starting with BRTS may be OK. What is important is that there is provision to replace it with a high speed surface rail corridor if the demand grows. I read somewhere, that for a surface METRO it would need to expanded by 17m, I would post that link seperately. Am not sure of the numbers myself. Key is that the planning and provisioning needs to be done upfront. Building can be done only on a need basis. But costs come down 10X or more if we have thought it through upahead. On BRTS, just like skybus is not a proven technology, I would say BRTS is not a proven technology. I would like to see it working in a METRO city in India. I would take a step back and say there is a lot of efficiency improvement that can be done to the current bus system that would itself start showing major improvement. Practically, hard for it to happen. BRTS maybe a good retrofit, becuase eleveated METROs are vey expensive. But if you are starting from scratch, it is better to have a Mass transport rail corridor provisioned for, especially in densely populated cities. As I said if its on surface and planned for with right of way, its not much expensive. These again need to be well integrated and there is no reason why they cannot become successful. Small isloated sections, not well connected, lacking comfort etc meant their doomed from start. Its not the technology per se - its how well it is planned. I want to go through your BRTS proposals and would comment on them seperately. Do have some reservations on them. 6. I think Devesh link on the Airport link covered some of the points. Breifly - Seperate check in with seating can be obtained by having exclusive bogies or even exclusive trains on the same METRO corridor. DOesnt justify a seperate link. With less than 1/2 that amount, one can lay surface metro along the complete PRR. As a resident of Electronic city, I would prefer an hours journey along the METRO PRR to airport than an hour and half to the city centre followed by a change over and 20 mins more the airport. Once there is connectivity, it opens new areas to development. Key is it is not enough Bang for the buck. 9. I also read that project management (or lack of) can make a big portion of the costs. Meaning innefficient management can result in costs higher by 30 % or more. There was one example of a station constructed with Rs 2 crore and very usefull and another with Rs 160 crores which was not so usefull. If I can dig up that link, will post it.


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