A High Powered Committee on 'Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi' has called for a paradigm shift in transport planning and policy interventions to check explosive growth in automobile population in the national capital and move people more efficiently than cars through effective public transport system.
The Committee set up by the Minister of Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu in October, 2014 further to media reports on the havoc being caused by traffic congestion came out with a 126-page comprehensive report analysing the causes and consequences of traffic congestion and suggesting a way forward.
The inter-ministerial Committee, held several rounds of deliberations with representatives from 19 different ministries and agencies of Central and Delhi Governments, Delhi Police and all the urban local bodies.
The committee noted that 21% of city's area is already under roads with limited scope for road network expansion.
60% of passenger trips are below 4 km distances and 80% below 6 km lengths which are ideal for non-motorised transport.
Recommendations by the committee:
The Committee strongly recommended development of necessary infrastructure for promoting walking and cycling in the national capital.
It also opined that automobile centric planning with focus on road widening, construction of more and more flyovers, Foot Over Bridges, Under Passes etc., have only promoted increased use of private vehicles which are meeting only less than 20% of transport needs and should not be encouraged unless warranted by natural barriers like rivers.
Expressing concern over 18 different Central and Delhi Government departments and agencies handling different aspects of transportation in the city region, the Committee recommended a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for better coordination, quick decision making and execution.
The Committee recommended execution of the following projects in the next two years to provide immediate relief:
1. Implementation of Parking Management Districts for Connaught Place (management plan only required to be evolved), Nehru Place, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Vikas Marg, Lajpat Nagar and Bhikaji Cama Place.
2. Multi-modal integration of 78 Phase-III Metro stations, Integrated Passenger Terminals at Sarai Kale Khan, Bijwasan and Anand Vihar, development of 200 kms of cycle tracks and footpaths, improvement of 200 junctions, purchase of 2,000 buses, implementation of Kakardooma and Sanjay Lake TOD Projects, Intelligent Transport Systems, operationalisation of UMTA etc.
Projects to be implemented in the next five years include:
1. Multi-modal integration of 129 Phase I and II metro stations,
2. Integrated passenger terminals at Kashmere Gate, Holambi Kalan and Tikri Kalan,
3. 500 kms of cycling and walkways,
4. Development of 200 more junctions, five BRTS corridors, improvement of geometry of 400 junctions along with IT system for surveillance and vehicle systems,
5. TOD projects at Dwaka, Narela and Rohini etc.
The Committee also recommended setting up of Committee headed by Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi with representatives of other stakeholders for monitoring the implementations of various recommendations for decongesting traffic in Delhi.
Concerns expressed by the committee:
1. The Committee also expressed serious concern over mushrooming of gated communities in the city which are compelling local traffic to come onto main roads by preventing short cuts for movement of people.
2. The Committee called for various interventions over the next five years to enable 80% share for public transport and non-motorised trips in total transportation in the city where in the total passenger trips are estimated to increase to 280 lakhs per day in 2021 from a mere 45 lakh trips in 1981, 118 lakh trips in 2001 and 144 lakhs in 2008.
3. The Committee concluded that the explosive growth in automobile population needs to be checked quickly by adopting a 'carrot and stick' policy of enabling increased use of public and non-motorised transport and disincentivising use of private vehicles through deterrent parking pricing and Congestion Tax.
The interventions recommended by the Committee for improving public transport in the national capital is at an indicative total cost of Rs. 19,762 cr and it includes:
1. Development of 7 pilot Parking Management Districts under PPP- Rs.70 cr,
2. Multimodal Integration of 207 Metro stations-Rs. 4,957 cr,
3. Cycle tracks and foot paths-Rs. 2,300 cr,
4. Cycle sharing projects-Rs. 1,715 cr,
5. BRTS and Bus service improvement- Rs. 6,760 cr,
6. Removal of choke points, Junction improvement and providing missing links to enable commissioning of near finished projects- Rs. 3,250 cr (this has already been provided by the Ministry of Urban Development under Urban Development Fund) and
7. Capacity Building- Rs.40 cr.