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(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII No. 14, November 1-15, 2012
For Metro Rail success a ring line is needed
By Dr. K.R. Thooyavan

India's urban population is expected to increase from 30 percent (300 million) to 40 per cent (600 million) by 2030, i.e. it will double in numbers. At just 30 per cent urbanisation, Indian cities are bursting and infrastructure is creaking. India's urban future looks bleak. However, when we look at the economics of the metro regions, the expectations – that 70 per cent of new employment opportunities are likely to be generated in cities and 85 per cent of total tax revenue will come from the urban economy and will be able to finance development of the nation – are encouraging.

Transport is the biggest driver of urban areas. Lack of adequate transport widens the gap between the workplace and home. As a result, high vehicular population growth – demanding wider roads and parking space and resulting in pollution, accidents, delays/congestion and waste of energy/fuel – is a challenge to be overcome. It is, therefore, necessary to plan and implement a good public transport system for inter-city and intra-city passenger movement.

Kolkata Metro is the first of its kind in India, dating to 1984. But around the Metro stations, the high volume of transit passengers, change of land use from residential to commercial and offices have choked the facilities and infrastructure. The vicinity of Metro rail stations now faces high intensity land use changes, socioeconomic changes and change of vehicular movement patterns, which could have been regulated by good planning of the redevelopment process. There was plenty of time for that, the implementation of the Kolkata Metro having taken two decades. But the time was not put to good use.

Delhi Metro is being built in phases to cover not only Delhi and Gurgaon, but Noida and Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region of India as well. Phases I and II have been completed by 2011; Phases III and IV are planned to be completed by 2015 and 2021 respectively, with the network spanning 413 km by then.

For the first time in India, Delhi Metro will have ring lines in Phase III which is the plus point. Till Phase II, Delhi Metro focussed on expanding the reach of the Metro and, so, built long radial lines. The ring lines to interconnect the existing lines will improve connectivity. Not only will this measure help to reduce the distances from home to work but it will relieve congestion along radial lines.

In Delhi Metro, some of the minus points are long lines of commuters waiting to purchase tickets at some stations. Accidents and loss of life that had happened during the construction due to carelessness could have been averted. Over a hundred people, including 93 workers, have died since work on the Metro began in 1998, and this has to be taken serious note of.

The Hyderabad traffic scenario is critical. High rapid growth, i.e. 80 lakh people, plus a considerable floating population, leave Hyderabad with heavy traffic volumes in its major corridors and 70 per cent of its road network operates in these highly congested conditions. The average journey speed has reduced from 30 kmph (1980) to 11 kmph now. The total number of motorised vehicle trips is about 35 lakh a day.

For Hyderabad Metro, three high density traffic corridors (71 km) have been taken up as Phase I. The first stretch is expected to be opened by the end of 2014 and the full project in five years. The solutions found for relieving congestion is for MRTS (Metro Rail) to cover the core area only and develop wide roads in other areas for affordable transport.

Bangalore Metro Rail has an east-west corridor, 18.10 km long, and a 24.2 km long north-south corridor. The number of passengers expected to travel on the metro every day is estimated to be 12 lakh in 2012 and 19 lakh in 2021. The total project outlay is Rs. 11,609 crore.

Bangalore Metro is expected to deliver the benefits of faster and cheaper travel, less fuel consumption and better connectivity within the city, reduction of traffic problems, a safer and more comfortable mode of transport, of course, within the limitations of loss of private property, high compensation, environmental issues like loss of trees and parks, pollution and traffic congestion due to construction work. Land acquisition is an issue, apart from narrow roads which do not have sufficient width to handle traffic during constrution. Lack of motivation and co-operation of residents' welfare associations is also attributed as one of the causes for tardy completion.

In Chennai, the fourth largest city in the country, the need for a rail based rapid transport system has long been felt, apart from the Mass Rapid Transit System which runs along the Buckingham Canal. The Chennai Metro Rail project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a fast, reliable, convenient, efficient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which will be properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport, including buses, suburban trains and MRTS.

Based on detailed traffic surveys, seven corridors have been identified and of them two corridors, namely Airport to Washermanpet and Fort to St. Thomas' Mount via Anna Nagar, comprise phase I, which is expected to be completed in 2014-15. However the issues it is facing are accidents, loss of life, heritage buildings, parks, playgrounds and precious views of ornamental public buildings.

In almost all the Metro rail systems except, to a certain extent, Delhi Metro, the present growth of urbanisation will be affected if a series of circular or ring railway mass transport corridors are not quickly identified and executed. Only such a system will -enable decentralisation of the population and connect regional towns and urban nodes for absorption of the growing population. This is a way to ensure inter-city movement for orderly growth, leaving the countryside intact for agriculture and allied activities.

Chennai, for example, has got good scope for a wide ring or circular railway connecting Chennai, Thiruvallur, Arakonam, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and again to Chennai, forming a circle. A Regional Rail Transport which will connect the ring and radial roads and rail system including Metro Rail will largely help inter-city and intra-city movement in the expanded Chennai Metro Region covering these outlying areas.(Courtesy: Our Building and Construction)

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In this Issue

'Save this landmark building'
Why is our city 'Sink'ara Chennai?
For Metro Rail success a ring line is needed
Enjoying life with Nana
The national treasure that was M. Krishnan
A Vijayanagara-Chennai connection
'Munro' arrives in Madras
We regret...

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan


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