Urban transport governance reform in India
Dr. Mayarani Praharaj, College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India
is the single most important component in shaping urban development and urban living. Since transport is one of the prime determinants of quality of life, it is for governments to articulate the need for mobility and facilitate it through appropriate mechanisms. In fact, efficiency of cities greatly depends on the development of transport systems, as urban transport is a catalyst for overall development.
About 377 million , comprising of about 31 per cent of the country’s population, live in urban areas according to the 2011 . Projections are that by 2031, about 600 million Indians will reside in urban areas, an increase of over 200 million in just 20 years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 50 per cent of two-wheeler drivers in India wear helmets, while only 27 per cent of drivers wear seatbelts. The report says that while 88 countries have reduced the number of road fatalities between 2008 and 2011, Indian roads, on the contrary, have become more deadly. Not only that, but India also tops the list of total number of deaths recorded on the road in 2011 at 143,000. The report says that only 28 countries, have adequate laws that address all five risk factors — speed, driving under the influence, helmets, seatbelts and child restraints, and India has poor record on all five risk factors.
Most of the cities in India have been facing urban transport problems for many years, affecting the mobility of people and the economic growth of urban areas. These problems are due to a prevailing imbalance in modal split, inadequate transport infrastructure and no integration between land use and transport planning. is another serious problem in Indian cities. Besides roads congestion, traffic accidents, public health incidence and air pollution, sharp increases in road transport also have a huge impact on fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Yet India is already starting to make strides toward sustainable transport. The Government of India approved (NUTP) in 2006. The Policy primarily focuses on the mobility of people, not the mobility of vehicles. This will require the public transportation system being more attractive to use.
in India vary considerably in terms of their population, area, urban form, topography, economic activities, income levels, growth constraints, etc. Accordingly, the design of transport systems will have to take into account these city specific features. Further, transport planning is intrinsically linked to land use planning and both need to be developed together in a manner that serves the entire population but also minimises the need to travel. In developing such plans, attention should also be paid to channelling the future growth of a city around a pre-planned transport network rather than develop a transport system after an uncontrolled sprawl has taken place. This calls for a renewed thrust towards improvement in governance structures, especially at the level of urban local bodies, and a major improvement in delivery of urban services in cities.
Government policies are difficult to implement. For that there needs to be proper governance structures to monitor policies. Good governance can help to improve the resiliency and adaptive capacity of cities in the case of urban mobility. of citizens in urban governance should be part of every comprehensive traffic planning and management authority in cities.
About the author
Dr. Mayarani Praharaj works at at and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India