Ahmedabad model proposed for Chennai

A Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) corridor on a 20-km stretch of Rajiv Gandhi Salai, from the Madhya Kailash junction and extending up to Siruseri, is “feasible”, according to a detailed feasibility report which will be submitted to the State government next month.

The report, commissioned by the Transport Department three months ago, will also suggest a ‘comprehensive bus mobility plan' for the city.

Apart from suggesting dedicated bus corridors across the city that could be developed in a “phased manner,” the study conducted by the Ahmedabad-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) recommends the overall fleet size that would be required, bus specification and a possible operational plan.

ITDP director Shreya Gadepalli said, “Special buses would be required to give a Metro-like experience. Also, a unique fare collection system would have to be adopted to reduce boarding time, thereby ensuring minimal travel time.”

The proposal is to build a system modelled after the Ahmedabad BRT, with bus stations, which will be air-conditioned, on the median and dedicated lanes on either side.

The distance between each station would be approximately 500 metres.

While the road width on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, formerly known as Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), is about 40 metres, giving enough space to carve out a lane for buses, other solutions would be employed on road stretches where the width is less.

“Various arrangements such as a two-way BRT on one side of the median and one-way traffic on the other could be tried. In Ahmedabad, the BRT runs through roads that are only 24 metre wide in some places,” said Ms. Gadepalli.

The recommendations include a strong emphasis on integration with existing and upcoming public transport facilities such as the proposed metro rail stations at Saidapet and Guindy, apart from providing convenient bicycle and pedestrian access.

A senior Transport Department official said that once the report is submitted and the government gives an in-principle approval, cost of implementation would be worked out and tenders floated. The CMDA's Chennai Comprehensive Transportation Study envisages 84-km of BRT in the city by 2026.

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