Close on the heels of the Metro and the Monorail, an integrated multimodal transport system, incorporating various modes such as road, rail, sea, and air, for cargo and passenger transport, is to be developed for Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode.
The multimodal integration, mooted by the Public Works Department (PWD), aims at improving accessibility and connectivity; reducing traffic congestion; and enhancement of the level of service of roads.
The government had kicked off the scheme on the basis of a study carried out by M/s Deloitte TT(I) under World Bank funding, sources said. Official sources told The Hindu that funds for the proposed multimodal hubs could be found in the Institutional Strengthening component of the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP).
Six consultants had been shortlisted on the basis of the 29 Expressions of Interest (EOI) received. The process to select a consultant for the techno-economic feasibility study and preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for the three cities was on, sources said.
The multimodal system would ensure the free and safe movement of goods and passengers. It would also decongest the roads, now choked due to an increase in vehicle population, Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju said.
Apart from the three multimodal transport hubs; Bus Rapid Transport System and intelligent transport systems for Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram; pedestrian foot overbridges and subways at select locations; single ticketing system; and multi-level parking at railway and bus stations had also been mooted, sources said.
Setting up of a transport authority and a United Metropolitan Transport Authority had been recommended. The suburban train services mooted had become irrelevant with the Kochi Metro taking off and Monorail being planned in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, they said.
Transport planners said roping in the key agencies involved in inland water, rail, and air transport would be a major challenge for the PWD. Greater public participation in plan and policy formulation and redesign of the existing policies governing various modes of transport would be needed.
The government has announced its plan to exploit the water transport option to ease pressure on the road. A series of measures had been taken to link waterways and small ports, they said.
A Maritime Board would be set up in the State.
The government had announced plans to set up more mobility hubs in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode following the success of the one at Vytilla. Efforts were on to connect the Vytilla hub with rail and water network for the benefit of the citizens, sources said.