Urban transport infrastructure of Chennai is set for a radical change. A slew of measures including two additional metro lines, four Monorail/Light Rail Transit routes, three Bus Rapid Transport corridors and 37 grade separators, requiring a total investment of Rs.72,727 crore, have been recommended by the Comprehensive Transportation Study of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).

This comprehensive study conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates (the consultants) for the CMDA shows that the average speed of vehicles in the commercial area is 15 km per hour and in other areas, 20 km. This is half the speed levels that prevailed in 1993. Only 20 km of the 1,250 km length of road has a minimum 1.5-m- wide footpath. The 3,300 buses that ply along 640 routes are crowded with more than 100 passengers per bus.

Currently, 47 per cent of the trips made in a motorised vehicle are by public transport. The recommendation is to increase it to 70 per cent and simultaneously reduce the share of private vehicle trips from 47 to 22.5 per cent. A fuel cess on private vehicles and regulating cars within the city are suggested. Parking on streets with heavy commercial activities must either be banned or strictly regulated, recommends the report, identifying seven such streets. The study recommends grade separators at 37 junctions, 24 new subways and nine multi-level parking facilities. A dedicated bicycle network is proposed for Anna Nagar East and West extensions.

Two metro lines from Medavakaam to St.Thomas Mount and Madhavaram to Light House through Radhakrishnan Salai are proposed. Monorail/LRT routes are recommended from Pallavaram to Koyambedu, Ambattur to Kilpauk, Porur to Madhavaram and Sriperumbudur to Anna Flyover.

New suburban rail links from Chengelpet to Tiruvallur, Perungudi to Mamallapuram, Tiruvallur to Gummidipundi and Chengelpet to Mamallapuram have been recommended. The study prefers a radial/circumferential transport network than a grid system. A major ring road connecting, Mamallapuram, Chengelpet, Kancheepuram, Arakkonam, Uthukottai and Gummidipoondi has been proposed.

These recommendations are expected to be implemented by 2026.

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