Staff Reporter

“Public transport should be seen as a social facility”

Integrated sustainable multi-modal mass transport systems mooted

50% increase per annum in number of vehicles between 1984 and 2005

CHENNAI: Integrated mass transportation systems are crucial to decongesting urban traffic and enabling economic development, said S.L. Dhingra, professor of Transportation Systems Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai.

Addressing a meeting of transport experts, he spoke about integrated sustainable multi-modal mass transport systems in the context of planning for the Mumbai metro.

Dr. Dhingra, who has served as a technical consultant to Government departments on transport issues, stressed that public transport should be seen as a social facility and not in profit terms.

The public transport system in Mumbai is already serving more than 80 per cent of the city’s population, according to the statistics.

However, the government of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority are exploring a rail-based transportation system with capacities much higher than that of the bus system for congested areas – currently, the suburban railway network transports some 6.5 million people a day, as compared to 4.5 million by buses.

An integrated rail-based system could include a feeder-system of battery-operated vehicles to move residents from their homes to the nearest train stations.

K.N. Krishnamurthy, chairman of the Indian Roads and Transport Development Association (Southern Region), (IRTDA (SR)), said that the Chennai Metropolitan Area had seen a 50 per cent increase per annum in the number of vehicles between 1984 and 2005.