BMRCL for an integrated commuting network in Bengaluru

Draft transit-oriented development policy released

Updated - May 09, 2019 01:26 am IST

Published - May 09, 2019 01:23 am IST - Bengaluru

The BMRCL proposes developing neighbourhoods to have better access to mass-transit points, be it metro, bus or suburban rail.

The BMRCL proposes developing neighbourhoods to have better access to mass-transit points, be it metro, bus or suburban rail.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has come out with a draft transit policy for the city, where it envisages an integrated commuting network — where people travelling on a bus or train can get down at their stop and walk to their destination.

If walking is not an option, they should be able to hop onto a feeder service or transit network without an endless wait.

Such a system will make the city more liveable and resilient, said the BMRCL in its draft ‘Bengaluru Transit Oriented Development’ policy, which was released on Wednesday.

The draft policy stated that to achieve this, the draft Revised Master Plan 2031 must be reoriented to the principles of transit-oriented development (TOD).

The new policy defines TOD as development of concentrated nodes of moderate to high mixed land use density within five to ten minutes of walking distance from mass transit stations which are well integrated with pedestrian, bicycle, feeder, and transit networks.

The BMRCL proposes developing neighbourhoods to have better access to mass-transit points, be it metro, bus or suburban rail.

“In this regard, a separate chapter on TOD shall be included in RMP-2031 (draft) outlining the strategies for TOD-supported development control regulations without any ambiguity,” said the draft policy.

According to transport expert Ashish Verma, transit-oriented development is not a new concept. “The model was applied in Mumbai in the core city areas when the suburban rail network was being built. This is a sound idea as it is aimed at providing better access to transit centres. It is feasible if it’s planned and executed well,” said Mr. Verma.

BMRCL has sought suggestions from the public on the draft policy. Ajay Seth, managing director of BMRCL, said after reviewing the suggestions and consulting other stakeholders, the State government would be approached with a final draft of the policy.

“The development policy and mobility plans should go hand in hand. Transit-oriented development will help people shift to mass transit instead of relying on private modes of transport. The policy covers all mass-transit systems in the city such as metro, bus network, and the proposed sub-urban network,” said Mr. Seth.

‘Revive BMLTA’

By 2031, the population of Bangalore Metropolitan Region is expected to more than double from 9.1 million in 2011 to 20.3 million. The city is expanding at the rate of 39 sq. km a year in peripheral areas, which are not served by good road networks and other infrastructure. “There is a need to increase the public transport share from the current 48% to 70% and enhance accessibility and mobility of people which is a pre-requisite for more liveable and resilient city. In this regard, huge investments are being made to expand the mass transit systems — metro rail and commuter rail in Bengaluru,” states the draft TOD policy.

To ensure effective implementation of projects under the TOD, the draft policy talks about reviving the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) and empowering it through a comprehensive Act, financial assistance, and staff support so that it can play the role of a unified metropolitan transport authority (UMTA).

Though the BMLTA exists, it remains inactive. It was created in 2007, but failed to live up to its goals. The draft transport policy proposes that the BMLTA come out with policy formation, project preparations and approvals, strategic planning and programming, funding and others to oversee the implementation of projects under TOD. The policy also states that the BMLTA shall come out with recommendations on regulating private vehicles through appropriate policies.

Financing projects

The policy lists different options for financing projects under the TOD, such as levying 5% cess on the market value of land or property on the landlord or property owner under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. This can be credited to the proposed metro infrastructure fund. The fund shall be shared by BMRCL, BWSSB and BDA at 65%, 20% and 15% respectively.

Other financing sources include allowing BMRCL to issue TDRs in lieu of compensation for land acquisition for metro projects and discouraging private vehicles by levying more cess on registration.

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