‘Gurgaon represents new urban development in India’

Gurgaon, once known as a suburb of Delhi, is now the new Central Business District of the National Capital Region. As per 2011 census, the city houses more than 8.75 lakh people on a land area of around 875 sq km, but there is also a high floating population in the city.

As for Integrated Mobility Plan, over two-thirds of population in Gurgaon either walk, cycle or use public transport for their daily commute. However, the infrastructure provided for these modes leave a lot to be desired. There are no cycle tracks, and less than 20 per cent of the footpaths are usable. The Metro caters largely to intercity movement into Delhi and Noida. Only 70 buses run in the city for a population inching to close to a million.

In many ways, Gurgaon represents an image of the new urban development in India, with public infrastructure that is largely geared towards private vehicles, thereby incentivising growth in vehicle ownership and resulting in congestion, pollution, and road traffic crashes.

To address these issues, we have to look no further than our own policies. India’s National Urban Transport Policy recommends a focus on moving people, not vehicles, and calls for an increased investment in public and non-motorised transport. Therefore, in order to efficiently achieve this, we need to focus on reforms, improved infrastructure and management that support these reforms.

Reforms - Integrated land use and transport planning: A special agency needs to be set up along the lines of Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) responsible for integrated transport and land use development.

Infrastructure - Mobility for all: Roads in Gurgaon need to be designed for providing mobility to all road users, not just vehicles. This would mean installing cycle tracks, high-quality, continuous footpaths, street lighting and increasing the supply of public transport by introducing a modern city bus service.

Management - Mobility and database centre: A centralised mobility management centre needs to be created that would help police and planning agencies in managing city mobility. It will also map and geo code an accident data base for black spot improvement.

With right policies, reforms and infrastructure in place, Gurgaon has immense potential in shaping the urban India of the future.

(The writer is manager, cities & transport, with World Resources Institute India)

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