Ahmedabad municipal commissioner, IP Gautam talks about the problems the city's Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) will solve...
The government of Gujarat had declared 2005 the 'year of urban development' (Shaheri Vikas Varsh). During this particular year, the urban development department undertook various initiatives to resolve urban issues such as traffic management, and the introduction and enhancement of a city transport system.
The Gujarat government (GIDB), Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority jointly drafted a comprehensive urban mobility plan keeping in mind the needs of Ahmedabad as a mega city, including in this implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and the planning of the regional rail and metro in future years.
The BRTS project was approved in November 2006 and work on the project commenced in 2007. The urban mobility plan provides choices to the people in the case of their mobility, in terms of different modes such as the AMTS, BRTS and the suburban rail or metro, all of which complement each other.
Cept University was assigned the work of preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for the implementation of the BRTS project in Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, the government of India announced the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for urban development and the AMC submitted its proposal to the government of India for the BRTS project, which was the first if its kind in the country. As approved by the ministry of urban development, the AMC is now implementing the BRTS project in a phased manner.
INTEGRATED TRANSIT PLAN
As a way out of the gridlock, Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL) has developed an integrated transit system plan which includes network and transit improvements, and traffic management initiatives. The city has added river bridges and ROBs to complete the rings and radials. Flyovers are being built to resolve junction issues. Several of these projects have been completed and opened for public use.
With the Automated Traffic Control System, flyovers and railway over-bridges, there will be less waiting time at junctions for all traffic. Queue lengths will be much shorter. In all, a total of 66 BRT and 27 non-BRT junctions have been brought under the ATS system.
Delays at junctions will fall from the current 60 to 100 seconds to 30 to 60 seconds. The AMTS fleet has been expanded from around 480 buses to 1000 through private participation. Now, we are only a few days away from the date of dedication of another important project to the city — the Janmarg (BRTS).
JANMARG — AHMEDABAD BUS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM
The Ahmedabad transport strategy is people-centric. It focuses on moving people, not traffic. We believe all people, men and women, young and old, physically challenged, should be able to move around in comfort. Efficiently, affordability, safety and security are central to the plan. To emphasise this, chief minister Narendra Modi named the system 'Janmarg'.
Janmarg, the peoples' way, comprising 88.8 km of networks, spans the city. It connects the central areas, outlying industrial areas as well as institutional and residential areas. The project is being undertaken in two phases and the first stretch of phase 1, from the RTO to Pirana, covering a distance of 12.5 km, will be opened to the public soon.
In the central city, to cross congested networks, we have planned a 4.5-km elevated corridor which carries buses at an elevated level from the cloth market to Kalupur and Prem Darwaja, and at the same level crosses the railway station. Elevators and escalators will be used to facilitate movement of people from the ground floor to the first.
As you may have noticed, the BRTS is not only about creating infrastructure for buses, but also about enhancing the quality of commuting for all users, with dedicated bus lanes, cycle tracks, pedestrian facilities, personalised vehicles and optimum parking.
Care has been taken to ensure that motorised traffic does not suffer after implementation. There will also be benches to rest while walking. There are trees at intervals of seven to eight metres on both sides of the road.