TOD in India

Indian cities face a multitude of issues such as severe congestion; deteriorating air quality; increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector; increasing road accidents; and an exploding growth in the number of private vehicles (largely motorcycles). With the urban population projected to more than double in the next generation, the situation could easily get out of control and thwart India’s economic development efforts unless remedial measures are soon taken. 

The state of public transport in the majority of Indian cities has degraded over the years. Rising population and underdeveloped mass transport has led to a rapid rise of personal vehicles, traffic congestion and an increase in pollution levels. Moreover, the majority of people do not use public transport simply because of the lack of it and inaccessibility to the transit. Therefore, while augmenting public transport, planning for accessibility is the need of the hour. Increased density and improved connectivity through TOD can help achieve that. But one of the most important reasons for thinking about TOD for Indian cities is the recent emphasis on public transport at all levels of government. Scholars have argued that transport sector in India is extremely energy intensive and needs massive investments in mass transit to quell the rise of private motorized mobility. 

Post the announcement of mission based programs like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in 2005, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation, and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities in 2015, there has been huge emphasis on investments in public transport. Transit systems like metro rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) have found their way into many cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Hubli Dharwad, Lucknow, Kochi, Jaipur, Bhopal and Indore among many others. 

Some of these cities have gone on to leverage the huge potential accorded by the massive investments in public transit and prepared TOD plans for their cities. In western countries, TOD was used for densifying certain areas but in India the cities already have higher densities. Hence TOD in Indian cities should be looked at as a tool for improving quality of life and financial means to provide infrastructure facilities. India is taking steps towards achieving the TOD guidelines and designing a well-planned city for its people, making itself sustained and pedestrian friendly.



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