Karnataka has initiated the process for implementing the revised transit-oriented development (TOD) policy that aims to develop mass rapid transport corridors to minimise the need for personal vehicles in Bengaluru.
“We held a preliminary meeting and some more will follow before we get down to the implementation stage,” said Rakesh Singh, additional chief secretary, urban development department.
TOD in Karnataka has been in the draft stage since February 2019. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had first released a draft TOD policy two years ago after the Centre framed guidelines for major cities on how to implement it.
“It could not be implemented for practical and political reasons,” said officials. Now, the Directorate of Land Transport (DULT) has readied a revised policy, which may soon be placed before the cabinet, they added.
“We have provided inputs to the new policy and brought some changes to the earlier one. We are awaiting the government’s nod,” said Anjum Pervez, MD of BMRCL.
According to the draft policy, the population of Bengaluru Metropolitan Region is expected to go up from 9 million in 2011 to over 20 million by 2031.
As of now, share of public transport in the city is just about 48 per cent and needs to be increased to 70. It can be achieved by enhancing accessibility and mobility, which requires huge investments to expand mass transit systems — Metro and commuter rail.
Bhaskar Nagendrappa, president of CREDAI-Bengaluru, said the benefits of TOD will be immense as public ridership will go up when people can easily access jobs, education, healthcare, etc, by using the transit.
“With growing Metro rail connectivity, the city has scores of opportunities for transit-oriented development with good bus transportation…,” he added.
Setting up neighbourhoods around areas of transit will promote walk-to-work and cycle-to-work culture and, therefore result in healthier lifestyles, lower pollution, higher foot traffic for commercial businesses and decreased suburban sprawl, said Suresh Hari, former president of CREDAI.
However, some experts are still sceptical. Monica Matthias, director, Hoysala Projects, said implementing TOD in Bengaluru is a challenge because of various reasons.
“In the core city (Zone A), it is a challenge because of high density and high property values. Also, the TOD policy pertaining to Bengaluru considers mass transit like Metro and not buses as a means of transport. But buses are a more popular means of commuting in Bengaluru. The city actually needs a mobility plan… The National Urban Transport Policy emphasises a mobility plan that integrates both land use and transport planning, through TOD,” Matthias said.