Light rail, metro for urban transportation
An expert in urban planning says Mumbai’s mass transport system, in terms of trains and buses, is far more advanced over other Indian cities. This was the observation made by Christopher Benninger, who has studied Urban Planning at MIT and…

An expert in urban planning says Mumbai’s mass transport system, in terms of trains and buses, is far more advanced over other Indian cities.

This was the observation made by Christopher Benninger, who has studied Urban Planning at MIT and Harvard University, and has been advisor to the World Bank, United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and metropolitan development authorities on urban planning.

The New Delhi Capital Region, he feels, is moving quickly in the mass transport arena, and aspects of what they are doing with their Metro System can be a source of learning.

“They are also leading in the interface between medium length bus trips, connected to longer distance Metro lines. Ahmedabad has pioneered the Rapid Bus Transport in India and they have employed advanced station designs, integrated with appropriate bus designs, making their rapid bus system,” he was quoted as saying. But they have lagged in putting up a modern Metro system, he said.

The clear direction in urban transport is towards light rail and metros for heavily travelled sectors, connecting through Metro Stations with shorter bus loops, with stops along pedestrian pathways and cycle lanes, where there are cycle racks, says Benninger.

The renowned urban planner is a member of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority; government of India’s advisory committee to make recommendations for the Mumbai Port Trust Lands Redevelopment; and on the Board of Governors of the CEPT University, India’s leading centre of urban planning.

Benninger feels Pune is going wrong in two areas. First, the huge investments in flyovers, underpasses and road widening that will attract more traffic to them, and ultimately again become choke points in the city’s movement system.

These investments are at the cost of more critical investments in a modern Metro System that travels underground in the city core. Second, there is the total neglect of footpaths, crosswalks and cycle lanes. Here the Balewadi Cummins Boulevard is a model to study, he says.

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