Moving towards sustainable mobility in urban transport

Review of Comprehensive mobility plans for 5 Indian cities

In December 2005, the Government of India launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) under the Common Minimum Program, which aimed to rejuvenate the urban milieu by implementing a number of projects with active private sector participation. Subsequently, in 2006, the Government announced the first ever policy on urban transport, the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) with a focus to promote overall sustainability of transport sector in cities. Some of the policy objectives in the NUTP are being realized as proposals and projects under the JNNURM, which has selected 63 cities (later made 65) in India and is implementing an urban reforms agenda of which urban transport is a significant component.

Jaipur traffic
Sustainability of transport system implies that every individual or commuter category in the city is able to fulfil his or her mobility needs in a quick, affordable, safe, reliable, comfortable, energy efficient and environmentally benign manner, i.e. the transport system should be able to meet all the associated social, economic and environmental sustainability goals. Since the roll out of NUTP, it is conditional upon the cities to take up transport projects in line with the recommendations made in the NUTP (which is driven by the principle of moving people not vehicles), in order to receive funding and grants. Each of the cities has to come up with a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for the city, and currently, many cities are engaged in the same. A few cities have already drawn up CMPs and have submitted them to the Government of India.

Since, the CMPs will be the tools to guide the future growth of transport in cities, it becomes important to evaluate their strategies with respect to the sustainable mobility parameters. This becomes all the more important as Indian cities are currently facing a major transport crisis that is marked by increasing personal vehicle use, declining public transport/ NMT use, congestion, pollution, road accidents, etc.

TERI was entrusted with the task of evaluation and review of 5 completed CMPs to assess if they promote sustainability of transport systems in the cities. Five CMPs, namely -- Kolkata, Jaipur, Kochi, Surat, and Pune were selected for review on the basis of population size, urban transport/public transport characteristics, etc. Plans were reviewed as per a framework developed and designed by TERI which took into consideration: Sustainable mobility concepts and definitions; National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) and National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) as well as Sustainable urban transport plans prepared for cities outside India. Reviewing selected plans would go a long way in identifying key issues/gaps as well as good practices, processes and strategies.

As the objective of this project was to explore urban sustainability with respect to the provision of basic services in Indian cities. TERI's evaluation and review aimed to serve as a step towards the larger goal of developing a framework for guiding Indian cities towards sustainability. As a part of this project, overall sustainability of urban transport sector was defined for Indian cities along with developing a framework to assess and monitor the sustainability of public transportation services. Specific recommendations were made for each of these cities to address identified issues/gaps. Key findings from this review of the selected CMPs can be viewed in the table alongside.

Sponsor: ClimateWorks
Duration: 7.5 months
Key Beneficiaries: Ministry of Urban Development, City governments
  • To develop a framework to review the comprehensive mobility plans (CMPs);
  • To review the CMPs and critically evaluate whether they will be able to guide sustainable growth of transport sector in the cities; and
  • To give recommendations for the selected cities to address the gaps between their current transport strategies and sustainable mobility goals.
Key Findings from review of CMPs
Gaps identified.
  • Lacks vision for transport sector;
  • Stakeholder engagement during plan preparation process;
  • Lacks equity considerations in proposed strategies;
  • Accessibility of vulnerable traveller categories;
  • No emphasis on integrated land use and transport development;
  • Lacks comprehensive measures to promote safety, security and environment-friendliness of transport system;
  • Plan strategies will lead to promotion of private vehicle use rather than public modes;
  • Lack of measures to promote NMT;
  • Lacks clear implementation strategy, institutional recommendations and capacity building programmes.
Posted on: 11 April 2012  |   Project status: Completed