Skip to main content

Ahmedabad's 22% commuters "moved" from motorbikes to buses, saving 200,000 vehicle-km a day, claims World Bank

World Bank view of BRTS lane in Ahmedabad
By Our Representative
Taking an infrastructure-centric view of things, a new World Bank report has praised Ahmedabad for its “transformative initiatives” in managing issues of “motorization” and “urbanization” as a top priority. Saying that while most South Asian cities are “poorly planned and managed”, the report singles out Ahmedabad’s Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) for having “emerged as an example” of how a planned commuting system can help “reduce emissions and improve air quality”, with a “positive impact on urban development.”
The report comes despite the existence of a well-documented study by Prof Darshini Mahadevia and Prof Rutul Joshi of the prestigious CEPT University, Ahmedabad, which said on the basis of a spot survey, only 0.4 per cent of the poor use BRTS, pointing out that even affluent people still prefer to use their private vehicles instead of BRTS buses. The study had revealed, just 13.7% of the BRTS users belonged to households with an income of up to Rs 5,000 while 62.2% users have monthly incomes of more than Rs10,000.
Refusing to into such “minor” details, the World Bank study, titled “Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia”, says, the name given to BRTS is “Janmarg” which means “the people’s way,” and is “a road-based public transport service, featuring a closed system with bus stations along road medians as well as revamped rights of way to include cycle tracks and pedestrian facilities.”
Pointing towards why it considers BRTS “a success” the report, contrary to the Mahadevia-Joshi survey, claims, “About 20–22 percent of commuters have moved from motorcycles to buses, saving almost 200,000 vehicle-kilometers per day. The Janmarg is expected to continue attracting passengers and is part of a larger regional plan for Ahmedabad with far wider coverage.” It is not known what the source of information is.
The World Bank claim continues, “The extensive network has benefited previously underserved groups. For example, there has been a rise in female travelers, and almost 40 per cent of commuters in the afternoon off-peak hours are women.”
Then, it adds, “Janmarg has also helped rejuvenate Ahmedabad, encouraging redevelopment of vacant, former mill lands and the building of new housing and shopping areas for the urban poor along its corridors.”
Coming to managing urbanization, the report praises the Gujarat government’s move to look into the problem of the current very low floor area ratio, which is a mere 1.0 at some places, choking the traffic in the Central Business District (CBD), impeding pedestrian movement.
The “ambitious local area plan” drafted by the Ahmedabad authorities, according to the report, “proposes to transform the CBD by leveraging its connectivity to a proposed metrorail system and its location along the waterfront.”
“It also proposes to triple the floor area ratio from 1.8 to 5.4, quadruple the population from 85,000 to 357,000, and double the street network coverage and green cover. The plan includes key elements such as adding new streets to improve connectivity and walkability, appropriating street-side setbacks and reducing building footprints, relaxing building envelope and height restrictions, incorporating design elements such as arcades, and transferring development rights up to the maximum building height”, the report states.
Making Ahmedabad as ideal, the report says, “Although South Asian cities generally may not be ready to adopt congestion pricing and tolling, implement parking controls, or levy taxes on luxury vehicles, they could start with basic traffic management initiatives, such as charging for on-street parking, and then move toward pay-to-use parking lots and garages.”

Comments

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.