December 09, 2008

Returning the Roads To The People

There is a need to change the mindset and steer away from personalised transport to public transport. This was stated by Union Minster for Urban Development S. Jaipal Reddy while inaugurating the three-day National Conference on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Mobility India in New Delhi recently. The minster said that the key challenge, for quite some time to come, would be a paradigm shift in the way we viewed urban transport. The twin pillars of this shift would be:

First, keeping the interests of pedestrians and cyclists at the core of all urban infrastructure and transport projects.
Second, aligning land-use and urban planning with the transport requirements of the people.

Reddy said, “I am convinced that if we provide attractive options of public transport, which can be a combination of pedestrian walks, cycle paths, metros and above all comfortable and convenient bus services, it will persuade urban commuters to shift voluntarily to public transport systems.”

Significantly, Reddy mentioned that his government had approved a comprehensive national urban transport policy that focused on “returning the roads to the people” who had been colonised by vehicles. In addition, substantial Central funds were available under JNNURM and other schemes to implement the policy by various states.

Reddy pointed out that the Centre was emphasising on setting up an ITS-enabled modern city bus service in all the cities. A new scheme for capacity building in urban transport had been prepared. The government was also urging the states to establish dedicated urban transport funds to exclusively meet investment requirements of urban transportation.

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