Ranchi, a major urban center and the capital of Jharkhand State, is one of the fastest growing cities in India, with a growth rate of 30 per cent from 2001 to 2011. Although a high quality public transport system is required to effectively serve the state’s growing population, formal public transport is almost non-existent in Ranchi. While the city has a small fleet of around 50 minibuses, public transport service is dominated by shared auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. The shared autos are highly polluting and are a site of frequent incidents of sexual harassment. Unless the transport conditions in the region are addressed quickly the situation will deteriorate rapidly.
With the objective of improving the quality of public transport and scaling up the bus system, the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) signed a memorandum of understanding with ITDP in 2013. ITDP is providing support on various programs including expansion of the public transport system, footpath development, creation of dedicated cycling infrastructure, and implementation of pedestrian zones. ITDP’s collaboration with RMC also includes strong emphasis on capacity building of local government agencies and staff.
ITDP conducted a street design workshop in association with RMC for RMC engineers, local architects, and urban designers to create awareness about best practices in street design. Participants created design proposals for expanded pedestrian infrastructure, safe pedestrian crossings, and efficient intersection designs. These design proposals await implementation by RMC.
One of the busiest intersections in Ranchi, the Albert Ekka Chowk is characterized by complete lack of pedestrian facilities despite high pedestrian volumes, chaotic vehicular traffic movements and unregulated parking space. The proposal formulated during the street design workshop includes wide, well shaded footpaths with a minimum clear width of 3.0m, segregated lanes for cycles and cycle rickshaws, properly scaled carriageways, formal pedestrian crossings and organised on-street parking.
To garner broader support for better public transport and street design in the city, ITDP is working to build a coalition of interested civil society organizations and individuals. Drawing participation from organizations with interests including sanitation, human rights, homelessness, street vending, and housing, the Ranchi Mobility Partnership (RMP) has begun deliberations on a comprehensive platform for transport reforms in the city. The RMP is a collective effort which is designed to give a greater push towards a sustainable Ranchi.