Towards a discussion of support to Urban Transport development in India Energy & Infrastructure Unit South Asia Region

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Towards a discussion of support to

Urban Transport development in India

Energy & Infrastructure Unit

South Asia Region

March 2005

Document of the World Bank

This document has a restricted distribution and may be used by recipients only in the performance of their official duties. Its contents may not otherwise be disclosed without World Bank authorization.


BDA Bangalore Development Authority

BMC Bangalore Municipal Corporation

BMTC Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation

BMRTL Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit Ltd

CMA Chennai Metropolitan Area

CMDA Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority

CMC Chennai Municipal Corporation

CMTC Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation

CTTS Chennai Traffic and Transport Study (1995)

KRDCL Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd

KUIFDC Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation

LRT Light-rail Transit

MTC Metropolitan Transport Corporation

MRTS Mass Rapid Transit System (Chennai urban railway)

TM Traffic Management

T&PM Traffic and Parking Management

TNUDF Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund

UTP Urban Public Transport


March 2005 1

Preface i

How significant is the urban transport problem in India? 1

What is the Government of India policy response to the Urban Transport problem? 2

Public vs personal transport – modal split 3

In–street traffic and parking 3

Public transport services 3

Vehicular technologies 3

What is currently being implemented to address the Urban Transport problem? 4

Putting policy into practice – the case of Chennai and Bangalore 5

A Way Forward 7

A Potential Role of the World Bank 9



1. Objectives and Content of the Report 12

2. The Background 13

3. Urban Transport Issues 18

4. The Way Forward 28

5. The Potential Role of the World Bank 30

Attachment I-A: Urban Transport in Chennai 35

Attachment II-B: Urban Transport in Bangalore 54

Attachment III: Urban Transport in India – Bibliography 65

Attachment IV: Cities on the Move – Executive Summary 71

Towards a discussion of support to Urban Transport development in India


The purpose of this policy note is to respond to the request from the Government of India for the World Bank to provide support to the development of the urban transport agenda in India and to provide lending support. During the discussions between the World Bank and the Government of India represented by the Ministry of Finance, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) agreed on a three year program of support 2005-2008 reflected in the World Bank’s Country Strategy for India September 15, 2004 (Report No. 29374-IN). Support is currently reflected in the Operations Program as an Urban Transport project under consideration and as a policy note as part of the non-lending services. In conjunction with these operations support to urban roads are included in Chennai under the proposed Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project III and in Bangalore under the proposed Karnataka Municipal Reform Project.

This report was written by Slobodan Mitric, Urban Transport Specialist (consultant). Isabel Chatterton, Financial Specialist (SASEI) contributed to the Chennai case study. The task leadership was shared by A.K. Swaminathan, Zhi Liu, and Sally Burningham (SASEI). Guang Zhe Chen is the Transport Sector Manager in SASEI and Vincent Gouarne is the SASEI Director.
Towards a discussion of support to Urban Transport development in India

How significant is the urban transport problem in India?

  1. Efficient and reliable urban transport systems are crucial for India to sustain a high growth rate and alleviate poverty. Indeed, the significance of urban transport in India stems from the role that it plays in the reduction of poverty, both through its indirect effects as a stimulator of poverty reducing growth and through its direct effects on the quality of life of people1.
  2. Services and manufacturing industries particularly concentrate around major urban areas, and require efficient and reliable urban transport systems to move workers and connect production facilities to the logistics chain. In China for instance, service industries as well as manufacturing and labor-intensive industries have developed in economic centers endowed with good transport systems that could efficiently handle mobility needs of millions of workers and facilitate the movement of goods. India’s economy is currently more service-oriented than China, with only about one million people employed in the IT industry—the mainstay of the tertiary sector2. But growth in the services sector and development of Indian manufacturing industries will put more pressure on already saturated urban transport systems. Many Indian cities such as Bangalore and Chennai have attracted significant investments in high-technology industries thanks to a competitive and highly qualified workforce. In the past few years however, urban infrastructure, and transport systems in particular, have been struggling to keep up with the growing number of firms moving into these cities. Local and international media have been continuously reporting the cities’ difficulty in coping with growing demand for efficient transport systems3. The financial press has been describing Bangalore for example as a city of 60,000 unfilled potholes and where software workers’ morning commute to work can take up to two hours. Developing an efficient urban transport system should be part of the broad Government policy aimed at improving the attractiveness and competitiveness of Indian cities.

  3. Responding to the needs of the economy is not just a matter of the cost of transport, but also of the quality of service provided. A 2003 Confederation of Indian Industry survey of urban populations in Southern India showed 90% dissatisfied with roads, and 58% dissatisfied with public transport services. Interestingly, the same survey showed that 89% were willing to pay for good-quality toll roads and 65% are willing to pay higher public transport fares to get more comfort and frequency. A survey of the business community recorded similar answers. Developing a degree of flexibility in public transport supply so that differentiated services may be tailored to the needs of different groups of the population is thus an important requirement of a future urban transport policy.

  4. The impacts of transport on the quality of urban life go even further than that. In the 1990s, as India experienced a period of economic and urban growth, air pollution in its major cities became a cause of national concern and generated worldwide attention. The levels of airborne suspended particulate matter recorded in largest metro-cities far exceeded the ambient air quality standards adopted by India and many other countries. As manufacturing and power sectors are progressively cleaned up the relative importance of the urban transport sector to air pollution increases. There is much current discussion about the development of Mumbai as a “world class city” rivaling Shanghai. For the Indian cities to retain their attractiveness to international capital, and to compete with other international centers, they must be livable. The environment is important to the economic health of the cities as well as the medical health.
  5. In parallel with the growth related impacts of urban transport on poverty are the direct impacts of urban transport on the life of the poor. The worst off in urban transport may be the pedestrians, whose mobility and safety are hindered by non-existent, broken-down, and/or obstructed sidewalks; difficult street crossings; and flooding in monsoon seasons. The bicycle riders, once a major urban transport mode in India, are gradually being pushed off busy roads by motor vehicles. These two groups account for half of all traffic fatalities. Secondary and tertiary road networks appear to have received little attention or funding, especially in low-income areas

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