The Pune Metropolitan Region, comprising of the twin cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, is facing the daunting challenge of establishing sustainable and equitable mobility within the region. Citizens travel frequently between the two cities for varied functions. Lack of high quality public transport systems within and between the cities has led to a steep rise in private vehicle ownership. With the objective of improving access to sustainable transport, the cities are implementing various projects including bus rapid transit (BRT) and improved non-motorised transport infrastructure.
Bus Rapid Transit
In early 2007, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) conceptualised comprehensive bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in their respective jurisdictions. The original BRT systems in PMC and PCMC were planned as exclusive bus lanes for existing city bus operations and a short pilot corridor was implemented in PMC to test the success of the system. While a marginal service quality improvement was achieved, the PMC pilot project resulted in poor public perception and negative media coverage as the project was found lacking in terms of design as well as implementation.
ITDP was invited and appointed by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) – the single public transport service provider in the region, to support the successful implementation of BRT in the entire metropolitan region. ITDP is working with the cities to develop a plan for a comprehensive, integrated high quality BRT network with key system attributes such as dedicated closed BRT lanes, efficient operations, strong brand image and excellent service quality. ITDP was instrumental in ensuring that both cities procured a uniform bus fleet with right-side doors, enabling level boarding from median stations. Now the stations will have a uniform functional typology in PMC and PCMC (albeit with different architectural designs). The proposed BRT is an ambitious vision for a network of 160 km , connecting the two municipalities and reaching nearly a million residents. The system consists of trunk routes, feeders, and direct services that include extensions outside the network of exclusive bus lanes.
ITDP is providing in-depth technical assistance to the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) with efforts concentrated on ensuring that the new BRT network incorporates all components of a complete BRT system including median stations, level boarding and alighting, electronic pre-board ticketing, and passenger information. BRT services along with the complementary regular services will result in reduction in average waiting time by bus passengers of 50 per cent. ITDP is also supporting the corporations in efforts to improve pedestrian access to BRT stations.
To capitalise on the planned BRT system, Pimpri Chinchwad has adopted a policy to pursue transit-oriented development (TOD) along the BRT corridors. Although the city was one of the first cities in the country to adopt a TOD zoning overlay, the policy had some drawbacks including increased parking requirements within TOD zones. ITDP reviewed the policy, planned a participatory workshop with public officials, corporation staff, and other stakeholders, and played an important role in generating awareness regarding principles of TOD planning. These discussions facilitated the adoption of policy reforms including a reduction in parking requirements.
Along with the BRT project, Pune has initiated the preparation of Urban Street Design Guidelines for the city. The guidelines aim to increase access for pedestrians and cyclists within the city, improving safety and comfort for street users and reducing environmental impacts of the city’s transport system. ITDP is assisting PMC by reviewing proposed guidelines and ensuring adherence with best practices. The city has also empaneled four urban designers for designing streets in Pune. ITDP played a key role in generating awareness about the need for the formal procurement of architectural services in the design of urban streets and provided technical support in the process of empanelment of these consultants.
In Pimpri Chinchwad, ITDP worked with the Corporation to initiate the process of creating a non-motorised transport policy. Aimed to empower pedestrians and cyclists within the city, the policy will be tested on a pilot zone before its formal adoption.