Friday, June 24, 2005

Go multi-modal

Which is the better mass-transport system for the city? Experts say a multi-modal system will work best...
The Times of India

THE debate about the pros and cons of metro versus monorail continues. The public investment board (PIB) has extended full support to the Bangalore metro rail project and has said that there can be no other alternative, including, monorail. It has, however, said that systems like the monorail could be considered as a feeder service once the metro rail comes up. Given that an effective and efficient mass transport system is the need of the hour, what do experts feel is better? Most say multi-modal is the way to go.


MN Sreehari, traffic engineering advisor to the government and chairman of TEST, says that for a growing city like Bangalore the ideal solution to our mass transport needs is to develop a multi-modal transit system in which the metro, monorail, buses and private vehicles co-exist and complement each other. “The metro could also be run on existing railway tracks on the surface. The present north, south and western corridors planned for metro rail could continue. However, the proposed underground sections, which are expensive, and the eastern corridor running on MG Road where the metro will not be suitable, could be replaced by the monorail system. Additional radial corridors and multiple loops around the central business districts, inner and outer areas could also be provided with a monorail feeder and dispersal links. Interchange stations can be provided,” he says. Sreehari adds, “Bangalore should introduce both a metro and mono rail to supplement each other. Monorail will act as a feeder service as it plays an important role in solving congestion, because of the flexibility of its operations.


Lee Chee Meng, a monorail specialist from Malaysia, says most modern cities have diverse public transport needs and only a multi-modal approach with efficient interchange stations will solve the transport problem. “Hence both the monorail and metro system are needed along with other private and public transportation.”


Multi-modal is best because of differential loads at various locations, feels former BATF member V Ravichandar. “On trunk routes and high density areas you will have a large load for which the metro could work. Monorail is a decent feeder system and should be used in conjunction with the bus system. The existing rail system around Bangalore could be included and brought into the multi-modal outlook. Bogota, Columbia, is the most talked about successful model in this kind of transportation. If you have to take out a private vehicle for part of your day’s journey the battle is lost; the multi-modal should allow most citizens to leave home in a form of public transport, move in other modes and get back home using the public transport system,” he says. Ravichandar feels that holistic planning will also need authorities to look at density, “It might make sense to promote high rise, denser pockets on metro routes to make the metro more viable.”


Srinidhi Anantharaman, MD of Geodesic Techniques, a Bangalore-based civil engineering firm says that to take the next step, the government should commission a multimodal transport system study by a team of consultants with expertise in modern peoplemover systems such as monorails, high capacity buses or light rail and recommend an appropriate mix of transport systems to suit the needs of Bangalore for the next 50 years


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