Enhancing Bengaluru’s public transport network: approaches and challenges

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Aloke Mukherjee, Roshan Toshniwal, Pawan Mulukutla


 In recent decades, Bengaluru as a metropolis has witnessed explosive growth – both in terms of population, which has doubled since 2001, and growth in vehicles, which have more than quadrupled in the same period (RTO 2016). This has significantly stressed the city’s road infrastructure, leading to congestion and increases in pollution. Economic losses due to congestion for two of the city’s Information Technology corridors alone are estimated at INR227.7 billion annually (Bharadwaj 2015), without taking into account the health costs of increased emissions due to a surge in the number of vehicles plying in the city. ‘Conventional’ solutions addressing congestion within the city — such as road widening, creating one ways and building grade separators such as flyovers and underpasses — have failed to address the issue, and at the current rate of increasing vehicular volumes, the city’s roads are forecast to be completely saturated by 2025.

This paper’s premise is that public transport serves as the sole sustainable solution to Bengaluru’s chronic congestion; only a large mode-shift towards public transport by 2025 can help reduce congestion on the city’s roads. The paper advocates the Avoid-Shift-Improve strategy to achieve this, focusing on transport-specific improvements required to incentivise commuters to shift to public transport and identifies institutional and financial changes in the way of enhancing public transport in the city. The paper also forewarns against neglecting the city’s conventional bus system in favour of other, capital-intensive modes of mass-transit, forecasting that buses will continue to meet over 75% of the city’s public transport demand even after the completion of Phase I and II of the city’s metro and the introduction of a functional commuter rail system.


congestion; public transport; city development

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18063/JSUPP.2017.01.005


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