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?Pedestrians, cyclists respected in Japan?

india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 01:54 IST

Indore City Transport Services Limited (ICTSL) CEO and SDM Chandramauli Shukla underwent training on urban public transport planning and project organised by Japan International Corporation Agency, Tokyo.

Sponsored by the government, he was the sole Indian representative at the training programme from September 23 to December 4 which was attended by 19 persons from 16 countries..

On his return, he spoke to Hindustan Times about the urban public transport system of Japan.

Which is the most distinctive feature of Japanese urban public tranport system?They incorporate transport system at the urban planning stage. They have Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It’s a highly integrated approach where the transit lines are decided first.

The urban development takes along the transit lines. The transit lines decide the development of commercial, residential areas, the buildings, floor area ratio etc. Besides, there are no traffic police, the signals are fully computerised. A good amount of money has been invested in traffic engineering and management.

Another important feature is that Japan has promoted pedestrians and cycle riders for whom there are different path ways. Pedestrians and bicycle riders that constitute 60 per cent of road traffic are respected people.Even a senior official, say that of secretary level in our coutry, could be seen walking upto two kilometres or riding bicycle to reach his office.
This facilitates high speed travel on roads.

Who runs public transport?
The public transport including trains is fully privatised. Private train companies have been given the rights to utilise lands near railway stations, depots or tracks for property development like setting up malls, retail stores etc. This generates 30 per cent of  revenue for them, which is the non-transport revenue.

Although Indore cannot afford huge investments  that Japanese cities made in urban public transport, is there anything that could be implemented?
They have launched a urban renaissance programme, which includes urban re-development, urban restructuring and urban landscaping. Under this, important areas of cities that are haphazardly grown are selected. If there is any assymetry in roads or building line, it is corrected. The open lands are turned into gardens. The owners of buildings in such areas are given property rights. Thus a proper dvelopment of area streamlines traffic flow, enhances values of property and gives beautiful look to the cities.

You made a presentation on ICTSL. How was it received?
Everyone appreciated it. Countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda have shown interest in ICTSL model. It could be an ideal model for low income countries with growing cities that have no proper urban public transport system in place. Back to Indore, ICTSL has been charged with overloading City buses. We are taking precaution. But then it’s a positive sign in the sense that we have created a travel demand for buses.

For instance, the buses ferried 66,000 passengers yesterday (Tuesday). It means more space was created on City roads. With launch of Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), ICTSL aims to cover 40 per cent of City’s passenger load. The base is ready for BRTS. It will get passengers from day one. The city bus demand is also on the rise. Sixty two buses are operating at present and 15 would be added by this month end.