If you have been despairing about traffic on Mumbai’s roads, there are lessons the city can learn from Seoul, the South Korean capital.
Seoul’s expertise promoting the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), a bus service with dedicated lanes can prove to be helpful for Mumbai.
Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU) signed a memorandum of understanding for technical cooperation with Seoul through Citynet, an Asia Pacific regional network of local authorities.
In the 1990s, Seoul was struggling with 2.3 million cars — 46 times more than in the 1970s — which reduced traffic to a crawl. However, the city succeeded in pushing for public transport and discouraging private cars.
Dr Gyeng Chul Kim, senior advisor with Seoul Metropolitan government, on Tuesday at MTSU, admitted that the shift to sustainable transport was not easy. “We started the process in 1996 and again in 2001. It’s an ongoing process.”
The number of people taking cars to work has now reduced to 25 per cent from 40 per cent in late 1990s. Key initiatives included dedicated bus lanes, integrated travel fares and premium parking fees.
“In the first phase of the BRTS plan, we are looking at routes along the western and eastern expressway,’’ said UPS Madan, project director MTSU.