Mobility problems continue to weigh down city
Mobility remains a challenge for city agencies even after several decades of rapid urban development, as per the findings of the Ease of Living Index released by the Central government on Thursday. The city scored 25.84 in the category of mobility, ranking among its worst score in the parameters.
Although a comprehensive mobility plan was conceived in the last two years, its implementation remains pending. Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi, said that mobility continues to remain a problem in the city due to fragmented development and lack of connectivity between individual pockets.
“Different pockets of development came up at different times and locations in a fragmented manner unlike the neighbouring city of Delhi, where development started spreading outwards from centre and that is how transport facilities were also developed. Since development was fragmented, intracity mobility got affected and the places were not connected by a good network,” said Sewa Ram.
Gurugram had performed poorly in the 2018 edition of the Ease of Living Index as well, with the city being ranked 69 in this sector. In the 2020 edition, the city ranked 31, albeit only among the 62 cities with a population of less than a million.
To understand the mobility standards, the current report has taken three indicators, availability of public transport, transport-related fatalities and road infrastructure, into account. The city has limited Metro connectivity, with only five stations, and there has been no expansion beyond the last station at Huda City Centre since 2010 although plans are afoot. Though the Rapid Metro was introduced in 2012, its reach remains confined to a few localities. A city bus service started in 2018 has provided some relief but it is yet to form a complete network to provide seamless mobility and last-mile connectivity.
The report states, “Urban mobility emerges as one of the greatest challenges to urbanisation. With growing resources and population, the need for expansion in transportation services arises… Over 60% of the cities participating in this index have scored below the national average of 28.05.”
Speaking on improvements in the sector, Maqsood Ahmed, additional chief executive officer for mobility division with the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, said, “Mobility has been an issue in the city, but we are working to improve it by increasing buses, making specific paths for cyclists through our comprehensive mobility plan that has been approved by the chief minister and is in the implementation stages.”
The state government, meanwhile, said it was planning to slowly switch to electric buses in Gurugram as a more sustainable measure to improve connectivity.
Mool Chand Sharma, state transport minister, said that following the guidelines of the Central government, the state is also working towards switching to electric vehicles from CNG vehicles.
“Along with starting more minibus services to improve intracity connectivity in Gurugram and proper implementation of the comprehensive mobility plan, we are also working on slowly switching towards electric vehicles. There has been a slight shift already with people using electric cars and two-wheelers, but the state government is also aiming to switch to electric buses in large numbers by 2024 to ease mobility issues in the city,” said Sharma.