Author: Hidalgo, D., Pai, M., Carrigan, A., Bhatt, A. (2013)
Journal: Transportation Research Record 2394, 10 – 18.
Between 2005 and 2012, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) invested US$20 billion in urban infrastructure and basic services for the urban poor. The transport program under JnNURM is an important advance, helping cities with policies and funding for moving people, not vehicles. Nevertheless, this program has not sufficiently shifted investment in the urban transport sector from road widening and road expansion to sustainable transport. Urban characteristics and transport needs of Indian cities derived from interviews with stakeholders and a literature review are presented. Key improvements for Indian urban transport policy are suggested: (a) reinforce the link between land use and transport to allow preservation of the built environment in existing cities and development of new accessible, dense, and mixed used developments in the fringes; (b) advance the preparation and implementation of comprehensive mobility plans, in close connection with master plans and JnNURM budget allocations; (c) introduce performance measurements of key transport indicators at the citywide level—people served, modal share, travel time, traffic fatalities, and transport tailpipe emissions; and (d) develop capacity-building programs for project planning and delivery at the city level and for evaluation and monitoring at the state and national levels. There is no claim that expansion is not needed, but it should not be the main priority of public investments in the transport sector. Recommendations for India may apply to other rapidly urbanizing and motorizing countries.