Recent Developments: Transforming urban transportation for better connectivity and improved customer experience

Transforming urban transportation for better connectivity and improved customer experience

The urban transport sector has seen renewed focus and witnessed significant growth in the past year. Metro rail stretches were operationalised in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and bus rapid transit (BRT) projects commenced operations in Hubli-Dharwad. The centre also approved the 82 km Delhi-Meerut regional rapid transport system (RRTS). New technologies and systems are being deployed for fare collection, signalling and telecommunications. However, private sector involvement continues to be low due to the size of investment and complexities involved.

Indian Infrastructure looks at some of the key developments over the past year…

Increase in budgetary allocation

  • To stimulate sector development, the central government has allocated Rs 191.52 billion for the development of mass rapid transit systems under Union Budget 2019-20 against the previous budget’s allocation of Rs 156 billion.
  • Of the total outlay, Rs 177.13 billion has been kept aside for the execution of metro projects in various cities as compared to Rs 148.64 billion in 2018-19. Further, a grant of Rs 4 billion has been given to the Delhi metro under the 2019-20 budget against Rs 0.5 billion in the previous year for expanding the network in Ghaziabad and Noida.

Completed projects

  • During the year 2018-19, a length of 210 km under different metro projects was operationalised. At present, the metro network is operational in 18 cities covering a length of about 657 km.
  • In Delhi, the 17.8 km Shiv Vihar-Trilokpuri-Sanjay Lake section and the 9.7 km Lajpat Nagar-Mayur Vihar, Pocket 1, section of the Delhi metro’s Pink Line commenced operations in October and December 2018 respectively. Other stretches that were operationalised during the year include the 3.2 km long Escorts Mujesar-Ballabgarh section of the Violet Line (November 2018), the 30 km Noida-Greater Noida metro corridor also known as the Aqua Line (January 2019), the 9.4 km Dilshad Garden-New Bus Adda section of the Red Line (March 2019) and the 6.6 km Noida City Centre-Noida Electronic City stretch of the Blue Line (March 2019).
  • The second line of the Mumbai monorail project spanning a length of 11.28 km from Wadala to Gadge Maharaj Chowk was opened in March 2019 after years of delay. With this, the whole 19.54 km line has become operational.
  • In Chennai, the final 10 km stretch of the Chennai metro, Phase I, between AG-DMS and Washermanpet was commissioned in February 2019.
  • In Hyderabad, metro services on the 16 km stretch from Ameerpet to LB Nagar of Corridor I and the 10 km section from Ameerpet to Hitech City of Corridor III were opened in September 2018 and March 2019 respectively.
  • Other metro projects that started operations include the 6.5 km Vastral-ApparelPark stretch of the Ahmedabad metro’s East-West corridor and the 13.5 km Khapri-Sitabuldi stretch of the Nagpur metro (North-South corridor) in March 2019.
  • The operational BRT network stands at over 400 km in 11 cities. The Hubli-Dharwad BRT project, spanning a length of 22.25 km, was operationalised in November 2018. The project comprised two corridors – Hosur Circle-Dharwad Central Bus Terminus (CBT) (Corridor 1, 19.5 km) and Hosur Circle-Hubli CBT (Corridor 2, 2.75 km).

Projects under implementation

  • Several metro projects are currently under construction and various others have been approved and announced by the government. Projects spanning a length of over 800 km are at various stages of implementation in 18 cities.
  • In Delhi, work to extend the Dwarka Sector 21-Dwarka Sector 25 stretch by 1.7 km has begun and is expected to be completed by 2021. The metro will provide better and faster connectivity between central and southwest Delhi and is expected to be operationalised by early 2022. Further, trial runs have begun on the 4.2 km Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor of the Delhi metro’s Grey Line and the corridor is expected to be completed by September 2019.
  •  Under the Mumbai metro rail project, six lines including Line 2B (DN Nagar to Mandale), Line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) and Line 4 (Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali) are under construction and are expected to be completed by 2021-22.
  • The 16.6 km Kolkata East-West metro project is also under development. The project involves construction of an underwater tunnel beneath the Hooghly river. Currently, the 5 km stretch connecting Salt Lake Sector V and the Salt Lake Stadium is ready and is expected to be operationalised by the end of August 2019. Further, expansion works are also being undertaken on various stretches such as the Nopara-Barasat stretch, the Joka-BBD Bagh stretch and the Dum Dum airport-New Garia route.
  • Construction work is also continuing on the North-South corridor (APMC to Motera Stadium) and the remaining stretch of the East-West corridor (Thaltej Gam-Vastral Gam) of the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro project. It is expected to be completed by July 2020. In Jaipur, construction work on the 2.34 km Chandpole-Badi Chaupar stretch of the Jaipur metro, Phase IB project is expected to be completed by October 2019 and operations are expected to commence in 2020.
  • Further, various stretches under the Nagpur metro, Phase I project, the Bengaluru metro, Phase II project, and Corridors I and II of the Pune metro project are under construction.
  • Some of the key BRT projects under construction are the 15.5 km Kolkata BRT project and the expansion of BRT corridors in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Approved and announced projects

  • Various metro projects have been approved by the government. The Agra metro rail project was approved by the central government in April 2019. The project will comprise two corridors and is expected to be completed by March 2024. Corridor 1 from Sikandra to Taj East Gate will be 14 km long while Corridor 2 from Agra Cantt to Kalindi Vihar will be 15.4 km long. The Delhi metro, Phase IV project that consists of six corridors spanning a length of 103.94 km has also been approved.
  • Some of the other projects that have received approval are the Kanpur metro rail project, Phase I, Surat metro rail project, Patna metro rail project and Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro, Phase II project.
  • Some of the key metro projects that have been recently anounced are the Chennai metro rail project, Phase II, Greater Noida-Jewar airport metro project, Jaipur metro project, Phase II, Bengaluru metro project Phase III, Hyderabad metro project, Phase II, and Gurgram-Faridabad metro project. Various new stretches under the Mumbai metro rail project such as Line 10 (Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk), Line 11 (Wadala-CST) and Line 12 (Kalyan-Dombivli-Taloja) have also been announced.
  • Metro projects have also been announced in the cities of Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore, Jammu, Srinagar, Ranchi, Guwahati, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
  • A number of new BRT projects have been proposed across the country. For instance, a 17 km elevated BRT system is being planned in Hyderabad from the Kukatpally Housing Board to the Financial District covering the entire IT corridor. The project is expected to be completed in the next two years and will cost around Rs 20 billion. Other projects that have been proposed include the Indore Super Corridor BRT project, Phase I, the Karawal Nagar-Mori Gate BRT project, Delhi, and the BRT corridor under the Mumbai coastal road project.

Upcoming RRTS projects

  • In February 2019, the government approved the construction of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project. The 82 km corridor will be built at a cost of Rs 302.74 billion and will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Meerut to just 55 minutes from the earlier three to four hours. The project is being executed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation and is expected to be completed by 2025.
  • The 111 km Delhi-Panipat and 180 km Delhi-Alwar RRTS projects are currently in the planning stage.

Conclusion

The urban transport sector has seen considerable progress in the past year with the commissioning of a number of key projects. Construction activity has also picked up pace and various projects are expected to be completed within the next two-three years. The sector will continue to gain momentum as urbanisation increases and cities across the country work towards improving their transit systems.