Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What we need is BRTS in Cochin

by D. Dhanuraj


metro rail debate has been the full moon talk in many a seminars. There are supporters, pessimists and theoreticians. In one of the recent seminars where I was a resource person, a question has been asked from the audience what is my opinion on Metro rail for Cochin. I was baffling what category of the above mentioned, i should represent? for a moment, i regained the confidence as a policy researcher and announced; as a Kochiate, i am happy to see metro in my city so that it will be positioned amongst the metro linked cities in the world. but as a researcher, i dont recommend metro as it can be a wasteful exercise for a city like Cochin. while the audience was so happy with the former stand, some of them questioned my the latter statement. then i told them; if you are not ready to listen to me, there is no point asking me this question.

I would strongly advocate for BRTS. What we need is dedicated bus routes and continuous services for city of Cochin. this can be done with a fraction of amount that we may spend for metro. for the metro lovers, i will suggest, let it come. But we may not survive for such a long period til the metro is commissioned until an alternative arrangement is made. so BRTS can be a short term solution while Metro can be a long term.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Traffic management for Cochin city

Most of the days, news papers are flooded with the accident deaths on the city roads. in a city of more than 3500 private buses and more than 10, 000 trips every day, i wonder these accident rates need to be looked beyond the media parleys. Our roads are over loaded and streets are congested. In addition to that more than 160 vehicles are added to the roads in the district every day. while SA road, Banerjee Road and MG Road are main stays of the city traffic, what we lack is not only the hardware but software too. i believe that even if the hard ware part is lacking, a better and equipped software can solve the traffic chaos on the streets easily. what city requires is a traffic management team and control unit. it shall be managed by traffic experts and not by the traffic police. Some how, a wrong impression is created among the general public and administrators that traffic police has the solution for all the traffic woes ! with the Vyttila Mobility Hub is on the way to get inaugurated, we can use Hub as the centre for traffic management. in addition to the police aid post there, a city centre traffic management unit shall operate from there. GIS shall be installed in all the public transport vehicles and shall be tracked. Digital display boards at every bus stop and link it with mobile platform so that information on bus schedules are readily available to the passengers. feeder systems can be linked to GIS network by hooking them converting regular mobile phones to GIS. but lets decide that we are going to have trained and qualified team of transport experts running the traffic management and not the traffic police..