The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has commissioned a six-month-long study of city roads by New Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) to gain a better understanding of poor traffic conditions in the city.
The study’s findings will be documented in a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP), which promises to be the most authoritative survey on Gurugram’s traffic challenges since 2009, when a similar study was conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates.
Fresh data is required to understand the challenges that have become more pronounced in the last nine years, such as an increase in disorganised parking, lack of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, absence of mass transit systems, such as buses and trains, inflow and outflow of bypassable traffic, such as trucks and other commercial vehicles, and clogging of high volume junctions, such as Shankar Chowk, IFFCO Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Rajiv Chowk and others.
The CMP will be based on data gathered from 11 surveys to assess these problems. An agreement between the GMDA and the SPA was signed on June 26, and the report is expected to be ready by December 2018.
V Umashankar, chief executive officer, GMDA, said, “The CMP will be the first step in preparing a mobility management plan for the city, which is legally required under the GMDA Act.” Mobility, as per the GMDA Authority Bill, 2016, “includes the movement of person on foot, or a wheeled conveyance of any description.”
The CMP will accordingly evaluate the circumstances that make mobility a challenge in Gurugram and make recommendations for its improvement.
Sewa Ram and Sanjay Gupta of the SPA will spearhead the exercise, while Dinesh Chauhan, chief town planner, GMDA, will serve as its nodal officer. Inputs will also be provided by the Chief Minister’s Office.
According to Gupta, a public transport and planning expert, Gurugram’s population is estimated to reach 30 lakh by 2030 and a mobility plan is crucial to accommodate the needs. “The CMP will plan for the future. Analyses and suggestions for the short-term (5 years), mid-term (10 years) and long-term (15 years) will be made,” Gupta said.
Sewa Ram, a transport network and systems design expert, said the CMP will be drafted in accordance with the Gurugram-Manesar Master Plan 2031.
At the moment, Gurugram’s population is serviced by about a 1,000-kilometre network of primary road networks. The city sees about 17 lakh people, the current population, make about 20 lakh trips each day, two-thirds of which are within city limits.
These estimates amount to a high passenger volume count. However, there is no established mass transit system in Gurugram to meet the demand.
“It is easy to reach the city from Delhi or elsewhere, but mobility within the city is limited,” said Sewa Ram.
Experts said a reason for this is the development of Gurugram in fragmented pockets. As opposed to other metropolises, such as Mumbai (which has developed in a linear pattern) or Delhi (which has developed in a circular pattern), Gurugram’s growth has been scattered.
“Traffic movement is directed by economic reasons, and various pockets of the city in which economic growth is concentrated are presently not well connected,” Ram said.
The CMP will determine where these activities are located and suggest measures to connect their traffic networks. “It will also assess traffic that is likely to be generated due to high-density development along upcoming corridors, such as the Dwarka Expressway (NPR) and Southern Peripheral Road,” Ram added.
Emphasis will be laid on the conditions that affect ‘vulnerable road users’, or those who rely on non-motorised means of transport (either cycles, rickshaws or by foot).
“Only about 25% of the primary road network in Gurugram has usable pavements, which adversely affects the common man who does not rely on cars,” Gupta said.
This puts pedestrian safety at risk, as a result of which almost 40% of fatal road accidents involve vulnerable users. So far, efforts to improve mobility in Gurugram have focused mainly on conditions of vehicular traffic and the CMP is expected to rectify this approach.