As per Census 2011, more than 31 % of the population is living in urban areas and this is expected to grow to over 40%, that is nearly 60 crore in 2031 and 50% leading to over 80 crore by 2051. At present 65% of countries GDP comes from urban areas and it is likely to grow over 75% by 2030.

  • As a result of the Rapid urbanization the transport in urban areas has been largely hegemonized by private motor vehicles and supporting ancillary Infrastructures like flyovers, networks etc.
  • The Rapid growth of personal vehicle has adversely impacted the share of public transport share of buses has reduced to 1% only.
  • Quite evident results of these are increased congestion, pollution, road accident, energy consumption and travel time in our cities which has dropped by about 3 kilometre per hour in seven major cities between 2017 and 2018.
National Urban transport 2006 In order to address the challenges of urban mobility and also to provide clear direction and a Framework for future action, Government of India formulated the national Urban transport policy (NUTP) in 2006.
  • The vision of this policy is to recognise that people occupy Centre stage in our cities and all plans should be people-centric.
  • The focus of the policy is to address the movement of people and goods and not the vehicles so as to make our cities livable and enable them to become the engines of the economic growth.
  • The objective of this policy is to ensure safe, affordable, quick, comfortable, reliable and sustainable access for the growing number of city residents to jobs, education, health, and such other needs within cities.
Existing metro rail systems in India
  • The first metro rail started its commercial services Kolkata in 1984. It continued to be the only metro system in the country till Delhi Metro commenced operations in 2002.
  • The success of Delhi Metro inspired other big cities to follow suit and in 2011 Bangalore metro started operations. This was followed by operation of mass transit systems in Mumbai, Gurugram, Chennai etc.
  • Since 2014 the metro has spread across the country very rapidly and metro rail have been made operational in 18 cities.
  • More than 800 kilometre of metro rail and 82 kilometre of regional Rapid Rail transit systems (RRTS) are under various stages of construction at present.
Challenges of Existing Metro systems
  • Metrorail is a capital intensive system which requires used investments from union, state local governments.
  • Being a fairly new system in India the technology available is not standardized resulting in higher cost of construction and operations.
  • Lack of last Mile connectivity keep the system beyond reach for the last segment of the potential users and limits the catchment area of the system.
  • Parking lots and roads leading to many stations remain poorly lit. Many of these stretches do not have eyes on the street which compromises security.
  • Non availability of demand forecasts for metro rail projects in the country.
Addressing the challenges For addressing the challenges in the following initiative have been taken by the government of India;
  • Metro rail policy 2017 - It focuses on systematic planning and implementation of metro rail systems that act as a guide to the state governments for preparing comprehensive proposals for metro rail projects. New the policy Lays down various financial models for metro rail development including public private partnership (PPP) and provide a proper ecosystem for its growth in the country.
  • Value capture financing - The value capture financing policy Framework 2017 identify tools such as Transferable development rights, betterment levy, fee for changing land use, vacant land tax and land pooling systems and sources of financing infrastructure projects.
  • Standardisation of metro components -To promote make in India in 2017 the department of promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) issued public procurement order to encourage such initiatives. The aim is to increase minimum local content in rolling stock, and signalling to 50% by 2023 in a phased manner.
  • Transit oriented development (TOD) - Government issued national TOD policy 2017 with the objective to integrate land use and transport planning to develop compact and inclusive growth centres within the influence zone of 500 to 800 metres. This will promote public transport usage and achieve reduction in the private vehicle ownership.
  • National common mobility card (NCMC) - To enable seamless travel by metro rails and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchase.
    • This card meets travel needs based on stored value of money and does away with the need of carrying separate cards for banking, and transit requirements.
    • This would allow fast deployment of digital payments due to the standardised implementation process and will enable Rapid digital penetration.
  • Setting up of Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) - Urban transport in cities are managed and implemented by different agencies which generally work independently with little synergy between them, there if thus a need for an umbrella organisation like UMTA that monitors, integrates and coordinates aspects related to Urban transport.
  • Multi Modal Integration - The National Urban transport policy 2006 recommends multimodal integration as the most critical requirement in creation of seamless public transport services.
    • Initiatives taken in Metro systems to promote multimodal integration includes; Rapid metro rail in Gurgaon is integrated with metro station of Delhi Metro.
    • Feeder service of have been provided in cities like Delhi, Bangalore etc. to improve last mile connectivity.
    • In order to ensure fare integration Kochil card has been introduced which is acceptable across all modes of transport.
Future of metro systems in the country
  • Currently Metro systems are governed by the Metro Railways (construction of works) act, 1978 and the Metro Railways (operation and maintenance) act, 2002.
  • However, in view of the metro rail policy 2017 a new Metro Rail (construction, operation and maintenance) bill is under preparation which combines the provisions of existing two metro acts.
  • The unified act will enable private participation in Metro Rail and delegation of Greater powers to the state governments and metro rail administration.
  • The proposed at act envisages to have an independent permanent metro rail fare regulatory authority for timely revision of metro rail fares.
  • I-Metros an Association of Indian Metro rails has been launched in March 2018 as a platform to exchange ideas of knowledge, experience, best practices etc.
  • It will enable adoption of the latest technology and improving performance and passenger experience in future through resonance of each others strengths.