Urban Transport Strategies: Agenda for Reforms

An orientation programme for policy makers

1. Why this programme?
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) announces a three-day orientation programme on ‘Urban Transport Strategies: Agenda for Reforms from July 28 – 30, 2011 in New Delhi.

Many Indian cities have already begun to develop action plans in response to the air quality management policies, National Urban Transport Policy and the reform agenda of the JNNURM to achieve clean air and sustainable mobility. These along with the state level transportation and clean air action plans have created the policy opportunity for change. The orientation programme will cover a range of issues including:

  • Challenges of urbanization and mobility crisis
  • Environmental impacts -- air pollution, congestion, public health, energy and climate impacts
  • Challenges of mobility management
  • Strategies to scale up public transport and design multi-modal integration
  • Bus sector reforms
  • Making cities walkable
  • Non-motorised transport
  • Parking policy as a congestion reduction strategy
  • Funding public transport
  • Lessons from JNNURM programme
  • Customised case studies and field visits

The reform agenda presents an enormous challenge to the cities. Therefore, the three-day programme will explore a package of planning, regulatory, economic, and technical instruments and also key awareness raising tools necessary for cities in India and South Asia to make the transition to efficient mobility management strategies and clean air and energy secure future.

2. Why do we need this forum?

Vehicles are a special challenge as vehicular emissions contribute significantly to human exposure. Many Indian cities are in the grip of growing air pollution and congestion. Explosive increase in vehicle numbers is adding to this complex challenge. Inadequate public transport system is leading to increased dependence on personal transport. It is a matter of great concern that as car centric infrastructure and policies are taking over, modal share of public transport is steadily declining in our cities. If this trend is not reversed in Indian cities, it will become increasingly difficult to combat air pollution, congestion, fuel guzzling and climate impacts.

The National Urban transport Policy has set guidelines for public transport and mobility strategy. But each city needs its own action plan outlining the strategies to implement them. All cities need to implement their plans that will include public transport systems, mobility management and congestion reduction strategies to promote ridership of public transport, use of bicycles, and pedestrian modes for maximum environmental and public health gains. The policies should set a future target for effective modal share shift to public transport and non-motorised transport, increase investments in public transport and adoption of fiscal strategies to promote public transport use. It is important for the cities to develop a policy framework explicitly stating the objectives, priorities and strategies for effective implementation.

Cities that are embarking on this reform agenda need to think through these strategies for best results. This demands informed action. Some cities have begun to look at ways to implement these strategies. This represents the learning curve. There is also enormous wealth of global experience. Our forum endeavours to capture this learning to the participants. Along with the conceptual framework case studies on best practices will be presented, interaction with practitioners and field visits will be organised to sensitise the key actors about the issues related to planning and implementation of the key strategies.

3. What is CSE’s track record in transportation and urban air quality?

CSE started its urban air quality programme to protect public health in Indian cities. The programme elicited tremendous response from the government, the public and the judiciary. In the past ten years, CSE’s programme, supported by judicial action, has successfully catalysed significant changes to lower air pollution levels in the city. Some of the key developments include advancement of emissions standards for new vehicles, lowering of sulphur content in diesel and petrol, lowering of benzene to 1 percent, implementation of the largest ever CNG programme for the public transportation systems, phasing out of the 15 year old commercial vehicles and improvement in inspection and maintenance programme for in-use vehicles. Simultaneously, certain important cross cutting measures including the strengthening of air quality monitoring and checking of fuel adulteration were brought to focus. These first generation reforms have made significant impact on the city’s air.

Subsequently, the scope of the programme was broadened to include mobility management. Rapid increase in vehicle numbers and the transportation challenge has emerged as the key area of this programme largely because it is felt that only technological solutions cannot help India to address the challenge of mobility crisis, climate and pollution impacts of motorisation. It has therefore broadened the scope of its policy advocacy to promote public transport strategy, transport demand management policies and policies to promote walkability in cities. This programme has helped to build an extensive network of national and international experts in the field and the requisite research capacity to support the programme. It is currently working towards augmentation of public transport, multi-modal integration, fiscal strategies and key levers like parking policy in cities to control the total number of vehicles. It is working closely working with concerned city governments to promote these measures. CSE is also actively involved with bus sector reforms, parking policy as a travel demand management measure, and ways to mobilise resources for public transport development. Considerable effort has been made to assess walkability and find ways to make cities more walkable.

4.  What is the structure of the orientation programme?

This programme will be a combination of

  • In-house lectures and lectures by key experts in the field. Each session will have select expert faculty
  • Interactive sessions will be organised with the practitioners and the experienced policy makers on specific strategies
  • Leveraging Delhi’s experience through well designed field visits and case studies. Specially designed field visits will demonstrate the implementation challenges and the imperatives of the BRT corridor, bus sector reorganisation, improvements in pedestrian infrastructure, among others.


5. What are the key modules of this orientation programme?

Module: Challenges of urbanisation and mobility management

  • Air pollution, congestion, public health impacts, energy and climate impacts of motorisation
  • Why vehicles are a special challenge?

Module: Agenda for action

  • The challenge of vehicle numbers
  • Sprawling cities: Land use and travel
  • Strategies to scale up public transport and design multi-modal integration
  • Bus sector reforms for efficient public transport system
  • Implementation of bus rapid transit system
  • Building infrastructure for pedestrian and Non-motorised transport
  • Parking policy as a congestion reduction strategy
  • Funding mechanism for public transport and rationalisation of transport related taxes to promote public transport usage
  • Issues for city mobility plan and the reform agenda under the JNNURM programme for effective time bound action 


6. Who must get involved?

This orientation programme will help city regulators who frame policies, strategies and regulations that have a bearing on mobility needs of cities, plan and operate public transit services and are involved with the JNNURM urban transport reform agenda and city mobility plans.


7. For Registration, kindly contact: priyanka@cseindia.org

 Course contact:

Priyanka Chandola
Centre for Science and Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi – 110062
Tel: 011 - 29955124
       9810414938 (Mobile)
Fax: 011 - 29955879
Email: priyanka@cseindia.org