Talk by Prof Geetam Tiwari ‘Pro-poor Urban Transport Policy Towards Green Economy’

Presentation by Prof Geetam Tiwari on Pro-poor and Green (low carbon) Urban Transport at the UMI 2011.

This accompanies the video recording of the talk available in 2 parts at

Part 1

Part 2

Prof Tiwari talks about the nature of urban India which has seen more growth in the number of smaller towns than mega cities; the lack of attention on the transportation needs of the smaller towns; who are the urban poor and their preferred modes of transport; the need to support low carbon transport (non-motorized and public transport); why life cycle costs of infrastructure must be included in cost benefit analysis. Prof Tiwari points out that in the past few years attention has been only on technological inputs and not enough on NMT, PT or land use and shelter policies – that is to say, efforts so far have not been pro-poor.

Inclusive transport requires that attention be paid to non motorized and public transport, which are the preferred moes of transport of the poor. They are captive users becuase they have no other choice. They may shift to carbon intensive modes when they are able to, partly also because of hostile existing NMT and PT. Indian cities are already compact and mixed use, often by violating formal plans, and we should see how this can be formalized. The challenge is how to retain low carbon modes of transport for most of the population (as their choice) and how to effect the shift from high to low carbon modes for the smaller percentage who do use private motorized. Prof Tiwari presents case studies (Delhi, Pune, Patna) to see how modal share might change with improvements in PT, PT and NMT, and NMT alone. Prof Tiwari also presents a brief overview of govt policies on urban transport and orbanization over the last 6 decades and the link between shelter policies, slum rehab and transportation. She ends by saying that the investments in urban transportation infrastructure in the last decade has been neither green nor pro-poor.


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McKinsey Report – India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth

The introduction to this document says that MGI conducted a 21 month study to understand India’s urbanization, to identify what was holding back India’s cities and what policy changes could transform the situation on the ground.

The report makes recommendations which it says have the potential to add 1 to 1.5 percent to national annual GDP. For this, it says that 5 dimensions are important – funding, governance, planning, sectoral policies and shape (distribution of urban population).

It suggests that the funds for infrastructure development can come from monetizing land, higher property taxes and user charges, debt and PPP, and formula-based government funding.

Download India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth, April 2010 by McKinsey Global Institute
(234 pages, 3.9 mb pdf)

The McKinsey Global Institute, established in 1990, is McKinsey & Company’s business and economics research arm.

Draft Approach Paper to the XII Plan

The XII Plan period is from 2012 to 2017. The Planning Commission develops an Approach Paper at the beginning of each five-year planning exercise. The overview in ‘An Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan‘ states that

In preparing the Approach Paper, the Planning Commission has consulted much more widely than ever before recognising the fact that citizens are now much better informed and also keen to engage. Over 950 civil society organisations across the country have provided
inputs; business associations, including those representing small enterprises have been consulted; modern electronic and social media are being used to enable citizens to give suggestions. All State Governments, as well as local representative institutions and unions, have been consulted through five regional consultations.

Download ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth: An Approach to the 12th Five Year Plan (Draft)‘ (1.4 mb pdf)


National Urban Transport Policy

The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) was launched in 2006 by the Government of India Ministry of Urban Development.

Download NUTP (243 kb pdf)

Ecocabs in Fazilka

Fazilka, a historical town and the district headquarters of Fazilka District is located in southwestern Punjab in India, about 325 kms west of Punjab State Capital Chandigarh. It is 405 kms to the south of National Capital Delhi directly connected with NH-10. Fazilka is 11 km off the international border with Pakistan

Ecocab is the name given to traditional rickshaw operation by improving its accessibility and quality.

In Phase-I, the effort has been to improve accessibility by initiating ‘dial a rickshaw’ facility for users. In Phase-II, the focus is on improving the quality of rickshaw to the use at same cost.

The underlying thinking behind the initiative is that the cycle rickshaw is one of the safest, most eco-friendly modes of transportation, also giving instant livelihood, but its usage has been declining due to high motorization. The basic idea was to strengthen the unorganized network of cycle rickshaw as a post modern technology in the area of Intermediate Public Transport System for Fazilka.

Nine Ecocab call centers have been established within the city to provide dial-a-rickshaw facility. Each centre is serving almost 1500 households. To cut down the vehicle out time, these centers are strategically placed along with a network of feeder sub centre so that after a phone call within 10 minutes Ecocab shall reach to desired location. This is mainly to facilitate household trips based trip to stop increase desired of personal motorised trip within the city; average trip length in the city is less than 3km, so it was easy to promote cycle based intermediate public transport system.

For society and users, the benefits are:

  • Organized Intermediate Public Transport System at affordable price
  • Saving of several hundred litres of fossil fuel and saving of 14500kg fresh air required to burn that fuel
  • Better law and order in the city-employment
  • Quality Ecocab service with modern ergonomically designed Ecocabs.
  • Another better option for residents as emergency healthcare facility like ambulance
  • Facilitation for visitors and tourists of the city

Over 500 registered traction men are self employed under Fazilka Ecocab project. For traction men (rickshaw pullers), there are several advantages:

  • Free Accidental Insurance upto Rs 50,000/
  • Free health checkup and consultation at leading private hospitals
  • Additional revenue through increased latent demand in Ecocab ridership and advertisement
  • Free education for family members of traction men
  • Micro Credit and finance schemes by the leading banks

The rules for the traction men are:

  • 30 Days Temporary Membership
  • After 30 days, with due approval of 7 Member Ecocab Management Committee Permanent Membership, with that traction men can avail all benefits
  • Rules like Fine of Drink & Drive, Dress Code etc which each traction man has to follow.

The design of the Ecocab in Phase II will incorporate the following:

  • Light Weight-Reduced Weight to 65 kg instead of existing 90kg
  • More luggage space
  • Better safety with reflectors
  • Comfort for both commuter and traction men
  • Facilities like water cooler and magazines
  • More advertisement space for more revenue

Some of the risks and difficulties faced are:

  • Through some marketing strategies Automobile industry may discourage and create taboo for not to use rickshaw and this may remain as vehicles for the urban/rural poor.
  • Political interference to decide over the revenue collected by rickshaw pullers (traction men) through pooling or advertisement
  • Biased and unplanned physical growth (pedestrian and cycle exclusive)of the city toward motor transport may result increase the size of the city and discourage people to use rickshaw for longer distances

An android app with Google Maps display Ecocab Centers for easier searching and which can provide a digital identification of the rickshaw operator.

The initiative has helped to organize Intermediate Public Transport System at affordable price. There has been global recognition of the initiative and Ecocabs or similar initiatives are being launched in other cities as well. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has itself recognized this as an ecofriendly mode of transportation and sent notices to the state governments to look into this mode which has the potential to replace carbon dioxide emitting motor vehicles.

For more information, visit and

Download Android App for Ecocabs

(Information courtesy Navdeep Asija)

Input on Urban Transport for XII Five Year Plan

The Planning Commission had constituted a working group under the Chairmanship of Dr. E. Sreedharan, MD/DMRC to make recommendations on urban transport for the 12th FYP.

10 goals have been identified for the 12th FYP, as follows:

  1. To create an effective institutional and Implementation framework that will manage the huge investments envisaged (average of about Rs 1 lac Crores per year) in the urban transport sector – today there is no single agency in the State or the city to manage the multi-component urban transport sector in an integrated and coordinated fashion;
  2. To build capacity of State and city officials and other stakeholders including civil society and media –today hardly any state or city has an urban transport professional on its rolls;
  3. To create facilities for walking and cycling in all 2 lac+ cities and State capitals – these are non-polluting modes that do not use fossil fuels and provide social equity;
  4. To develop an upgraded cycle rickshaw as an integral part of the city wide public transport network to provide the last mile connectivity – this is a non-polluting mode that does not use fuel and provides employment;
  5. To augment public transport (population figures as per 2011 Census):
    1. Introduce organized city Bus service as per Urban bus specifications issued by MOUD in all 2 lac+ cities and State capitals;
    2. Add BRTS @ 20 km/1 Million population in 51 cities with population> 1 Million;\
    3. Add rail transit at 10 km/ Million. population, start planning rail transit projects in Cities with population in excess of 2 Million, start construction in cities with population in excess of 3 Million. The estimated financial progress during the 12thplan period is envisaged at 25% of total cost;
    4. Expand rail transit In existing mega cities, @ 10 km per/yr. i.e 50 km/yr in 12th FYP;
    5. Provide Suburban rail services in urban agglomerations with population > 4 Million;
    6. Improve and upgrade Intermediate public transport vehicles.

6. To improve accessibility and mobility in cities through:

    1. Developing hierarchical road network in newly developing areas
    2.  To complete 25% of major road network in all 2 lac* + cities with missing links including opening up of dead end roads for better utilization.
    3. To improve and maintain road surface to the highest standards with good drainage. To regulate and coordinate Work of utility agencies. Today utility agencies do not hesitate in cutting up the road for their work as and when they like and leave it unrepaired or badly repaired.

7.  To provide grade separated entries and bye-passes for through traffic;

8. To improve road Safety and security against vandalism, crime and terrorism – introduce a system of safety audit;

9. To use technology for multimodal integration, enforcement and traffic management;

10. To promote innovation, research and development in guided transport; and to support pilot projects with 100% funding from Government of India.

Download the Report /input of the Working Group on Urban Transport (2.5 mb, pdf)

Urban Infrastructure and Services – Report of the High Powered Expert Committee

The High Powered Expert Committee on Indian Urban Infrastructure and Services, chaired by Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, was set by the Ministry of Urban Development in May 2008 for estimating the investment requirements for urban infrastructure services.

The central message of the report is that urbanization is an inevitable outcome of the faster rates of growth to which the economy has now transited.  Urbanization is seen as a process that will support growth.

The Committee has made recommendations on how to deal with the challenges of urbanization.The Committee has projected very large investment requirements for providing public services to specified norms and also supporting the growth process.

The HPEC posits that the challenge of financing these investments is inextricably linked with the challenge of governing the cities and towns of India. The Committee has proposed a framework for governance and financing which will enable the municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats.

At the workshop on 29 Sept 2011, organized to discuss the findings of the HPEC, Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja while appreciating the report stressed the need for further capacity building in city governments and also expressed the need for supporting the informal sector, which is the major driving force behind the economic growth of a city.

The HPEC has asked for feedback from States and Cities on the report. The HPEC report and the deliberations on it are expected to pave the way for planning the next phase of JnNURM, or what is called the New Improved JnNURM (NIJnNURM) in the HPEC presentation.

Minutes of deliberations at Vigyan Bhawan, 29 Sept 2011

Urban Transport Parameters proposed under National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

Under the National Action Plan for Climate Change, the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat has been launched to cover various aspects which include better urban planning and modal shift to public transport.

Regarding Urban Transport, the objectives of the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (NMSH) are

“To address the issue of mitigating climate  change by taking  appropriate action with  respect to the transport sector such as evolving integrated land use and transportation plans,  achieving a modal shift from private to public mode of transportation, encouraging the use of non-motorised transport, improving fuel efficiency, and encouraging use of alternate fuels, etc. To evolve strategies for adaptation in terms of realignment and relocation, design standards and planning for roads, rail and other infrastructure to cope with warming and climate change”.

As a first step towards implementation of theMission, MoUD has constituted a sub-committee for formulation of draft National Sustainable Habitat parameters on urban transport under the chairmanship Shri S.K Lohia, OSD (UT) and E.O. JS, MoUD. The terms of reference of this sub-committee are to propose National Sustainable Habitat parameters for urban transport that specially address the following:

  1. Development of Norms integrating measures related to Taxation, Parking and Congestion Charges, Public Carriage specifications and Service
  2. Norms to encourage public transportation
  3. Development of norms for Pedestrianization /Cycling
  4. Development of model regulations pertaining to registration of diesel propelled personal vehicles as per NSMH
  5. Model Regulations for  integrating Transport Planning (CMP) with  Master Plans
  6. Adoption of model regulations /norms by various States/UTs

The following Principles have been proposed for urban transport:

  1. Walk: Develop neighbourhoods that promote walking
  2. Cycle: Prioritize cycle networks
  3. Connect: Create dense networks of streets and paths
  4. Transit: Support high quality transit
  5. Density, Diversity and Compactness
  6. Shift: Shift to sustainable modes by using technology, regulating road use, parking and fiscal measures
  7. Urban Transport Fund
  8. Transport Impact Assessment

Parameters have been identified for each of these principles and as methods of implementation suggested.

Download Parameters for the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat – Report of the Sub-Committee on Urban Transport

Pune’s Transport Budget Analysis 2011-12

SUM Net member organization Parisar has recently done an analysis of Pune’s municipal budget, and in particular those aspects that relate to transportation investments and expenditures. Here are some highlights:


At around 30% of the total municipal budget of Pune, the transportation sector gets a larger share than important sectors like health, sanitation & slum rehabilitation together.

The country has formulated a National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) and the city has commissioned a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP). One would expect that allocation of money within the transportation sector would follow the principles of NUTP and attempt to achieve the goals laid down in the CMP. These documents have clearly mentioned their key focus as “mobility of people rather than vehicles” and keeping with this spirit, the main emphasis of CMP has been promoting public and non motorized transport in the city, and states that their modal shares should be 40% and 50% respectively by 2030.

Parisar analyzed the budgetary allocation on transportation sector in Pune’s 2011-12 budget. It emerges that more than 60% of the transport sector budget is allocated to projects which are motor vehicle friendly like building of new roads, flyovers, parking structures and re-tarring of roads. On the other hand, non-motorized friendly and public-transport friendly projects get only 9% and 18% respectively of the budget allocation in spite of including doubtful projects such as subways, skywalks, BRT (as currently implemented) and Metro (as currently planned). This clearly suggests that the city has not paid any attention to the guidelines of NUTP or the goals set by CMP while preparing its budget.



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