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Transit Oriented


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Executive Summary

The Transit Oriented Development Framework for Indian Cities is a study undertaken by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi with funding support from the Prosperity Fund, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Government of United Kingdom. This study will develop a framework on principles of i) integration of land-use and transportation, ii) sustainable neighbourhood development and iii) inclusion of economic, social and gender needs within land-use and housing mix. The goals of this study are to:

  • Expand the TOD framework to understand the importance of necessary and sufficient conditions in Indian cities, thereby enabling a more structured approach to TOD. The TOD paradigm has often been advocated by professionals in the transportation field. The various implementations around the world and their effects are well documented. The nature and the scale of impact of TODs differ according to the inclusion/exclusion of the guiding principles and resulting constructs (such as design, diversity, design etc.). The renewed emphasis on high density urban living necessitates consideration of dispersion of open spaces, of focusing on environment sustainability in construction practices and of addressing inclusion and accessibility needs.
  • Document examples of global, UK and Indian cases of Transit Oriented Development. The term ‘Transit Oriented Development’ is a recent American codification of the land-use-transportation integration practiced for a long time in Europe and East Asian countries. Often used to describe singular development shaping a city block above or near to a transit station, the term TOD has manifested differently in other countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands and United Kingdom. Even Indian cities such as Mumbai, despite absence of a formal TOD code till recent times, have evolved their urban structure around the suburban railway system. The UK examples of Canary Wharf and Kings Cross also demonstrate this amply. The listing of various cities around the world will provide a richer understanding of these various typologies of TOD, beyond the formal codified norms.
  • Develop a set of guiding principles for the study objectives listed above for the Indian Smart Cities to adopt in their TOD plans. Also develop a model DPR implementing TOD in Indian Smart Cities.

This research aims to achieve its objectives through the following deliverables:

  1. Best Practices document for Transit Oriented Development
  2. Set of guidance documents
  3. Model DPR document

The research traces the evolution of Transit Oriented Development globally, in UK and more recent implementations in Indian cities, along with the impacts. Its purpose is to:

  • Examine interpretation of TOD principles in Indian cities and thereby recognise the gaps that need to be addressed for inclusive development
  • Understand the gaps that will help to evolve future policy for TOD as Indian cities start to develop their land-use and transportation networks
  • Identify constructs that extend beyond the formal parameters of density, diversity and design to address issues of housing, non motorised transportation, parking management and other travel demand strategies that affect the efficiency and attractiveness of public transportation systems within a city.

This website provides additional resources such as video interviews with Municipal Commissioners from Indian Smart Cities implementing TOD, datasheets for the case studies and links to other TOD resources. This section of the website has been structured as follows:

  • Urbanisation and Urban Sprawl looks at the Indian urban growth and structural changes. It discusses the different challenges associated with the urbanisation process in India. It presents an overview of the traditional evolution of transportation and its various modes along with suburbanisation as a phenomenon in Indian and global cities. It addresses the issues of declining public transit shares and increasing vehicle ownership in the country and their relationships with the cities’ urban growth. This part of the document gives a comprehensive picture of the complicated struggle ahead of Indian cities for a sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Transit Oriented Development discusses why Indian cities should adopt it as an approach for managing their urban growth. This part also explores some of the barriers and enablers in the process of implementation of a TOD along with a system of classifying it. TOD can be implemented both as a Greenfield or a Brownfield project, but its success is dependent on unequivocal integration of transit and land-use. These integration factors or ‘Constructs’ as presented in this study include the globally accepted 3Ds of design, diversity and density along with mobility (parking management, non-motorised transportation, public transportation) and (affordable) housing, which are somewhat new to Indian Cities. This part is a detailed discussion of some of the key moving pieces of a TOD.
  • Case Studies presents TODs from India, UK and other countries. The section illustrates early adoption of land-use-transportation integration before the term ‘Transit Oriented Development’ was coined. Tokyo demonstrates the ‘Rail + Property’ model of development, which is also followed in Hong Kong. Portland and Curitiba illustrate the use of different modes of transit - light rail for Portland and Bus Rapid Transit for Curitiba for intensifying development and bringing in economic growth. In India, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad present three different cases of development focused on three different modes of transportation - Metro, Railway and Bus - with each city attempting to address its basic challenge of moving people. UK demonstrates multiple successes in integration of transit and land-use for improved quality of life in Canary Wharf, King's Cross and New Street Station. The purpose of this part of the document is to illustrate success of certain solutions across various national and global cities.
  • Potential for TOD in India looks at the two factors that are driving the scaling of TOD implementations in India - the expansion of Metro systems and the National Smart City Mission. To capture the impact of transit and land-use relationships, the current existing Service Level Benchmarks as outlined by Ministry of Urban Development are also studied in this section and recommendations for additional indicators are made.
  • Guidance Documents are three handbooks presenting an analysis of TOD in Indian smart cities, a discussion on Game Changers and a list of indicators for TOD in Indian cities.

Scope and Limitations

Capturing the urban complexities in cities can be an unending and possibly futile pursuit. Cities in India have undergone a rapid transformation in the last decade. Most of the Tier I, II and III cities, incentivised by JnNURM mandates, are for the first time developing their City Development Plans and Comprehensive Mobility Plans, the two dealing with perspective planning and transportation respectively. The understanding of the implications and data gathering to monitor the plans is still evolving due to a lack of concurrency of data relating to housing and transportation. Moreover, even mega-cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi are only in their second or third development plan formulation or implementation. So while this study comes at a time of increased public transportation investments in Indian cities and coincides with formulation of the cities’ development plans in many cases; it is based on a rather short horizon of understanding urban complexities. Coincidentally, the market reform process of 1990s coincides with many of the city development plans being taken up. While market forces undoubtedly, have till now and continue to shape the nature of Indian cities (similar to global cities), the interrelationships are too complex to capture in this study.

This website is aimed to equip the reader with an understanding of global best practices in TOD, identify gaps in the selected Indian cities and make recommendations to overcome these gaps. It is not a policy document, instead, as a framework it aims to support the development and operationalisation of TOD Projects as part of a city wide strategic planning approach under the umbrella of the Indian Smart Cities Mission.

Despite the limitations, it aspires to open up to the reader, the richness of Transit Oriented Development. The various case studies signify variations in TOD; the variations occur across mode of transit, geographic scale of TOD and the type of approach to include the various constructs (described in part II). Given that cities, even in the same country, differ considerably in their urban evolution, this website should be used to as a quick reference for building upon the best practices rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the transit and land-use dialogue.

A deeper understanding will not overwhelm the decision makers in Indian cities, on the contrary it will help streamline the planning processes in their TOD journey. While going through this website, the readers will identify similar existing conditions and the roadblocks to achieve TOD success in their cities - thereby enabling them to recognise the complexities of TOD, break them down into incremental constructs, jumpstart the implementation and finally scale the achievements.

Urbanisation And Urban Sprawl : A Perspective On India's Urban Growth

India’s rapid economic development, especially since the 1990s is intrinsically related to its urbanisation process. The structural changes taking place in the economy and related to poverty alleviation are both outcomes and accelerators of this urbanisation. This process has generated positive benefits for India’s gross domestic product and jobs for the young demographic dividend. Today, Indian cities generate two-thirds of India’s GDP, 90% of tax revenues, and the majority of jobs, with just one-third of the country’s population (New Climate Economy, 2014). It is projected that by 2030, while the urban population of India shall grow to 40.76%, the share of GDP contributed by urban areas shall touch approximately 70% (NHB, 2013). However, gaps remain in the overall quality of life for the urban residents.

Transit Oriented Development

Dispersal as a form of decentralisation lies at the heart of patterns of development that are environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable. Rapid expansion of cities is inevitable given the speedy urbanisation that accompanies the exponential growth of population and rising incomes. However, planning mechanisms that have led to single-use low density development with disparity in the job-housing ratio are primarily to blame for the ill effects of sprawl. Transit Oriented Development or TOD encourages compact urban growth that helps to reap the economic benefits of urbanisation and enhances socio-economic productivity by improving resource efficiency and quality of life. It is therefore imperative to focus on development of dense, socially-mixed neighbourhoods in cities. Such areas promote human-scale urban environments complemented by healthy public green spaces, vibrant markets, and a range of affordable housing and public transportation options to maintain liveability.

Case Studies

This section presents case studies of Transit Oriented Development in 10 cities from across the world. They represent various modes of public transit and different appraoches to development. While some cases illustrate success as a result of deliberate planning and long strategic growth management, others showcase incidental success resulting from juxtaposition of high quality transit, mix of land use and high population density. The section specifically looks at cases from UK, highlighting their successful station area development.

Potential for TOD in India

Indian cities are developing at a rapid pace with the support of various national level schemes and missions. There is a clear shift towards an integrated approach and strategic planning. This is particularly evident in India’s Smart Cities Mission which is focused on stimulating development and investments in Indian cities. This part looks at the mission and the potential for TOD in these and other cities. The first part discussess the TOD projects from the Smart City Proposals of cities selected in the 1st year of the mission. The second section presents some estimates of economic potential generated by TOD around all the metro projects in the country along with a discussion on development potential of railway and bus systems. Institutional factors and service level benchmarks at the city level are also discussed in this part.