07 June 2016 Current Affairs: The Rajiv Gauba Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi on 5 June 2016 submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
To ensure a safe, sustainable, affordable, equitable, comfortable, accessible and environmental friendly public transport system in the city, the Committee recommended a 4-pronged strategy with the components of
a. Improving Public Transport and Disincentivising use of private vehicles
b. Promoting Road Safety and efficient Traffic Management
c. Setting up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority and enhancing institutional capacity
d. Promotion of Transit Oriented Development through integrated land use and transportation planning
Recommendations of the committee : It called for a paradigm shift in transport planning and policy interventions to check explosive growth in automobile population in the national capital. It recommended moving people more efficiently than cars through effective public transport system.
The committee noted that that 21 percent of city’s area is already under roads with limited scope for road network expansion and 60 percent of passenger trips are below 4 km distances and 80 percent below 6 km lengths.
Since these short distances are ideal for non-motorised transport, it strongly recommended development of necessary infrastructure for promoting walking and cycling in the national capital.It also opined that automobile centric planning with focus on road widening, construction of more and more flyovers, Foot Over Bridges, Under Passes etc., have only promoted increased use of private vehicles which are meeting only less than 20 percent of transport needs and should not be encouraged unless warranted by natural barriers like rivers.The Committee also expressed serious concern over mushrooming of gated communities in the city which are compelling local traffic to come onto main roads by preventing short cuts for movement of people.The Committee called for various interventions over the next five years to enable 80 percent share for public transport and non-motorised trips in total transportation in the city.
The Committee concluded that the explosive growth in automobile population needs to be checked quickly by adopting a ‘carrot and stick’ policy of enabling increased use of public and non-motorised transport. It recommended for disincentivising use of private vehicles throughdeterrent parking pricing and Congestion Tax.A Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority should be set up for better coordination, quick decision making and execution. It will replace over 18 different Central and Delhi Government departments and agencies handling different aspects of transportation in the city region.
To implement its recommendations, the committee suggested 20000 crore rupees interventions through Bus Rapid Transport Systems (BRTS), buses, walking and cycling infrastructure.
The High Powered Committee on Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi was set up by the Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu in October 2014 based on media reports on the havoc being caused by traffic congestion.
The inter-ministerial Committee was headed by Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development). It had representatives from 19 different ministries and agencies of Central and Delhi Governments, Delhi Police and all the Urban Local Bodies.It came out with a 126 page comprehensive report analyzing the causes and consequences of traffic congestion and suggesting a way forward.