Suburban Rail network, best answer for the Bangalore’s traffic woes

बेंगलुरू Bangalore (SBC): A suburban railway network is the best answer for the city’s traffic woes, according to a study conducted by an advocacy group.

The study suggests that connecting Bengaluru with towns like Mandya, Ramanagaram, Tumakuru, Doddballapur, Chikballapur, Malur, Bangarpet and Hosur would shift the growth centres to these places, and make Bengaluru more accessible.

The population of Bengaluru has grown by 46 per cent in the last decade. The public transport system is unable to cope with this growth. The number of vehicles has grown 17 times in the last decade. The population touched one crore last year and there is extreme traffic congestion, the study has revealed.

To address these issues, Prof Sitharam, ex-chairman of the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Transport Planning (CiSTUP) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), along with Praja, an advocacy and research organisation working on urban issues, have completed a study on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of a suburban railway transport system.

Prof Sitharam said, “Several measures were taken in Bengaluru like road widening, increasing the frequency of public transport, construction of a Metro rail network. Each option is laden with problems of cost, time taken for construction, nuisance to public during implementation and shorter reach in terms of distance covered.”

He says, “The government should consider options like suburban rail, which require minimal intervention and use of existing facilities rather than building something from scratch.”

Based on the number of passengers travelling daily, proximity to the city and future development potential, suburban towns like Mandya, Ramanagaram, Tumkur, Doddaballapur, Chikballapur, Malur, Bangarpet and Hosur were selected and connections to Bengaluru city were studied in detail.

With the low land prices in these areas, low and middle income groups tend to choose these locations as their places of residence.

‘It’s Cheaper’

Prof Sitharam also insists that the cost involved is much lesser.

As railway tracks already exist connecting these routes, the extra work needed — doubling the lines, electrification where needed and additional platforms — is minimal.