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Ahmedabad BRTS wins silver rating from globally renowned experts

Ahmedabad BRTS, known as Janmarg has added yet another feather in its cap. It has received the Silver Rating from a technical committee comprising of world renowned experts in the field of BRT. This Technical Committee certifies corridors and recommends revisions to the BRT Standard annually. The benefit of certifying a BRT corridor as gold, silver, bronze, or basic is that it sets an internationally recognized standard for the current best practice for BRT. The Committee in 2013, gave Silver rating for Ahmedabad Janmarg. The BRT Standard Technical Committee members include people of eminence representing well-known international organisations. They are:

Manfred Breithaupt, GIZ

» Wagner Colombini Martins, LogitConsultoria

» Paulo Custodio, Consultant

» Walter Hook, ITDP

» Colleen McCaul, Consultant

» Gerhard Menckhoff, World Bank (retired)

» Carlos Felipe Pardo, Slow Research

» Scott Rutherford, University of Washington

» Pedro Szasz, Consultant

» Lloyd Wright, Asian Development Bank

Ahmedabad started its BRT system in 2009. Since its inauguration in October 2009, Janmarg has been accepted as the first ‘complete’ BRTS in India and has influenced planning and design choices in other cities – in India and abroad. The trans-vision of Ahmedabad is captioned as ‘Accessible Ahmedabad’. As part of this vision, the Ahmedabad BRTS is officially called ‘Janmarg’ – the people’s way.

Janmarg is designed as a strategic intervention, to attract latent transit demand, improve air quality and help the city remain compact. The guiding principles for the selection of the network corridors are the ability to reach a larger segment of people. Also considered was the corridor’s ability to accommodate BRTS, integrate well within the existing infrastructure, contribute to ease the traffic problems in a significant way, provide opportunities for improvements in land use, be implemented quickly, inexpensively and provide potential for cost-recovery.

Today, Janmarg operates over a network of 63 km and has a daily ridership of 1.4 lakh people. 127 buses operate everyday with headway of 2 minutes in peak hour. Almost 20 per cent of the commutes on Janmarg today have shifted from their two-wheelers. By May 2013, the system would be operating 6-7 routes, and carrying an estimated 3 lakh passengers daily. Plans have been finalised now to extend the network by another 50 kilometres taking the corridor length to 135 kilometres by the end of 2015.

Buoyed by the successful implementation of BRTS, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also announced setting up a Multi-Modal Affordable Transport Authority (MATA) for integrated transport management, coordinating travel on all the three horizons – sky, land and water routes. The fast-growing urban population worldwide with corresponding rise in vehicles, mobility and incidence of accidents and the fast depleting fossil fuels along with rising pollution are major problems today. Initiatives like the BRTS address all these problems in one go.

It is ironic that while Ahmedabad BRTS has leveraged itself as a model, nationally and internationally, the Delhi BRTS, located in India’s capital has been given the consolatory basic rating and occupies the bottom of the table. This reconfirms the success of the Gujarat Model and further highlights the necessity of will power and proper planning in implementing a project successfully. The Delhi BRTS also sums up the state of affairs in our nation illustrating the ill effects of political negligence and a weak administration.

The Ahmedabad BRTS has won numerous national and international awards in the past too. The Prime Minister adjudged the BRTS as the best Mass Rapid Transport System in the country. It also won the ‘Best New Innovation Project’ award under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for excellence in Urban Transport. It won the Sustainable Urban Transport Award (2010) in Washington. The Central Government again lauded it when it won the National Award for ‘Best Intelligent Transport System – 2011’ at the 4th Annual Urban Mobility Conference, New Delhi. Ahmedabad BRTS was the Joint Runners up for the award for Outstanding Innovation in Public Transport, 2010 at International Transport forum, Innovators meet, Germany. It received yet another award from United Nations Climate Change Secretariat for Momentum of change light house activity, December 2012, at Doha, Qatar.

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