New Delhi: A high powered committee on 'Decongestion of Traffic in Delhi' called for a paradigm shift in transport planning and policy interventions to check explosive growth in automobile population in the national capital and move people more efficiently than cars through effective public transport system.
The Committee set up by the Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu in October,2014 responded to reports on the havoc being caused by traffic congestion came out with a 126 page comprehensive report analyzing the causes and consequences of traffic congestion and suggesting a way forward.
Noting that 21% of city's area is already under roads with limited scope for road network expansion, 60% of passenger trips are below 4 km distances and 80% below 6 km lengths which are ideal for non-motorised transport, the Committee 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% 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% share for public transport and non-motorised trips in total transportation in the city where in the total passenger trips are estimated to increase to 280 lakhs per day in 2021 from a mere 45 lakh trips in 1981, 118 lakh trips in 2001 and 144 lakhs in 2008.
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 and disincentivising use of private vehicles through deterrent parking pricing and Congestion Tax.
Expressing concern over 18 different Central and Delhi Government departments and agencies handling different aspects of transportation in the city region, the Committee recommended a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for better coordination, quick decision making and execution.
The Committee also recommended setting up of Committee headed by Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi with representatives of other stakeholders for monitoring the implementations of various recommendations for decongesting traffic in Delhi.