Green Urban Transport Scheme

Green Urban Transport Scheme (GUTS) is an idea whose time has come, because the way, the veins and the arteries of cities are being choked due to abnormal rise in carbon level and depriving the citizens of pollution free life. The phenomenon of smog which recently engulfed New Delhi – India’s capital was an eye opener, requiring official intervention to deal with the rising pollution that has contaminated the air; assumed alarming proportions and is causing diseases, allergies, death to humans and damage to other living organisms; and if not tackled on war footing, will soon turn into catastrophic situation.

Keeping in view the threat, the pollution levels pose to the life in urban areas, of which the first and foremost cause is transport system emitting huge amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gases into the environment; Central government is planning to provide for climate friendly and sustainable public transport systems like Metro rail, Non-motorized Transport and other low carbon emitting systems in urban areas. It will, on the one hand, bridge the gap of the inadequate and inefficient public transport infrastructure in urban areas, and on the other hand, will be helpful in controlling the rising air pollution.

The need is to bring awareness among the citizens, of enormity of harms the existing transport system is causing to the surrounding health system; and encourage them to be the participants in the historic green initiatives  directly concerned with their well-being.

With the initiatives still in pipeline, it is aimed to draw and attract as much private investments as possible. The new initiatives requiring private participation for its success include Green Urban Transport Scheme, new Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and Standardization and Indigenization of Metro systems.

The Green Urban Transport Scheme seeks to achieve twin goals of:

  1. Pushing for growth of urban transport along low Carbon path for substantial and measurable reduction in pollution.
  2. Bringing in a permanent and sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects at National, State and City levels with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects.

The key provision stipulated under the scheme can be listed as under:

  • Provision of Non-motorized Transport infrastructure.
  • Increasing access to public transport.
  • Use of clean technologies, adoption of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
  • Private sector participation in urban transport projects.

First, the scheme will be implemented in cities with a population of 5 lakh and above and all the capital cities. An initial amount of about Rs.25, 000 crore as Central assistance, is proposed to be made available for the project with clear objective to attract more private investments to meet the resource needs, over the next five years.

A new Metro Policy as envisioned under the GUTS requires preparation of Comprehensive Mobility Plans of cities to make last mile connectivity with metro stations. The policy has a clear cut goal of bringing in more innovative models of implementation along with increased standardization and indigenization to create space for competition. The integration of metro projects with overall mobility needs in urban areas under the scheme is highly desirable. To fulfil vision of scheme there already is 325 kms. of metro rail  in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Jaipur and around 517 kms of metro rail projects are under execution and another 449 kms are at planning stages.

The scheme is unique as it also takes into account the needs of an affordable, comfortable, reliable and safe public transportation and discourages the demand for private motorized vehicles. The promotion of Non-Motorized Transport- NMT- infrastructure for promoting walking and cycling tracks is also envisioned in developing GUTS. Non-Motorized Transport can replace Motorized Transport as a viable alternative mode of mobility and would be effective if there is a proximity between working and living places. But the proposition requires proper land use zoning, development control and bringing regulations to make public transport system successful in urban areas and cities.

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