Chennai Plans for Bus Rapid Transit

Rajiv Gandhi Salai, a major road that runs along the east coast of Chennai, is identified as a feasible bus rapid transit route. Photo by Srinivasan S.

A new report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) identified eight corridors for future bus rapid transit systems in Chennai, India. Commissioned by the Transport Department, the report is an effort to create a comprehensive bus mobility plan for the city.

The report comes at a time when the city’s roads are congested with private vehicles and the rush hour speed has dropped to 6 kilometers per hour (about 4 miles per hour).

Rajiv Gandhi Salai, a major road in suburban Chennai, is one of the identified routes for a possible BRT, especially because it is dominated by private vehicles.

“Cars and two wheelers are taking too much of road space, slowing public transport buses to a crawl,” reports The Hindu. “For example, on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, though private vehicles move less than a third of the passenger volume that flows through the road, they take up 64 percent of the road space.”

The report recommends a system similar to Ahmedebad’s Janmarg BRT system, a project led by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University, in partnership with ITDPEMBARQ (the producer of this blog), and others.

ITDP is currently working with Chennai City Connect Foundation, a nonprofit co-created by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), on the integration of the BRT lines with metro and commuter rail. ITDP is also advising the state government of Tamil Nadu, of which Chennai is the capital, on adopting pedestrian and bicycle-friendly design guidelines.

Curious about Chennai’s traffic? Watch the video below for a little sample of on-the-road conditions.

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