Innovative Transport Alternatives That Could Drive Smart Cities
India has one of the largest road networks in the world spanning approximately 47 lakh kilometres. But the alarming rise in vehicular population has severely congested the roads in Indian cities. One of the major focus of the government's smart cities mission is efficient urban mobility and development of a robust public transportation system. Smart transportation is the need of the hour and can be achieved through developments in smart infrastructure, smart automobiles, sustainable fuels as well as intelligent transport systems.
Launch of Metro rail projects in several cities has been a noteworthy achievement. However, the Indian government is also exploring possibilities for other alternative modes of public transportation. The government is planning to develop 200 low-cost airports in tier-II and tier-III cities as well as 111 river-streams as waterways to facilitate coastal shipping to reduce traffic congestion as well as road congestion. Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping recently highlighted government's quest to develop smart transport solutions. The idea will be to develop more cycle tracks and promote transport that runs on electricity like skybus, metro, cable car and funicular railway.
MakaaniQ brings more insights on the story.
The minister of road transport and highway recently announced government's plans to link major parts of the country through waterways via IWT (Inland Water Transport). Some of the oldest ports in the city of Mumbai will witness investment to the tune of Rs 225 crore for development of high-tech passenger terminal to serve cruise ship. World Bank will offer support inland waterways project by initiating 375-million-dollar load for National Waterway-1. About 20,000 kilometres of rivers will be turned into waterways, development of which will amount to only 10 per cent of the overall construction cost of roads.
The road transport ministry is also planning to promote multi-terrain vehicles that can travel on road and water. Recently, the world's first hybrid 'aeroboat' was unveiled in India. The aeroboat, built by Indo-Russian joint venture', is capable of travelling on land, water, snow and sand. This is a landmark development and will be instrumental in effective disaster management and transportation.
Mumbai will be the first city to have ropeway transportation which will not only be an efficient public transport facility but also boost tourism. The Rs 1,000-crore project is proposed for creating a nine-km ropeway which will provide east-west connectivity between two suburbs, Thane-Borivali and is capable of ferrying 4,000-5,000 people per hour in one direction.
To ease traffic congestion on the roads, the ministry has plans to implement ropeway transportation in Delhi and is in talks with four global firms.
Electric vehicles and electric highway
There are plans to make some cities as a pilot for 'plug-in' ready cities. This will happen by facilitating the expansion of Public Electric Vehicle (EV) which will ensure safe, reliable and efficient integration of EV charging roads will the power grid. Electric tracks could soon come up on city roads involving wireless charging hardware embedded on road surfaces. Referring to the recently launched electric highway in Sweden, the transport minister expressed government's ambitions to build similar feature on Indian roads too.
Multimodal logistics park
The road ministry has shortlisted 15 locations across the country and set Rs 32,853 crore for the development of multimodal logistics park. The project will cover states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana. Sprawling over 4,800 acres of area, the logistics parks will be developed under the first phase of the ministry's Logistics Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP). The project will help in reducing transportation cost by around 10 per cent and vehicular emissions by 12 per cent. It will serve major functions of multimodal freight movement, storage and warehousing, freight aggregation and distribution as well as value-added services. 36 ring roads have been identified for the project.