While optimum use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) for improvement of traffic conditions and safety of road, rail, air and water commuters is much debated in the country, the state of Karnataka has taken the lead in trying to make one of its cities an ITS city. Under the aegis of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), and as part of the GEF-SUTP Programme, Mysore City has been chosen to be India?s first major ITS city, with the backing of the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. S Mallikarjuna, Chief Mechanical Engineer (P) who has put in 32 years at KSRTC and is the Head of its Project Implementation Unit, writes exclusively for TrafficInfraTech on the process of making Mysore an ITS City.
With the adoption of National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), achieving sustainable urban transport has become a primary objective of the Government of India (GoI). Efforts to reduce or contain environmental risks form an important component of this objective. The objective is also to foster a long-term partnership between GoI and state/local governments in the implementation of a greener environment under the ambit of the NUTP.
It all began with proposals being called for assisting states and cities in preparing and implementing demonstration ?Green Transport? projects under Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP). The project is an initiative of GoI with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Bank and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). KSRTC, as the leading public transport provider in the city of Mysore, sent the proposal to the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), the nodal agency for the
project, for implementing the ITS Project for Mysore City. While the vendor selection was done in 2010, the project was actually launched in Mysore on November 17, 2012.
The Intelligent Transport System Project implemented at Mysore addresses the critical issue of road congestion by offering state-of-the-art technologies and attractive, convenient, comfortable and value added services to encourage the usage of bus services against individual personal vehicles. The use of ITS was envisaged to encourage the use of public transport and reduce the use of personal vehicles. This significantly contributes to saving the environment from heavy vehicle pollution and reducing congestion on city roads. It is funded by the World Bank and the Ministry of Urban Development.
Building intelligence into the transport system brings in the convergence of technologies, thus providing a synergetic transformation in the commuter experience. ITS provides benefits in terms of: Reduced waiting time and uncertainty; Increase in the accessibility of the system; Increase in the safety of users; Reduced fuel consumption and emissions; Reduced operational costs; Improved traffic efficiency; Reduced traffic congestion; Improved environmental quality and energy efficiency; and Improved economic productivity.
Mysore has been chosen since it is a potent place given its historical background, tourist activities, and a high growth rate in traffic density. The medium city size makes the project affordable, and projects a 70% increase in the land use profile. Also, Mysore city, with all the modern infrastructural amenities, offers several opportunities to the people to earn their livelihood, thus attracting several people from other states for employment. This, in effect, will increase the population of the city manifold in the near future.
If we look at the recent statistics of vehicle registration in Mysore, the percentage share is less than 1%, whereas the combined share of cars, auto rickshaws and two-wheelers is 94.54%. This implies that there is a huge scope for significant modal shift to public transport. KSRTC, being the front runner in public transport system, rose to the occasion in welcoming commuters to its buses. It has created huge infrastructure facilities in Mysore City like the introduction of adequate and modern buses, Traffic & Transit Management Centres and Innovative Environment System. Now, ITS joins the ever increasing list of improved infrastructure.
The scope of KSRTC?s ITS project in Mysore City includes 500 buses, 105 bus stops, six bus terminals and 45 platforms.
The key components of the project are: Real-Time Passenger Information System, In-Vehicle display & Automated Voice Announcement System, Central Control Station, Automatic Vehicle Location System, Enterprise Management System, Network Management System, Application Performance Management System, Helpdesk Management System, Service Level Management, Real-time PIS data access to commuters through SMS, MIS Reports and Training.