ACCESSIBILITY BENCH MARKING FOR METRO SYSTEMS IN INDIA

Context

Accessibility to transit systems, as such can be studied under various indicators. Considering Land-use and Transport integration as  a primary factor of accessibility; this part of the study in particular is focused on understanding the integration between transport and land use by understanding amount and nature of  land-uses in the vicinity of metro stations. Through the course of this study, a methodology was established and used to understand the number of jobs, nature of jobs, amount and nature of housing and other land uses in a 500m radius area; also known as the influential area around metro stations of a transit system. The following steps will clearly segregate the proposed steps in the study.1. Develop a methodology to calculate the number and nature of commercial spaces, understand the nature of jobs (in terms of suitable indicators) around transit stations of an MRT system.2. Develop a methodology to understand the number and nature of residential spaces (in terms of suitable indicators) around transit stations of an MRT system.Ultimately the project endeavors to perform a correlation of ridership numbers on the MRT system with quantity and qualities of land uses and perform a ridership modeling in terms of land uses. The project will result in a sort of a ridership modeling, which will guide the following:1. Greenfield metro projects - by guiding WHERE to place transit stations to increase ridership.2. Brownfield metro projects -  by guiding WHAT jobs to place near transit stations to increase ridership.Simultaneously, created a database of responses procured through perceptions surveys to gauge whether last mile connectivity to the Metro network is a gendered experience; if yes, how can the standard be improved through various interventions ?  

Problem Statement

As a part of the Smart Cities Mission, cities are trying to integrate land use and transport using Transit Oriented Development (TOD). As a guiding principle, the Ministry of Urban Development in India has issued a TOD Guidance document. TOD as defined by the Ministry of Urban Development is "planning concept that presents the potential of coordinating land use planning, transportation system design and infrastructure investments, as an integrated process with people and public transit at its heart" (MoUD,2016). The guidance document lists 12 principles that should be adhered to create an efficient transport system that is based on TOD. While a detailed look at these principles can be had in the document, this project focuses on only one of these 12 principles.Table 1 : Summarized from MoUD Guidance Document, 2016 Benefit of Mixing Land UseMechanism of BenefitLess need for sprawl resulting in shorter trip lengthsIncreased density around transit nodesLess congestion on roadsReduced Trip GenerationA day and night long safety systemRound-the Clock Space UsageThe above list is only indicative and there are many benefits of  land use mix. This study aims to find the most efficient land use mix that would result in a well functioning TOD.Additionally, the idea of a Smart City espouses an equal right to access safe public space, which also includes Public Transport in its ambit. Upon further research, and as per census 2011, it also realized that 84% of trips by women and girls in India are by public, intermediate public and non-motorized modes of transport. This calls for specific and in-depth research on their experiences of the  same - especially in India, where there is very little information pertaining to metro experiences.   This principle known as the mixed land uses aims to place more people closer to transit nodes by mixing land uses ( residential, retail, commercial, civic, employment and recreational facilities). The following table summarizes the benefits of mixing land uses and traffic nodes: 

Objective

1. Explore the concept of measuring the extent of transit-oriented development (or TOD-ness) in order to establish a relationship between TOD and the benefits that accrue. 2. Gender off-shoot to document, archive and formulate possible interventions in the space of last mile connectivity.   

Project Developement

a. Pilot City Identification: As of 2020 there are 12  cities with a functional metro in India; that include Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Kochi, Lucknow, Nagpur and Ahmedabad. Apart from this, there are cities where the metro rail is under construction and a few cities have a planned metro for the future which include Kanpur, Vishakapatnam, Surat, Gawahati, Patna, Kanpur, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Indore, Varanasi. After a detailed literature study on all the metro systems in India, Delhi metro rail system was identified to be suitable for this part of the study; With a total length of 391 kilometers, Delhi metro has 285 stations with eleven colour-coded regular lines, it is the most successful metro system in India also called the lifeline of Delhi; vast network, high ridership, metro stations with different land use types, are the reasons behind choosing Delhi Metro for the pilot study.   b. Project Development and Implementation: Different stages of project development included identifying pilot city as Delhi, identifying  3 sutiable metro stations for the study based on ridership which include Rajiv Chowk with highest number of footfall, Kalkaji with medium footfall,  Lok Kalyan Marg with lowest footfall and performing a correlation analysis of land-use based density with ridership data. The steps mentioned are given in the diagram:  

Expected Outcomes

1. Using station footfall and commercial land use type data around Rajiv Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Kalkaji metro a correlation was to be made to identify an optimum density mix of commercial area suitable for improving ridership at metro stations.2. Gendered experiences and behavior patterns with regard to  last mile connectivity.   

Actual Result

Through a correlation analysis of boarding and alighting data and land-use data,  it was identified that both commercial and residential land-uses effect ridership. However, as per this study of 3 metro stations it was identified that  residential land-use has a greater effect on ridership. Details of the analysis are given in Figure 1 : 

Developed a brief primary study on gendered behavioral patterns to last mile connectivity and   can be concluded that there is a very specific need and scope for study into the gendered experiences of metro travel in today’s India, especially due to the increasing number of cities which have metro networks. Even though these perception surveys may provide some opposing and complicated responses, as was also visible in the surveys done in Delhi as part of the gender- offshoot, they still have the potential to present a broader emotion of its users and the possibility of any gendered experiences. Eventually, the goal is to understand which exact part of the metro experience needs an everyday intervention without having to make large financial or technological investments. Results of the survey are in Figure 2.

Conclusion

With an objective to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of 'Smart Solutions' the smart cities mission also focuses on providing efficient urban mobility and public transport. This study is in line with the objective of the mission by creating a model integrating land-use and transport suitable for better performance of a mass rapid transit system. A suitable land-use for optimum ridership was identified through this study, however due to time constraints only 3 metro stations were studied, which can be further scaled-up with a similar methodology across Indian cities with metros, which helps in preparing a threshold level for commercial and residential land-use which is suitable for giving an optimum ridership at metro stations. In the Gender off-shoot, it can be concluded that these perception surveys may provide some opposing and complicated responses, as was also visible in this study, they still have the potential to present a broader emotion of its users and the possibility of any gendered experiences.If the study can be scaled up further, such as working on higher number of metro station areas and coming up with a threshold of jobs that would increase the footfall at a metro station by studying the income levels of those employed, or number of residents in a metro station influential area with their income levels, will make this a beneficial study to not just increase the ridership at metro stations but also guide the metro authorities in developing the metro station areas for the overall sustainability of metro rail transit systems in India.

Mentor
City
Kochi