Today, the scale of urbanistion in India is only 33 per cent, whereas the size of the urban population is about 429 million – much larger than that of many other countries, according to World Bank data. The fact that Indian cities are among the fastest-growing in the world is clearly evident from JLL’s recent Cities Momentum Index 2017 – a research report which identifies the world’s 30 most dynamic cities. Six out of 30 cities, namely Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, are in India.
Although it is an indicator of positive development, rapid urbanisation is also accompanied by a host of challenges. The growing urban sprawl in India is leading to increased use of private vehicles, congested roads, increased pollution, public safety issues, increased household spending – and the stress that increasing population puts on the existing infrastructure of our cities.
Many of these problems can be solved or at least significantly reduced by cities augmenting their public transport systems and also integrating land use planning and development with the transport network. Such solutions can lead to markedly improved infrastructure efficiency – and a better quality of life for citizens.
Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
After focused efforts to dovetail infrastructure and technology through its AMRUT and Smart Cities programmes, the Government of India is now turning its attention to developing a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy to support the transformation process already underway in most of the Indian cities. This transformation will attract lot of investments to the respective cities, and vastly increase their ‘liveability’ in a sustainable manner.
Essentially, TOD is any macro or micro development focused around a transit node, which results in improved ease of access to the transit facility. When done correctly, such developments encourage citizens to prefer walking and using public transportation over using private vehicles.
Globally, cities like Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia, Curitiba in Brazil, Stockholm in Sweden and Washington DC in the US have TOD as an integral element in their master planning, and integrated with their mass transport networks. The success and inherent inducements for growth that TOD delivers in these cities is remarkable. Around 26-30 per cent of these countries’ populations – and the majority of their job centres – are along Metro corridors.
The TOD trend is now gradually making its mark in India as well. Cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Chennai now have extensive high-order transit options either in place or in the planning stage. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) are actively exploring the TOD opportunities in these cities by exploiting higher FSI along transit corridors for developments.
It is safe to state that TOD will be the future of urbanisation, and that it will have a major impact on various sectors – not least of all the real estate industry.
Direct and indirect benefits of TOD