The state housing and urban development (H&UD) department has roped in Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the engineering design of a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in the city. "CEPT University is likely to submit the DPR in eight months," SK Ratho, special secretary, H&UD, told media persons on the sidelines of a workshop on 'Air Quality and Transportation Challenge: An Agenda for Action in Bhubaneswar', organised jointly by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) . The government has identified six routes in Bhubaneswar for implementation of BRTS. However, H&UD department has selected two routes - Sishu Bhawan-Vani Vihar and Jaidev Vihar-Nandan Kanan in the first phase for the implementation of the project.
Officials said, the investment in the new system for streamlining the vehicular traffic which is growing 13.2 percent yearly, will be around Rs 15-20 crore per km. "We have identified the routes for implementation of BRTS to streamline the traffic system in Bhubaneswar. The BRTS will be developed in two years," informed vice-chairman of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Vishal Dev. CEPT has designed similar systems for about seven to eight cities including Ahmedabad. Earlier in 2008, Rites Ltd, a Government of India (GoI) owned consultancy firm in the field of transport, infrastructure and related technologies, had prepared a comprehensive report for the development of BRTS in Bhubaneswar where it had identified six routes covering 49 km. As the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack corridor is witnessing huge infrastructure development, the state government is contemplating to develop Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in the twin cities. The RFP (Request for Proposals) is finalized for traffic demand assessment and system selection and DPR will be floated shortly, officials said. The CSE findings reveal that out of nine cities the environment advocacy group has monitored in Odisha, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Balasore have high levels of PM10 (particulate matter), tiny particles that go deep inside the human lungs. "Bhubaneswar has a chance to prevent worsening of air pollution and congestion if it can build on its inherent advantage of compact urban design, high share of walking, cycling and public transport usage and prevent automobile dependence," said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of clean air and sustainable transportation programme at CSE.