With the count of registered vehicles plying on Bhubaneswar's streets outnumbering the city's population, the Odisha government has initiated work on developing a low-carbon mobility plan for the state capital.
The state government's housing & urban development department and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in co-operation with German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, are jointly creating a Low-Carbon Mobility Plan (LCMP) for the city.
The plan for low carbon traffic footprint comes after the number of registered vehicles in the city saw an unsustainable hike. Figures from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) peg the count of registered vehicles in Bhubaneswar at 1.4 million, exceeding the city's population of one million. The growth in the count of registered vehicles points to a mounting dependence on private vehicles, clogging the city's arterial roads.
The decision to develop an LCMP is also in line with the recommendations by the Union ministry of housing & urban affairs wherein a comprehensive mobility plan is the basis for identifying and approving transport-related projects, plans and regulatory measures within the city.
The LCMP primarily envisions the mobility of people and goods in Bhubaneswar to be secure, reliable, affordable and efficient while also enhancing the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the city. The plan focuses on optimising the mobility patterns of people and goods in Bhubaneswar, improving public transport, cycling, pedestrian infrastructure, and shared mobility options, serving as an effective platform for integrating land use and transport planning and prioritizing accessibility, inclusivity, safety, and reducing harmful impact on the environment.
Offering a 20-year vision with goals and targets spelt out, the LCMP will be updated every five years from 2019 to 2040. These will be aligned with the vision identified under the Smart City Mission of Bhubaneswar and endorsed by citizens and other key stakeholders which is to make Bhubaneswar a transit-oriented, livable and child-friendly eco-city and regional economic centre.
“LCMP is a strategic vision document taken up by BDA with support from GIZ to guide the city’s mobility in a low carbon sustainable manner for the next 20 years. Considering this, LCMP becomes an important input to the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) of Bhubaneswar which is also a long-term (15-20 years) visioning and planning document,” said Prem Chandra Chaudhary, Vice Chairman, BDA.
At present, different departments and agencies manage distinct but interrelated aspects of urban transport like land management, parking, bus services, road infrastructure, and traffic management.
To help draft the plan, a working group including representatives from various key agencies like Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd (BSCL), Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT), Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre (BUKC) and Public Works Department has been formed. In addition, the final LCMP draft will be tabled in front of a multi-stakeholder Mobility Plan Coordination Committee under the chairmanship of BDA to solicit feedback from a larger stakeholder group including civil society, academic institutes and various government agencies.