Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

learning from Delhi’s BRT failure

Posted On Wednesday, 14 October 2015


In an appeal to scrap the current BRT corridor in Delhi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, former transport minister said: “The stretch on which this BRT has been made was not the best choice. For one, the bus lanes are in the middle and getting to them is a huge pain for pedestrians. Secondly, there are about four major intersections on the road and despite a very expensive smart signaling system, the implementation has failed completely.”

Bharadwaj was not alone in his comments. Because of poorly operated intersections, a minority of car drivers felt that traffic congestion had increased as a result of the city’s BRT system, which began in 2008. The time cycles were excessively long, and there were too many phases to accommodate turning movements. As a result, there were very long delays and queues that affected cars, two- and three-wheelers—and the corridor is on track to be scrapped.

While a valid critique, it’s important to understand that Delhi’s project was not a complete bus rapid transit (BRT) system. A complete BRT goes beyond bus lanes and bus stops—it is a systematic approach for improving multiple aspects of the passenger experience and bus operations. A complete system includes enclosed stations, centralized management of the bus fleet, adequate access facilities, and continued maintenance and improvement. Furthermore, despite incomplete corridors, the majority of road users benefited from the system: bus travel time dropped and bycicle users enjoyed the best dedicated bike planes in Delhi.
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