Sessions

Session I: Inaugural and TOD Overview

Director, NIUA, New Delhi inaugurated the programme and gave a brief background, objectives and outline of the workshop. While TOD means differently in different cities, NIUA's objectives is to develop an integrated/holistic view towards TOD. NIUA's publication 'Transit Oriented Development for Indian Smart Cities: Global Review of Transportation-Land-Use Integration' reflects these varied interpretations and sets the stage for this action research study.  NIUA was thankful to FCO and Prosperity fund for providing the support to NIUA for this critically important study.


The Senior Programme Manager,
gave an introduction about the project and Prosperity Fund to the participants. The fund primarily targets at bringing the economic and social development in emerging markets. The five strands of Prosperity funds are the financial services, skills, energy and low carbon and ease of doing business. The fund works with priority of Pune, Indore and Amravati.  The fund's success lies in the fact that 25% (5 lighthouse and 4 fasttrack) of the first 33 smart cities are supported by Prosperity fund. He concluded that economic, social and commercial market development for UK and India is their primary goal and they look forward for engaging with organizations like NIUA.

 

Mr. Siddharth Pandit, TOD Project head, NIUA made a presentation which was an encapsulation of the interim document 'Transit Oriented Development for Indian Smart Cities: Global Review of Transportation-Land-Use Integration'. The key highlights were

  1. A brief summary of the challenges faced by the Indian cities.
  2. Transit infrastructure and reaping economic benefits.
  3. Other known benefits of TOD – reduced urban foot print, reduced need to travel, and also provide alternative travel modes.
  4. 6 main factors of TOD to be focused: Urban Density, Diversity, Urban design, Housing and Mobility.
  5. Barriers to TOD: in terms of policies, land availability and mobilizing the financial resources. How strategizing initially can help reduce the future risks.
  6. Indicators from the wide spectrum of case studies which were referred for the interim document. UK case studies of different scales - station area, Neighborhood level and CBD level. And TOD projects in Indian smart cities.

Ms. Mriganka Saxena, partner at Habitat Tectonics Architecture and Urbanism, then presented the Delhi Case study. The presentation focused on the process followed during the Delhi TOD policy over last six years. The key highlights of the presentation are as follows -

  1. New policy coming in the existing framework (as a part of existing master plan 2021).
  2. Paradigm shift in Planning – Mixed land-use distribution along the transit development biggest diversion from the existing policy regulations (the Delhi Master plan). Key ingredients of TOD – pedestrian friendly streets, street networks, Multi modal transit, Modal shift measures, place making and safety. Higher density, compact, mixed use and mixed income development.
  3. How did it evolve – the entire process was described in 3 stages; Approval by the city leaders, policy adoption and visualizing TOD.
  4. Consultation workshops to further scrutiny the policy for implementation to arrive at robust policy recommendations.
  5. Highlighted and discussed the essentials to hit the ground running – positioning of different TODs, planning of and for TOD influence zones, strategy for incentivizing redevelopment, providing absolute clarity on the approval process and ‘visualizing’ TOD. More than 25 agencies and stakeholders were involved in this process.

The presentation concluded with the observation that the process formulation takes a long time to evolve with many unsolved challenges for Delhi. While projects are being piloted, a full scale operationalization of the policy was still a distant goal.  

Deepa Dave, Urban Planner from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation then made a presentation on how the development plan of Ahmedabad is addressing transit oriented development. The points covered under her presentation are

  1. Brief about Ahmedabad context and planning history including the introduction of Gujarat Town Planning and Urban development act in 1976.
  2. Compact city policy and FSI for BRT and transit corridor, local area plans which were prepared jointly by Ahmedabad Development Authority and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation through public consultation to manage densification, mixed use development and improve connectivity of the area.
  3. Brief about the Wadaj TOD planning which includes the Smart city ABD area. Details of the planning surveys, analysis, proposals and public consultation which lead to the planning for 18 sq km (out of 40 sq km) of the TOD influence area.
  4. Special GDCR for TOZ – planned densification, transit station connection. Comprehensive development strategy including the financial component of infrastructure planning in under preparation.

The presentation concluded with a Q&A focusing on the need to integrate market mechanisms for generating TOD demand and the importance of minimizing the need for land acquisition.

Session II : Operationalizing TOD

Director - NIUA moderated the session with presenters from various consulting firms that are working with city agencies. The session aimed at understanding the challenges faced by implementing agencies in formulating, planning and operationalizing TOD.

Mr. Raghu Rama Swamy, Director for Infrastructure, RICS School of Built environment, discussed about long term and short term planning needed for TOD focusing on B-TOD (Bus TOD). He discussed about the Mantri Mall Bangalore integrated planning approach, Chennai-Hyderabad high speed rail corridor, Shantinagar Bangalore and others. Some of the highlights of the presentation are

  1. Flexibility is available in BTOD, low investment risk involved in developing BTOD as the influence area is small and thus can attract developers.
  2. Majestic intermodal transit station – metro, city buses, interstate buses and existing city railway station. A commercial hub was planned but could not be executed because the metro construction already started and the cost of integration of all modes made the project financially unfeasible.
  3. Challenges faced in implementing TOD – Financial viability, organizational and institutional abilities, project duration and others.
  4. Approaches – integrated land-use and transportation planning, PPP and project branding.

Mr. Bankim Kalra, from IBI group discussed about highlights of operationalizing TOD from their guideline document preparation experiences. Describes the Naya Raipur TOD experience which suffered due to the negligence from the real estate market. Some of the key points from his presentation are

  1. Defines T, O, D of TOD. Development is very site specific, it’s not only about density but of mobility as well.
  2. What TOD is not – a solution to all urban problems. It is more than a product; it is about creating a neighborhood.
  3. Include the private sector in TOD conversation right from the beginning; the construction industry is important in developing the city.
  4. A paradigm shift in planning – micro level planning is needed. Informal sector integration is important; Curitiba gives a successful example for the same.
  5. Description of National level guidance document (yet to be published). City specific plans focused on TOD, NMT and PBS (public bicycle sharing). Targeted users – states, transit agencies, private stakeholders, Tax increment financing.

Dr. Samir Sharma, DIMTS discussed TOD from Transportation perspective. He advocated that density, diversity, design leads towards very specific intended benefits on transportation. His presentation broadly covered -

  1. Density, compactness, diversity, connectivity etc what should be the quantification of these? Will this be the same across multiple cities? Will this change within a city? How these questions can be answered.
  2. Highlighted the usage and relevance of Shakti foundation’s model for TOD in Delhi developed by DIMTS. The model can be used to estimate output factors like vehicular km per household, mode split likely to be generated, emissions estimations etc based on the inputs like the expected densities, mix of uses, street network, nodes per sq km etc. It helps in decision making and to test various design alternatives. Model is presently not universal and is applicable only to Delhi.

 

Mr. Francis Glare, from BDP, highlighted the difference in development of transport hubs and corridors. He said they are functionally different and need to be dealt accordingly.

  1. Corridor development is a policy driven process as demonstrated in case of Ahmedabad. Delhi case refers to development of hubs with private sector partnership.
  2. Cities today have economic diversities and are polycentric. In TOD, people travel more often due to the availability of quality transit modes which makes it necessary to define identity of various corridors and hubs and design it as overlay of functions.
  3. Private sector and public sector should coherently work right from the beginning rather than bringing the private sector later at the development stage.
  4. Cities find its own way of capturing value; policies should be made to support the same. Affordability should be targeted but not be a mandate for TOD.

The Director concluded the session by highlighting the key takeaways. He advocated the need for project to have all the components planned right from the beginning. And the process should involve private sector into the TOD conversation to understand the market. Additionally, Mr. Shah puts a question to the panel for discussion - Does smart city framework make an effect on the TOD process and implementation? Experts felt that smart cities framework does posses a positive impact, cities are thinking of TOD and are networking with other cities to learn from experiences. Financial structure needs to be taken care of. The Smart City Mission is a good platform to showcase TOD success.

Session III : Interaction between City Administrators and Sectoral Experts

The Director lays out the format of the discussion session, taking questions that the city administrators raised  through the pre-workshop questionnaire. The interactive discussion took place between the panel of experts and the participants. The main questions raised and deliberated were –

  • State level policies would have to promote TOD beyond city wide implementations. This would necessitate information, communication and advocacy campaigns to highlight benefits of TOD.
  • TOD is an opportunity to resolve the duality of planning between the development authorities (DAs) and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Since DAs are entrusted with land ownership and planning regulations within the master plan and TOD calls for site level micro plans, a successful TOD will be based on collaboration between these two authorities. The framework should allow for sharing of value capture between these bodies.
  • Finding Proper Mix of land uses. How do we look at the question of housing and can it be brought into a framework of TOD?

Experts - Housing in TOD is context specific. Question is what kind of housing should be built in TOD Zone and how do we take it in the zone beyond - using NMT, walking etc. Rental housing might be a solution; affordable housing should be made part of the urban fabric. TOD comes with gentrification. We need to increase the stock of small size housing at low cost to improve the housing stock.

  • Using carbon financing, green finance funds. Funds that recognise benefits of such a development.

Experts - There are not enough of those. These funds are small, but they are useful for sponsoring small studies. Bilateral or multilateral funding is better for this. Such funds can perhaps help with studies or project formulation.

  • How can less diverse economy cities support diverse land uses?

Experts - overlapping uses based on time, flexible land uses.

  • Cities need to find a middle ground for parking and managing vehicles, where you don't necessarily remove parking but you don't encourage driving either.

Experts - Local assessment to generate norms for parking is required.

Professor Shah summarised the session. He talked about the emerging urban development missions in India like AMRUT and Smart cities which are focusing on Transit development as an integrated component of urban planning, and TOD challenges in particular. He added that such workshops are helpful in grabbing the knowledge from city experiences all around.