Transport Planning

What is Transport Planning?

Transport Planning can be defined as the process which involves operation and management of facilities and services for the modes of transport. It involves analysing the current state of transportation in the area and designing for future transportation needs to achieve goals as per the effective policies taking budget into consideration. It is a prediction of usage demand in future travel and to ensure all the necessary facilities and services to cater that demand. It also forms an important part of sustainable development and to ensure safe accessibility at various levels for all individuals.

Transport Planning

Transport Planning aims to achieve safer, smarter, faster, comfortable, economical, environment – friendly and more convenient transportation system. It is an important component as it helps shape how a settlement grows by evaluating everything from macro to micro level such as highways and public transit to streets and NMT lanes. Transport Planning has the power to influence everything from business to recreation to quality of life.

There are many stakeholders involved in transport planning process whose thoughts and ideas are critical to ensure a successful outcome. Some of the stakeholders include Citizens, State Government, Local Government, Transport Planners, RTO and so on.

Important elements and aspects

Transport Planning process has many factors to consider including modes of transportation, infrastructure, technology, demand and users. All of these need to be considered for the overall process. There are numerous important goals which needs to be balanced while designing a plan.

  • Access to Employment
  • Offer economic opportunities
  • Improve Quality of life
  • Multimodal Connectivity
  • System Reliability
  • Reduce Environmental footprint
  • Safety and Security
  • Freight Mobility
  • Preservation and Maintenance

Importance of Transport Planning

Human beings commute on daily basis for various reasons such as for employment purpose, recreational purpose, education, etc. Apart from people, goods and information continuously flows from region to region which requires transportation system to be in place. With so many different modes of transport, the role of planning becomes more important. Without transport planning, decision making can become really challenging. Transport Planning is very crucial in shaping settlements or cities, enabling economic activities, promoting community interaction and enhancing quality of life.

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Role and Responsibilities of a transport planner

Transport Planners are responsible for producing transportation strategies that takes into consideration the needs of all transport users including pedestrians and cyclists, and considers environmental, efficiency and safety issues conforming with the surrounding land use. Transport Planners can work both in the private or public sector as per their interests.  Depending on where they are involved, work could vary from carrying out a feasibility study for a government policy to planning the fine details prior to commencement of building work.

In the public sector, they may work for government bodies or contractors for examining population trends and current traffic to determine the effectiveness of proposed roads. They may also involve in planning new roads including its designation and nature depending on expected capacity as per the analysis. They also need to work with other professionals such as transport engineers, environment planners and developers to ensure that new towns or upcoming commercial or industrial zones have the appropriate transport infrastructure which adheres to environmental legislations as well.

In the private sector, they are typically involved with public transport companies or companies focussed on upcoming EVs. They examine effectiveness of timings and schedules and volume of transport services to ensure that are public transport is working at its optimal stage. Discovering flaws might to lead to involvement in decision making to compose new routes and suggest alternatives. Since EV is considered to be the future with a lot of potential, the sector offers a huge scope for research work currently.

Transport Planning Courses and Education

Considering massive urbanization of the country, transport planning in urban areas has gathered much more importance than ever before. Transport is one of the most critical elements that could contribute to the quality of life. Since the country is facing resource constraints, professional skills and expertise is required for planning, designing, operations and management of the national, regional and urban transport plans and policies. Various institutes offer Master of Planning degree programme with specialization in the field of Transport Planning.

The programme generally covers issues related to the role of transport in development which involves identification and analysis of problems, issues and constraints in regional and urban development, development of mathematical models for transport demand projections, understanding and appreciating the role of public transport etc.

The students are trained to meet the professional needs and requirements of town and country planning organizations, metropolitan and city development authorities, system operating agencies and fast-growing consultancy organizations in both the public and private sectors.

Historical Evolution of Transport Planning

Transport System forms the backbone of Indian Economy. After Independence, India has progressed a lot in terms of freight and public transport. Country has achieved many world-class milestones in aviation, railway and road transport. Up to the middle of the 19th century, the means of transport in India was backward as it was confined to bullock art and packhorse. The British rulers then realized that a cheap and easy system of transportation was necessary for large scale flow of items into the country. This led to the introduction of steamships on the rivers. It was in 1839, that the work on Grand Trunk Road from Calcutta to Delhi begun and was completed in the 1850s. Efforts were made to link the major cities, ports and markets by road but the real improvement in transport came with the introduction of railways.

Railways developed rapidly in the Britain during the 1830s and 1840s which resulted in Pressure soon mounted for their speedy construction in India. In India the first railways line running from Bombay to Thane was opened to traffic in 1853. By the end of the year 1869 more than 6000 kms of railways had been built by the companies, but this system proved to be very costly and slow and so in 1869 the government of India decided to build new railways as state enterprises. After 1880, railways were built with the help of private agency. By 1950 nearly 45000 kms of railways had been built. The primary consideration of railways was not the people of India but to serve the economic, political and military interests of British imperialism in India. The railway lines were laid primarily with a view to link India’s raw material producing areas in the interior with the ports of export. The railway rates were fixed in a manner so as to favour imports and export and to prohibit internal movement of goods. Several railway lines in Burma and North-Western India were built at high cost to serve British imperial interests. However, after Independence, the scenario completely changed. Huge development took place in the transportation system of the country and things eventually became better than ever before.

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