Task 4 Development of Urban Mobility Plan

Task 4-1 Formulation of the Public Transport Improvement Plan

The public transport improvement plan should be developed through the following procedures.

(1) Preparation of a Service Improvement Plan for Buses, Tram, and Paratransit Systems

In medium-sized cities, conventional bus services will play a primary mobility role. They could also serve as a feeder mode to MRT systems. A Bus Service Improvement Plan includes the following components:

  • Overview of the existing situation
  • Issues and problems
  • Proposed strategy
  • Explanation of proposed strategy in terms of land use patterns
  • System Integration with other modes (Integrated fare policy)
  • Intermodal facilities
  • Recommendations for infrastructure (busways, terminals)
  • Improvement in operations (routes, service level, fare structure, regulatory changes)
  • Costs and benefits

A detailed methodology for planning bus service improvements can be found in Module 3: Bus Service Improvement: Policy and Options.

Similarly, service improvement plans for paratransit should be prepared. If a tram system exists, a strategy to improve or upgrade it should be examined in relation to the MRT development plan.

(2) Preparation of an MRT Development Plan

Mass rapid transit can achieve reduced travel times through the provision of widely accessible networks, higher speed vehicles, exclusive right-of-way infrastructure, special limited-stop or express services, efficient fare collection systems, and/or faster boarding and alighting. Higher capacities may be achieved through larger vehicles, multiple sets of vehicles (i.e., a bus platoon or a train) and/or more frequent services (although there are limits on headways). Each major city has, according to its structure, one or more major corridors with mass transit requirements or that can be developed to be suitable for mass transit. Selection of MRT systems should be undertaken by considering corridor characteristics and the technical parameters of available MRT systems.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) refers to a public transport system carrying passengers within and between urban areas. It is designed for high capacity. Many designations are used applied MRT systems, three are covered in this report: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): A variety of concepts have been developed in many cities to improve bus services. These are designated, for example, Busway System, High Capacity Bus System, or Integrated Transport System. They are slightly different in focus, as well as in specification and performance. The term Bus Rapid Transit includes these variations, but with the following characteristics:

  • corridors are mainly segregated (with a minimum mix with general traffic in non-segregated sections);
  • rapid boarding and alighting at customer-oriented stations;
  • new bus technology (low floor, wider doors and articulated); and
  • routes are organized in a trunk-and-feeder system.

A detailed methodology for a BRT study can be found in Module 2: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT):Toolkit for Feasibility Studies.

Light Rail Transit (LRT): LRT is a railway system characterized by its flexibility in operation and technology compared to heavy rail system. It can operate in single cars or short trains along exclusive rights-of-way on an elevated structure, at grade (sometimes on-street), or underground. The system can be designed with a shorter distance between stations, and with relatively steeper/sharper curves horizontally/vertically, providing relative flexibility in route alignment. As such, designed operating speed and line capacity is lower than for metro systems.

Metro: Metro is a heavy rail system, often referred to as a subway or underground, although part of the route may be at-grade or elevated. The term here refers to urban grade-separated heavy rail systems, with the highest capacity among MRTs.

Table 13 shows a summary of the technical parameters of Metro, LRT and BRT, in relation to other mode of public transport systems.

NUTP summarizes the relative characteristics of available public transport technologies, including heavy and light rail systems, high capacity bus systems, and conventional buses on shared rights of way. It briefly notes the advantages and disadvantages of each type of technology and the conditions where the technology is most appropriate (see Table 14).

Table 13 Technical Parameters of Public Transport Options

Table 13 Technical Parameters of Public Transport Options

Table 14 Advantages, Disadvantages and Applicable Corridors for MRT Options

Table 14 Advantages, Disadvantages and Applicable Corridors for MRT Options

(3) Selection of Appropriate MRT Options

Every city is different and requires its own study of the potentially realistic options. The guidelines shown in Table 15 are to assist decision makers in narrowing down the applicable options. As can be seen in the table, population density is an important criterion. City shape/form (linear or circular) also influences the concentration of demand, therefore, this factor may be incorporated when selecting appropriate MRT options.

Table 15 Suggested Approach for Selecting Appropriate MRT Options

MRT Options City Requirements
  • Cities with a medium- to high-density urban area
  • BRT should be one of the first considerations in MRT system development in any city.
  • BRT system can be developed as trunk systems as well as feeders to an existing (or planned) MRT system
  • Suitable for cities where an MRT system needs to be developed quickly and incrementally as conditions and funding allow
  • A well-developed traffic planning/management capability should be available (this may be brought in initially)
  • Existing bus and paratransit operations can be regulated/restructured
  • Road space is available for BRT development (2-4 lanes from existing roads)
  • Cities with a medium- to high-density urban area
  • Cities where environmental issues are critical and there is a need to attract car users to use public transport systems; however, if the core requirements are operational effectiveness, BRT system should be developed that is more flexible and costs less
  • Appropriate for cities with an existing tram operation, which may be cost-effectively enhanced.
  • A well-developed traffic planning/management capability should be available
  • Existing bus and paratransit operations can be regulated/restructured
  • Road space is available for LRT development (2-3 lanes from existing road) or existing tram track can be converted to an LRT route
  • Preferably a national/provincial capital city or a major regional commercial centre
  • Existing public transport flows on the main corridor of the order of 10,000-15,000 passengers per hour per direction with more than 15km trip length
  • City incomes that are not low (typically at least US$1,800 per person)
  • Prospects for sustained economic growth and an expanding centre
  • Existence of a low-cost metro alignment
  • Fares policy – a fares policy on metro and bus systems to encourage ridership yet limit the need for financial support
  • A well-developed traffic planning/management capability should be available
  • Existing bus and paratransit operations can be regulated/restructured
  • Strong and largely autonomous management of metropolitan region, with clear objectives

(4) Examining Potential to Develop a Trunk and Feeder Public Transport Network

Where MRT systems are to be introduced, the potential for re-organizing the public transport system should be examined. If existing buses or paratransit are to compete with the proposed MRT, the situation will create excessive congestion, which will lower MRT viability. Ideally, existing buses and paratransit should serve as feeders to the MRT to form a ‘Trunk and Feeder System’ of public transport. Such an arrangement will maximize the value of the MRT, increase its catchment area and improve mobility for more people.

The concept of a Trunk and Feeder System is shown graphically in Figure 10. Potential trunk corridors and feeder links as well as major interchange locations may be included in the CMP. This form of public transport, however, is suitable for relatively large cities with a higher dependence on public transport to reach city centres. For smaller cities with lower density development, some other pattern of public transport may have to be considered.

Figure 10 Concept of Trunk and Feeder System
Figure 10 Concept of Trunk and Feeder System

(5) Preparing Intermodal Facility Plan

To promote public transport network, provision of intermodal facilities is essential. Public transport is generally able to work more efficiently if there is a good network and connections with other modes are provided. This is because public transport usually requires access transport from users’ origination and egress transport to their final destination, via walk, NMV, and auto-rickshaw. Therefore intermodal facilities can provide substantial benefits in time savings as well as comfort. The following facilities should be examined together with the public transport network plan.

  • Bus stops (with seat, shelter, and information board)
  • Bus terminal (for transfer between urban and intercity buses)
  • Intermodal facilities at existing on proposed MRT stations
  • Paratransit facilities
  • Pedestrian facilities around bus stops and terminals
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