Improving Pune's infrastructure and social life

We are all aware of the the plight of Pune - bad roads, pollution, congestion, lack of footpaths, pathetic public transport, chaotic traffic. A much improved public transport would serve citizens of Pune well and reduce much of the above mentioned difficulties.

I request your opinion on the SB Road Bus Priority Proposal I have submitted to the PMC, submitted to PMC in Dec 08.

To collect views of people, I have created a web survey form. You may offer initial views by visiting this form here. This survey has only 4 Yes/No questions and a free text box for your comments / suggestions and should take only a minute of your time. However, before filling out the, please make yourself acquanited with the SB Road Bus Priority Scheme Proposal from the two part documentation below -

Part One of the proposal is available here - (2MB)
Part Two (FAQ format) is available here -

In summary, the SB road reportedly carries up to 58000 people per hour during peak time. Yet, this road is served by a fleet of 15 buses and 5 routes at a frequency of 1 bus every 46 minutes, worse if we take in to account the two trips per day made by the 6th bus route.SB road connects Aundh/Baner/Pashan with Paud/Kothrud/Deccan and many regions south of Karve road - none of these come anywhere close to proposed BRTS corridors. In fact BRTS corridors alone equate to just 10% of Pune's road length!! This proposal demonstrates that bus priority can be implemented on narrowest of roads and with route and frequency rationalisation, majority of Pune can be served very well with just 1000 buses.

Pune and the regions connected by SB road need better bus based public transport first and not the elevated road over SB road or indeed the short tunnels from Paud and Pashan to SB road. These measures will most certainly create another Nal Stop on SB Road by bringing far too much traffic from different directions on to SB road.

SB road, in its current state, despite carrying 58k people per hour is never congested or has no history of traffic jams. This is because there is only one junction of any significance on the entire road (Vetal Baba Chowk which brings small amount of traffic from Model Colony end, much of this areas traffic is shared with University road). Thus, the SB road acts almost like a via duct or an elevated road already. If it experiences any congestion, it is only at the University road end where the badly planned and executed flyover has rendered all exit / entry connections with SB road significantly narrowed.

As ICC Towers, residential blocks and 5 star hotels come up on SB road, many will be interested in visiting these facilitiess and an elevated road over SB road will only ensure that there is perpetual traffic congestion and jams under the much narrow roads under the elevated roads - this is experienced already around E-Square and those who have visited Mumbai would have experienced this in Parel area where an empty flyover connects to Mahalaxmi race course while narrow roads under the belly of the flyover are jammed as vehicles attempt to make way to the residential tower blocks and super markets built on adjacent mill land.

So please, do go through the above links and make sure to give 2 minutes of your time filling out the survey

Part one covers in more detail and is 31 pages long:
  1. Current state of SB Road – demonstrates sub-optimal use of available road space along side blatant abuse of an arterial road for parking Proposal – SB road bus priority scheme
  2. Extension of the scheme to BMCC, Bhandarkar and Prabhat roads as well as FC and JM roads.
  3. Law College, Paud phata and Sus-Pashan roads get a mention as well in the grand scheme of things.
  4. Route / frequency Rationalisation and overall mapping of North-Western Pune.
  5. Conclusions & acknowledgements
  6. The FAQ / Part Two also has several additional details and is 9 pages long.

My best wishes to you and your family for the new year. Lets continue our resolve to ensure the administration provides the right facilities rather than spend public money on irrational flyovers, elevated roads and tunnels. Please feel free to forward / share the above with all you can.

CMP: Critique of Pune's Comprehensive Mobility Plan

In Aug-Sept 08, the Pune Municipal Corporation part published the Comprehensive Mobility Plan for the city. The Plan was produced by IL&FS and presented by the Commissioner recently - Click Here to see the slide show that proposes to convert Pune in to a mega cement mixing bowl with elevated roads, flyovers, bridges, road over river, Metro, subways......

You can read my response to this plan which is full of contradictions by clicking here.

Rationalising Bus Routes and Frequencies in Pune: Pune can be served very well by 1000 odd travel worthy buses. Sadly this cannot happen due to the illogical and hap-hazard route planning in Pune. Effectively we have 209 routes with 1000+ buses offering a frequency of 1 bus every 57 minutes!! I have demonstrated the fallacy in the first of the two links below - Link 1 and Link 2. The second link actually shows the pathos by way of schematic representation of 30 of 209 bus routes in Pune followed by a reformed route map which offers excellent frequency without compromising on areas covered by reducing number of routes to nine.

In recent past I have followed up on the work on footpaths on SB Road. The original corresponednce leading to initiation of the work is detailed below the links to recent correspondence. Those intrested in getting hold of attachments sent to PMC with my recent communication with PMC may write to me directly.

Correspondence dated Dec 1 07

Correspondence dated Dec 2 07

Correspondence dated Dec 10 07

Previous communications:

On Why PMC needs a Whole Systems Approach:
This letter emphasises the need for PMC to become protocol driven and professional in its work ethos. The city cannot affoard to continue in its habits of ad-hoc, ill-planned and haphazard ways. Click Here to download this letter.

Pune's fate will be determined by its citizens:
I also wrote to the Commissioner about the general lack of footpaths. In fact the city is becoming pedestrian un-friendly. I complained in writing (with over 100 pictures) about the lack of footpaths on S B Marg. I was initially told by a sub-officer that footpaths with cycle tracks are planned and will be in place once a flyover spanning the entire length of S B Road was built (a 40 crore project). But PMC's track record for such projects is poor. Should pedestrians be made to wait 4 years for a flyover before footpaths are considered? Not deterred by this fobbing off, I wrote again, this time resulting in work order being issued for footpath work to begin on SB road from Sept 07. Click Here to download this correspondence.

I hope each one of you finds this encouraging and pick up every cause you can in your locality and proactively participate in shaping Pune.

Update on Public Transport Petition:
In May 06, a campaign an Online Campaign was started to demand better Public Transport in Pune by improving the Pune Municipal Transport (PMT) service.

The campaign is supported by over 1400 Punekars. Although Dr Uday Kulkarni made many efforts to seek an appointment to meet him in person, the commissioner (Dr Kareer) failed to provide a time. On 30 Nov 06 the petition was handed over to PMC Commissioner's Office. Despite this, when the commissioner failed to respond, I wrote another mail, this time questioning if 1390 Punekars can expect a response or not? This led to the commissioner responding inadequately, needing me to write to him again. The entire correspondence is available as a download.

The Petition was submitted with the article of Pune Caught in a Whirlpool and a CD titled Bus Priority: The way Ahead, Published by the Department of Transport, UK. A summary of the contents of the CD on Bus Priority is available as a download.

The resource pack outlines several measures that may improve bus priority. Unfortunately PMC remains stuck with spending money on only one option i.e. BRTS.

While BRTS is an excellent idea, it cannot and should not be considered as appropriate for any and every city. My thoughts are outlined in a short analysis: Is BRTS right for Pune?

Further to the above, I would also like to point you to a road layout proposal I have submitted to the Pune Municipal Commissioner, demonstrating how a 80 feet wide Senapati Bapat Road can be used optimally to enhance bus priority using the principles of bus lanes used in London, UK. Click Here for the proposal.

Pune's Traffic Problems: Can we solve them?

The pathogenesis of the traffic problems in our cities has many reasons. Lack of training, knowledge and awareness along with disrespect for other road users is just as important as failings of the authorities. I have made series of 17 video's available to help make it possible to create a cultural change in our road habits.

To watch these videos visit

The first video covering the concept of Blind spots is available below:

Click Here to watch 16 other videos