CHENNAI: The 500 crore Intelligent Transport System (ITS), aimed at using modern computers and communications to make travel smarter, faster, safer and more convenient, can be implemented effectively only if the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) Act is notified, according to experts and a draft report prepared by Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Board.
CUMTA Act, which was to frame an urban transport policy for Chennai Metropolitan Area on the lines of National Urban Transport Policy, received the assent of the Governor on November 27, 2010 and was published in Gazette Extraordinary on December 2, 2010, but remained only on paper as it was not notified for the last eight years.
Since CUMTA Act could not be notified by the government, the authority could not be formed as a result it delayed integration of all mass passenger transport modes by means of various measures including routing and scheduling, operating feeder services and combined or common ticketing to facilitate seamless commuting options to the public.
Interestingly, the need for CUMTA is important as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) earlier this year signed an agreement with Union government to fund `500 crore for Intelligent Transport System.
While a top official says the government is keen to implement ITS from next year, one of the major issues which could affect ITS would be delay in notifying CUMTA. The report states that measures for urban transport needs to be taken together with ITS. The required measures involve issues which extend across different stakeholders or agencies, the report said.
Interestingly, the Second Master Plan prepared by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has highlighted the lack of coordination in urban transportation network such as Highways department, suburban railways, Mass Rapid Transit System and Chennai Metro.
Currently, the State government has 10 different agencies, which are involved in traffic and transportation management in Chennai Metropolitan area and governed by various ministries and department.An urban transport expert on condition of anonymity told Express that ITS can be implemented by a single agency like traffic police but then if there is a conflict of interest with other departments then it will collapse.
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy senior program manager Aswathy Dilip told Express that the success of such projects like ITS lies in the coordination between multiple agencies. In this aspect, revival of CUMTA is essential. As a coordinating body, CUMTA can help institute integrated transport planning and decision making.
Notification expected soon
Sources say the State government is looking at notifying CUMTA soon and work has started in this regard. It is learnt that the draft of Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority Rules, 2018 is being prepared and will also be notified soon