MYSORE: When Odisha's capital city of Bhubaneswar is struggling to cope with myriads of problems
in managing the urban transport system even after a year of getting the smart city tag, Mysore, the southern city of Karnataka, has shown the way.
In a pioneering effort, Mysore has developed a sustainable urban public transport by successfully using information and communication technologies (ICT) called intelligent transport system (ITS).
Launched in 2012 under Sustainable Urban Transport Programme (SUTP) of the Ministry of Urban Development, the World Bank supported ICT initiative has not only improved the efficiency and passenger safety, but offered commuters to make informed choice on travel modes.
"Introduction of ITS has resulted in several benefits to people, such as safer travel, lesser traffic congestion and delays leading to greater commuter satisfaction. Display of estimated timings of arrival (ETA) and estimated timings of departure (ETD) on digital boards at bus stops helps commuters to plan their journey,” said K Rama Murthy, divisional controller and project manager (ITS), Mysore City Transport Division (MCTD).
A division of the Karantaka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), the implementing agency of ITS, MCTD has geo-fenced a fleet of about 500 buses operating from six depots of the city, 105 bus stops and 45 platforms.
Real time passenger information are provided to the commuters through SMS, interactive voice response system (IVRS) and commuter portal mitra.ksrtc.in (developed by a group of students), he added.
The management information system (MIS) developed under ITS provides real time data on bus position in different routes, cancellation of bus, early arrival and late departure of buses, passenger wait time, driving behavior of bus drivers and road accidents. These information are captured at the digital dash board in the central control station,
Rama Murthy said. Apart from reducing road accidents by nearly 50 percent, ITS has significantly
improved the efficiency of the staff and reduced the operational cost. The Mysore city transport division has reduced its operational cost by Rs 5.85 crore in 2015-16 by optimizing route schedule, reduction of staff to bus ratio and overtime payment, he added.
"Implementation of ITS has increased use of public transport as it has become more convenient and reliable. Reduction in use o12f personal vehicles has also contributed to reduced traffic and pollution,” said outgoing managing director of KSRTC Rajendra Kumar Kataria. Kataria who successfully steered the IST programme said that several states including Kerala and Rajasthan have evinced interest in the smart city transport initiative which KSRTC now replicating across the state.
The ITS programme which was launched at an estimated cost Rs 15 crore became fully operational from October 2016. The Karanataka government is planning to cover 2000 more buses under the programme in
the next phase with an investment of Rs 9 crore, Kataria said.
With the Centre promoting competitions among states to develop urban centers to smart cities, a sustainable transport system is the prime requisite for a smarty city,” said World Bank's senior transport
specialist Nupur Gupta.