ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Polycentric Governance System

Urban Transport Planning in Bengaluru

Transport planning in Bengaluru is characterised by institutional fragmentation, increasing private modes of transport, and questionable investment decisions in the transport sector. What are the possibilities of implementing a polycentric governance system in such a city? Answering this question requires exploring the characteristics of polycentric governance systems as part of the larger discourse in institutional economics and reflecting upon how far Bengaluru satisfies such characteristics and where changes may be required.

Urban transportation planning, as a formal planning discipline in India, is at a very nascent stage and is constantly evolving. Urban transport infrastructure planning, regulation, and implementation involve different ministries, departments, and agencies across central, state, and city levels which are tasked with various responsibilities. The need for urban transport planning was first felt in the early 2000s when cities saw rapid growth in the ownership of private vehicles and the resulting congestion, fuel emissions, and pollution.1 Over the past decade (since 2006), there has been a growing realisation within the government that the ever-increasing motorisation of cities is unsustainable, and that there needs to be a shift towards sustainable transport systems. A number of initiatives have since been launched, including a national urban transport policy; shift towards mass transit projects to address the issues of congestion, local emissions, pollution, and energy security; and setting up of specialised agencies to bring all these initiatives together.

However, a number of concerns remain despite such positive steps. Chief among these is the choice of mass transit projects: issues regarding financial viability, inclusiveness, as well as larger issues of decision-making, all of which fall under the wider ambit of urban transport governance. Other governance issues include the behaviour of the actors (many of whom act in direct contravention to the stated goals of urban transport planning developed by the government), appropriate incentive/disincentive structures for the actors, and participation of interested stakeholders. Urban transport planning is about realising the desired outcomes and the processes involved through selection of appropriate transport projects.

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2018

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