Though it is an indicator of positive development, rapid urbanization is also accompanied by a host of challenges.

Today, the scale of urbanization in India is only 33%, whereas the size of the urban population is about 429 million – much larger than that of many other countries, according to World Bank data. The fact that Indian cities are among the fastest-growing in the world is clearly evident from JLL’s recent Cities Momentum Index 2017 – a research report which identifies the world’s 30 most dynamic cities. 6 out of 30 cities, namely Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, are in India.

Though it is an indicator of positive development, rapid urbanization is also accompanied by a host of challenges. The growing urban sprawl in India is leading to increased use of private vehicles, congested roads, increased pollution, public safety issues, increased household spending – and the stress that increasing population puts on the existing infrastructure of our cities.

Many of these problems can be solved or at least significantly reduced by cities augmenting their public transport systems and also integrating land use planning and development with the transport network. Such solutions can lead to markedly improved infrastructure efficiency – and a better quality of life for citizens.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

After focused efforts to dovetail infrastructure and technology through its AMRUT and Smart Cities programs, the Government of India is now turning its attention to developing a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) policy to support the transformation process already underway in most of the Indian cities. This transformation will attract lot of investments to the respective cities, and vastly increase their ‘livability’ in a sustainable manner.

Essentially, TOD is any macro or micro development focused around a transit node which results in improved ease of access to the transit facility. When done correctly, such developments encourage citizens to prefer walking and using public transportation over using private vehicles.

Globally, cities like Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia, Curitiba in Brazil, Stockholm in Sweden and Washington DC in the US have TOD as an integral element in their master planning, and integrated with their mass transport networks. The success and inherent inducements for growth that TOD delivers in these cities is remarkable. Around 26-30% of these countries’ populations – and the majority of their job centres – are along Metro corridors.