Surat is a historical city dating its existence long back from the Moghal period. The inherited walled city hampered by British rule and looted 17 times by Maharaja Shivaji imposes a typical characteristic problems in traffic management. Narrow lanes, unplanned development till 1950's, and people migrating to city from all the parts of the nation, made the city a chaotic till early nineties but a renaissance struck the local administration which resulted in the present day scenario of the Surat city - "The best managed city of India".
The Present Scenario
In the last decade the population of the city doubled up and is likely to touch the figure of 5.00 millions by the end of next decade.
Due to explosion of population and repaid industrialization the transportation in the city increased to unimaginary heights but due to the want of efficient Mass Transit system, individual vehicular growth also touched the heights. As on 31-12-2006, the vehicles registered at R.T.O. is 13.00 lakhs plus. Which is equivalent to the highest growth rate of Delhi. Thus the explosion of population, rapid industrialization and highest growth rate in vehicle population made the traffic problems complicated.
Surat Municipal Corporation had prepared a Traffic & Transportation Master plan for the horizon year 2001 through Central Road Research institute, New Delhi, of which 80 % recommendations were implemented. Then after for the horizon year 2014, a Traffic plan has also been prepared by the same institute.
However, such traffic plans are not the ultimate weapons to fight the massive traffic problems in a city. The traffic problems can't be solved with some Traffic Roundabouts, dividers, signals and flyovers; but it requires an integrated public mass transportation system. The system should be such which can match with the city's geography, its economy and inherent culture, and can provide efficient and affordable system. In a way efficient Mass transport system is quite necessary for the sustainability of the economy of the city. The growth and progress of a nation also depends on such sustainable Transport system. 80 % & more passengers and 60 % of the goods is transported through roads. We can say Road Transport is a fundamental need of the human society. Keeping all these in mind, Surat Municipal Corporation has started the exercise to solve the traffic problems of the next decade as well as near future. For this a study on Bus Rapid Transit System (B R T S) is being carried out by Centre for Environmental planning & Technology (CEPT) More over a survey on Integrated Public Transit System (I P T S) is also being carried out by the support of G I D B.
Again Surat Municipal Corporation is starting city Bus operations on public private partnership basis by the end of June 2007. Almost all the administrative process is over and work orders have been given to the private operators.
- The vision for traffic department. is also to set up a Traffic Management and Awareness Institute (TRAM) which will have a representation and funds from state government and NGO's over and above Surat Municipal Corporation. The institute will be a central co ordinate for traffic education in primary - secondary schools of private as well as govt. schools. It will create a complete infrastructure for traffic training, research management, planning, exhibition, first aid training etc.... wherein experts shall be nominated on honorarium basis to give their expertise.
In a nutshell, the vision for Traffic Management shall be composed of the following major elements or components:
- Master plan of the city for the year 2014.
- Flyovers at Delhi Gate Station area, Parle Point etc.
- Ring Road - the incomplete link from Lal Darwaja to Ved Road shall be completed within next year.
- Concept of outer Ring Road.
- Starting the city Bus Transportation on PPP basis by the end of June 2007.
- Introduction of B R TS on the major potential corridors
- A Traffic Management Institute shall be set up which will co-ordinate Traffic education in primary, secondary schools. The institute shall run with state / SMC/ and NGO's fund.
- All traffic signs to be converted by modern elements such as Thermo plastic paint, Retro reflective Boards, Gantry Signage etc.
- Exploiting the existing railway tracks of Western Railway plying around the city for Circular Train System.