The Delhi BRT Saga

DQI Bureau
New Update

The first major step in conceptualization of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT)

system in Delhi was taken in 1995, when Central Pollution Control Board

recommended introducing segregated bicycle lanes and bus lanes. This was

followed by an international workshop organized by the Delhi Transport

Corporation in collaboration with SIAM, IDFC and IIT Delhi on High Capacity Bus

System in January 2002. BRT implies giving right of way to buses and

safeguarding cyclists and pedestrians by encouraging lane driving on engineered

road spaces along large and wide corridors. Besides giving priority to buses,

the system also provides dedicated lanes for pedestrian and non-motorized

vehicles like cycles, rickshaws, etc.


Keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games to be held in October this year, the

Delhi government undertook the BRT corridor project. In 2004, GNCTD appointed

RITES and IIT Delhi for designing and implementing the first corridor from

Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate. RITES was appointed the Project Management

Consultant and TRIPP IIT, Delhi the technical and conceptual advisor. In 2006,

GNTCD established Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS), a special

purpose vehicle to oversee the establishment of public transport systems in


Bus Rapid

Transport System has undertaken several initiatives in order to make

traveling accessible for the physically challenged. Some of the features

include pedestrian island including curb ramps and tactile floor tiles

(combination of guiding path and warning strip for visually disabled

passengers). The Passenger Information Systems will provide information to

visually and hearing impaired, in addition to signages and route numbers in

braille; provision of leveled areas for wheelchair bound passengers.


the road, separate lanes have been demarcated for cars, cycles and

pedestrian paths besides having an auto rickshaw bay. For providing seating

facilities, the boundary wall has been designed such that it can also be

used as a seating area for pedestrians with reduced mobility.


Delhi government plans to build twenty-six BRT corridors, covering a total

length of 310 km by the year 2020. By 2010, seven BRT corridors will be

completed in phase I. Apart from the current Ambedkar Nagar-Delhi Gate corridor,

the next BRT will be from Shashtri Park to Karwal Nagar in East Delhi. However,

the required modifications will be made in the design in line with the lessons

learnt from the first phase.

However, the BRT corridor rollout has been anything but smooth; what with the

Comptroller and Auditor General of India blaming the state government for

ignoring the advice of agencies, and creating exclusive bus lanes which shrank

road size and created congestion for other vehicles.


BRT Management

The BRT operations are taken care of by a corridor manager whose work

includes traffic management, bus operation, recovery of disabled vehicles, etc.

Another interesting feature of BRT is PIS (passenger information system) boards

on all the fifty-eight bus shelters. Currently, global positioning system (GPS)

is installed in the new low-floor buses on four routes.

Lessons Learnt

During the trial run, several technical and operational difficulties like

malfunctioning signaling systems, undisciplined private vehicular traffic,

jaywalking pedestrians cropped up.

The current static traffic signal system installed at BRT corridor is many

times restored to manual operations of the signals which are inefficient. The

manual and automatic systems have conflicting signal phases, thus, switching

system from automatic to manual and vice-versa. There is an urgent need to

install Intelligent Transport Signaling System to automate the whole process.


The system should also be equipped with vehicle tracking facility. On the

existing BRT corridor, it has been observed that there is no set traffic pattern

and traffic movement is unpredictable. The static system of traffic light,

therefore, cannot sense the change in traffic pattern resulting in slow

throughput and un-utilized green time. An intelligent traffic system will not

only synchronize the traffic signals on the corridor, but also on connecting

routes to the corridor.

Even though BRT corridor project has seen a fair amount of criticism, a

number of other cities in India including Hyderabad and Ahmadabad are taking

lessons and rolling out BRT.

Stuti Das