On Monday, the Delhi Development Authority approved the ‘Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy’ under which it plans to develop high-density, mixed-use areas around five Metro stations in the capital in the first phase.
“The policy promotes high-density, mixed-use, mixed-income buildings within a short distance of a rapid public transport network, set in a public realm that encourages more people to use public transport,” DDA vice-chairperson Tarun Kapoor said.
DDA will do the planning, while the construction will be carried out by private agencies. The proposal will be forwarded to the Union Housing Ministry for approval and notification.
The primary goals of the policy are to promote the use of public transport and discourage dependence on private vehicles, and to provide walking-distance access to public transport to the maximum possible numbers of people “through densification and enhanced connectivity”.
The DDA plans to do this by a multi-pronged approach — increasing the supply of space for housing stock and commercial purposes, in order to bring down the cost of living and working in Delhi. DDA aims to cross-subsidise social amenities and provide low-income groups shared amenities in integrated mixed-income communities.
The relevance of TOD lies in the fact that despite a 373-km Delhi Metro rail network and other public transport options, Delhi has been “unable to deliver efficient, comfortable, affordable, and subsidised parking options as well as a lack of safety for walkers, cyclists and women…”. This has led to commuters relying on automobiles, especially private vehicles, much more than on public transport.
Also, the city’s “auto-centric” planning has prioritised unwalkably large block sizes and encroached on footpaths and cycle tracks, and discouraged non-motorised travel modes and made commuters “auto-dependent”. At the heart of TOD then, also lie the principles of healthy, more environment-friendly lifestyles.