Metro network will cut congestion from current 95% to 9% in MMR by 2031: Study

Mumbai: The 337km-long metro network, comprising 14 lines and 225 stations will reduce traffic congestion in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), claims a study by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

The study reveals that presently, the MMR and Mumbai are 95 and 137 per cent congested respectively; when the entire stretch of 337km of metro network is operational, this congestion will drastically drop to as low as 9 and 33 per cent respectively.

Further, the study says, as more people will commute by metro, travel times on the road and local trains will automatically decrease. 

Currently, the average length of a road trip is 14 km, which will reduce to 10km in the MMR. Similarly, in Mumbai, this will reduce from 11 to 8km because of the metro.

Average travel speed too will increase from the current 20kmph, to 37kmph, while on Mumbai roads, this will go up from 17kmph to 30kmph.

A 21-minute journey in the present is stretched out to 41 minutes on account of congestion, which works out to 95 per cent congestion.

The ideal speed limit of a vehicle is calculated at 40kmph but with the metro impact in 2031, a distance which is to be covered in 15 minutes, is likely to be accomplished in about 16 minutes, indicating a 9 per cent reduction in congestion in the MMR.

Similarly, in Mumbai, if a particular distance is to be covered in 16 minutes, but currently takes about 39 minutes, with all the metro interventions, this time will reduce to 16 minutes, which means, congestion would have reduced by 33 per cent in 2031. The difference between ideal travel time versus actual time required is called congestion, explained an MMRDA official.

Moreover, in the MMR, the trip length of a train commuter will be reduced, from the present 31kms to 25kms, while in Mumbai, it will come down to 10.7kms, from 16.3kms. Trip length is the distance travelled by a person in one day. Local trains will be less crowded.

On the other hand, because of the expansion of the metro network in the MMR, metro trip lengths will increase from 6kms, to 9kms and from 5.9kms to 16.4kms in Mumbai. The reason for the higher metro trip length in Mumbai is because most of the metro lines are here, according to the official. 

Further, said the official, more people will patronise the metro due to decentralisation, increased job opportunities near their homes and the availability of more public transport. This comprehensive transport study was carried out using a simulation model, said the official.

Why is metro sustainable development?

In Sustainable Development Goals, the first factor is to reduce the carbon footprint. Since India signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, it has committed to pursue efforts to reduce global temperature increase "well below" two degrees, which necessitates a 30 per cent carbon footprint reduction by 2025, the MMRDA official pointed out. In a bid to achieve this goal, the transport and urban development departments have been asked to set up mass transit systems.

According to the MMRDA study, because of Metro I (Versova-Ghatkopar), carbon emission has reduced by 0.45 lakh tonnes; without this metro line, it would have been 29.53 lakh tonnes. 

Once all the metro lines are in service, CO2 emissions will be 21.7 lakh tonnes against 34.24 lakh tonnes in 2031, about 12.56 lakh tonnes less.

Further, the study claims, as one tree consumes 22kg of carbon dioxide per year, the laying down of this 337km-long network will be the equivalent of planting about 5.71 crore trees in the entire MMR by 2031.

The project, on completion, will result in savings of Rs 4,300 crore 'value for time' in terms of money per year, while vehicle operating cost benefits (fuel, insurance, reduction in accidents) will result in Rs 7,700 crore savings for the economy per year.

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