First past the post

With implementation of India's first intelligent transport system set to begin by the end of July, the Mysore project could be a trailblazer for similar systems in congested cities across the country

I Arnaud Renard

With global tenders for India's first intelligent transport system (ITS) being finalised at long last, the city of Mysore in Karnataka is ready for its long-awaited transformation. Partly funded by The World Bank, the project has been in the pipeline for several years. After various delays the lights appear to be going green and (at the time of going to press) development is predicted to begin soon, taking around 12 months. "We have reached the last part of the tendering process and will complete it in the next month [by July 20 11]. The successful bidder will get a year to implement the system:' revealed Gaurav Gupta, managing director of the Karnataka State Road 'Transport Corporation (KSRTC). Upon completion, it will create a big change in Mysore's business landscape. There are two transport projects being run simultaneously. One focuses on using ethanol-blended diesel rather than standard diesel to run the city's bus fleet. The switch to a renewable energy source will result in less pollution as well as a reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels. But what's really going to make a difference to the whole city will be the introduction of an ITS that will allow a central control centre to 'know' the location of all the city's buses, enabling it to accurately calculate how long each one will take to reach subsequent stops. This information will be relayed to commuters
Table 1: ProJeded costs, taken from a Central Institute of Road Transport detailed proJed report (source: Detailed Project Report, Intelligent Transport System &Ethanol Diesel, KSRTC, Mysore)
Project item

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3


With 5% coDtingellc:y

ITS proc:urement Capital eostll Operating eoata SuhtOtalllDDual ITS

1,00692 249.74 1,25666

2607 252.85 27892

2989 256.46 28635

1,06288 759.05 1,821.93


Intertraffic World India I Special Issue 2011


via live departure boards at bus stops and screens on the buses. A GPS unit mounted on each vehicle will relay location. The projected cost will be Rs 19 13 crore which, as Table 1 shows, includes a 5° contingency fund. Incorporating the ethanolblended diesel project, the total figure is Rs 22.70 crore, of which The World Bank will contribute Rs 7 crore. The balance will be funded by the Kamataka government. the Global Environment Facility and the Indian government. In the long term they expect the outlay to be made back through increasing bus use after implementation, and advertising on bus interiors and exteriors. The project will cover over 500 buses, 80 bus stops and lObus terminals.

Why Mysore?
Mysore was selected as the best city for India's first ITS for two main reasons. First, it is an expanding, flourishing city; many businesses have outsourced work to it, and it is a thriving region for IT services, with most notably Wipro and lnfosys having large operations there. Mysore provided Rs 760 crore of IT exports in 2006/2007. Second, and crucially, the size of the city matters. The cost of implementing an ITS increases with the scale of the site in which it is to be deployed. Some view Mysore as a testbed - if successful, the system is likely to be installed in the larger city of Bangalore. Introducing an ITS is a substantial overhaul of a transport system, so the smaller the city

Table 2: How many people would switch to public transport? Taken from a Centrallnsthute of Road Transport detailed project report (source: Detailed Project Report, Intelligent Transport System & Ethanol Diesel, KSRTC, Mysore)

Mode of transport

Sample size

WilliDgness to shift

Perc:entage share



Three-wheeler Two-wheeler

110 1,290





Perc:entage of total sample
Karnatake Is In the process of Implementing an ITS for monitoring and tracking city buses on a real-time basis In the city of Mysore


89250 0

to track delays and even divert buses away from traffic buildups means commuters will spend less time waiting at bus stops or in jams. This removes much of the uncertainty that plagues India's public transport system at present, making journeys more costeffective for businesses as commuters' productivity can be greatly increased. The biggest impact will be the huge increase in numbers of people using public transport, which will remove many vehicles from the roads and ease Mysore's congestion. The Centrallnstitute of Road Transport's research shows only 130 0 of trips are made using public transport at present. It continues to state that 89 0 0 of a sample population would be willing to switch to public transport if KSRTC could run a reliable service, using an ITS (Table 2). Furthermore, adopting the ITS will lead to greater tourist satisfaction, bringing more visitors and outside money to the city. The Karnataka state government minister for Home and Transport, Shri R. Ashoka, believes the adoption of the ITS - and the subsequent shift in use of public transport - will be essentlal to help reduce pollution: "They [citizens] can prevent pollution reaching alarming levels here by switching over to mass transport" Reducing pollution in Mysore would, he adds. also encourage more people to VISit and live ID the city.

Bus arrival times are accurate to two minutes

the easier it is to properly implement an ITS. Mysore, a medium-sized city, is a more affordable testbed, allowing any problems to be ironed out before deployment elsewhere. Also, one of the main challenges in adopting the ITS is making the most of existing transport assets, and it is simply easier to do this with Mysore's relatively small bus fleet.

What does it mean? The expected benefits of the switch are numerous. Being able to monitor vehicle speed and location will result in fewer accidents, thereby improving travel safety and making public transport a more attractlve option for city workers. The ability

Potential problems Various problems could arise during implementation. The project's start has been much delayed, and certain processes in its adoption are likely to take longer than expected. London's ITS integration, for example, took longer than planned and a major operational problem emerged: when the system was put in place, some bus drivers did not properly register their vehicles onto the system, initially resulting in \,p to 15° ° of vehicles not being displayed on the timetables. Despite Mysore's relatively small size, it still has a population of over 2.2 million, and sees hundreds of thousands of bus journeys made daily; so the changeover will be complex. Although the potential for problems exists, the overwhelming belief is that Mysore's adoption of ITS will be a great boon for the city and its businesses. At the time of writing, the companies involved with its actual delivery have not been announced, although The World Bank's involvement should keep the project steady and on course The implementation of the ITS in the emerging city of Mysore will confirm its status as a key business hub in India.

Special Issue 2011

I Intertraffic World India

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