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Uniform design norms for urban roads in India


The Central Government wants all towns and cities to create enough facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and all other non-motorized transport in urban areas. The Union urban development (UD) ministry has come out with new guidelines for city roads, including signage and designs for crossings, ahead of launch of the second leg of UPA’s flagship urban infrastructure upgrade scheme – the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM).

This is for the first time that such codes for urban roads have been brought out, aiming to bring uniformity across all cities and towns and at par with best global practices. Now, there are varying signage and standards that Indian cities follow. The codes were released at the Sustainable Urban Transport summit organized by the UD ministry.

Ministry officials said that the urban road design codes have been brought out to bridge the gap between the current research on safe urban roads and road design in cities. The documents released by government say that the roads need to be “barrier free” and accessible by “all”, including the differently abled.

The guidelines focus on requirements for pedestrians, non-motorized vehicle and public transport users in urban areas. It says that these three groups form the basis of sustainable transport. “Despite unsafe conditions present on the road these users on non-motorized modes continue to use these modes because their socio economic conditions does not permit them to use motorized vehicles…they are willing to defy the formal street design, which is hostile to them,” according to the document.

The new norms also address the concern of two-wheelers, which account for 70% of cities’ vehicles. The documents mention that two-wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) will continue to play a dominant role in medium and small cities. Similarly, the para-transit vehicles like three wheelers, tempos and rickshaws will continue to play an important role either as feeder system to the formal public transport systems or as semi public transport systems in small and medium size cities. “These guidelines are revised to cater to their needs,” the document adds.

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