Is TOD an am­bi­tious project?

For a tran­sit de­vel­op­ment to be suc­cess­ful, land acquisition chal­lenges will have to be over­come

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

While the in­ten­tion of the tran­sit-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment projects planned for Delhi is good and for­ward look­ing, city plan­ners may find it dif­fi­cult to ex­e­cute the am­bi­tious project if land acquisition through pool­ing for the pur­pose of re­de­vel­op­ment proves to be a chal­lenge. Also, if the project con­tin­ues to pro­vide ad­e­quate park­ing and not en­cour­age res­i­dents to walk-to-work or cy­cle to the trans­porta­tion hub, it may not meet the main cri­te­ria of a TOD. It will end up be­ing just an­other real es­tate de­vel­op­ment along a metro hub or a tran­sit-aligned de­vel­op­ment (TAD).

Sim­ply put, a TOD de­vel­op­ment must nec­es­sar­ily be high­den­sity, mixed in­come de­vel­op­ment with in­creased con­nec­tiv­ity to a mass rapid trans­port node and of­fer pedes­trian and cy­cle­friendly en­vi­ron­ments.

The chal­lenge of ex­e­cut­ing a TOD in case of a brown­field project (where land may have to be pooled by peo­ple liv­ing in the area for re­de­vel­op­ment into a TOD) is higher as it may not be easy to ac­quire land to de­velop a project as large as a TOD.

Also, if the car park­ing ra­tio of res­i­dents, shop­pers and com­muters con­tin­ues to be as gen­er­ous as any other ex­ist­ing real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, TOD may not be able to live up to its name. If peo­ple find it dif­fi­cult to move around with­out a car, the con­cept will fail the walk­a­bil­ity test.

If the fo­cus is not on pedes­trian move­ment but ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic, the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing area qual­ity in cities will re­main where it is to­day and TOD will not be able to make any dif­fer­ence.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) last year had de­clared Delhi as one of the most pol­luted cities in the world with an an­nual av­er­age of 153 μg of small par­tic­u­lates, known as PM2.5 per cu­bic me­tre. If the TOD is un­able to ad­dress this is­sue, it will be like any other real es­tate de­vel­op­ment that com­mands a pre­mium be­cause of its prox­im­ity to trans­porta­tion cor­ri­dors.

SANJEEV VERMA

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