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Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Kathmandu Ring Road: A case study

Authors: Hemant Tiwari*, M.Sc. in Transportation Engineering 2nd Year (hemu.ioe@gmail.com) Amrit Kafle, Anup Dhakal, Hari Prasad Sapkota, Dharma Ratna Chitrakar, Jagadish KC Anil Marsani, Coordinator, M.Sc. in Transportation Engineering, Pulchowk Campus (anilmarsani@ioe.edu.np) ABSTRACT Kathmandu is experiencing an unpremeditated vehicular growth leading to various problems such as; undesirable level of congestion, safety problem and pollution, long travel time and many others. Present Ring Road, almost 27 km long; circumscribe the core of the Kathmandu valley and is characterized by large traffic volume. Public transportation provides accessibility to large number of travelers with less lane occupancy. Almost 94,000 passengers use certain stretch of ring road via public transportation each day, but the service offered are not reliable and systematic, because of low average speed, random and frequent stopping of vehicles. Thus, the present public transportation needs to be upgraded to well systematic and reliable mass transit system. Among various mass transit systems, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system was finalized as the best options for the study, and a case study about the prefeasibility of BRT system in Kathmandu ring road was conducted. This paper highlights the outcomes of the case study, which revealed that the present traffic demand can be served by providing articulated BRT buses having passenger capacity 160 with service interval of almost 3 min at off peak hour and almost 2 minute in peak hour. The speed of buses can be maintained at high level by providing 23 well defined stations in the ring road. Despite of its initial construction cost, the operating cost is reasonable. Due to high passenger carrying capacity, it satisfies the increasing demand, discourages use of private vehicles, reduces the travel time, and also has less impact on environment, thus enhancing the aesthetic beauty of the city. Hence, BRT system can be recommended as efficient measure to solve the present transportation issues in ring road. Key words: Mass transit system, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Service frequency, Load factor 1. Background:

Kathmandu, the central of administrative, political, social, industrial, commercial and economical activities of Nepal, has experienced an unpremeditated population growth in the last decade, due to large job opportunities, health, educational, transportation, recreational and other facilities, which ultimately increase the travel demand. This growth in population has placed tremendous pressure on the transport system with rapid increase in travel demand in comparison to transport supply. Though, public transportation is the major mode in developing countries like ours but due to decline in reliability, convenience and safety of the services along with increased standard of living of peoples contributed to increased use of private transportation mode for daily mobility thus further contributing to frequent and high level of delay at intersection, increase in journey time, congestion, accidents and environmental pollution. To cope with such problems various mitigating measures can be adopted such as: extensive construction of infrastructures (grade separated intersection, extension of road width and road network, extension of parking land), road pricing mechanism, introduction of various policies (pedestrian only zone, One way movement, HOV lane), use of intelligent transportation system (ITS) for traffic management, reliable and systematic mass transit system and many others. Being the capital of one the least developed countries, Kathmandu cannot afford the luxury of high tech transportation management system used in modern cities around the globe at least for present condition. But the transportation problem that we are facing today or in the course of facing in near future is almost the same as faced by many of developed cities throughout the world. So we can learn a great lesson from them. The best possible way in dealing with these problems is to rely on effective and efficient transportation system management. One of the Transportation System Management (TSM) measures could be promoting the role of public transportation. This will certainly fulfill the present need of systematic, cost effective and sustainable transportation system with comfort, high speed, low congestion, less environmental disturbance and low fuel consumption transportation. In case of Kathmandu, this can be achieved by upgrading and properly managing present public transportation system along with introduction of new mass transit system. Mass transit involves the movement of the large number of people between a relatively small number of given locations. There are various types of mass transit system as: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Rapid Rail Transit (RRT), Metro system and so on. Each transit has their own characteristics but having a common goal of movement of large number of passengers in reliable, comfortable and convenient way reducing the travel time to reach the destination. From the study of experiences in other major cities, it is found that a BRT system will typically cost 4 to 20 times less than a tram or LRT system and 10 to 100 times less than a metro system. Hence being the cost effective mass transit system among other, a study regarding the possibility of introducing BRT system in the ring road was studied, conducted in June 2011. 2. Study Area Location:

Though the whole Kathmandu valley is suffering from the problem of delay, congestion, pollution, environmental degradation, etc; but due to various constraints this study mainly focused on existing ring road of Kathmandu valley. 3. Data Collection Methodology:

Two types of data were used in the study. Secondary data as public vehicle route and their frequency, vehicular emission, cost of vehicles and construction components, etc were collected from Department of Transport Management (DoTM), Department of Roads (DOR), different Bus & micro-bus operating committees on ring road, and other relevant documents. . Primary data were collected by field survey: (a) Moving car method was used to determine the passenger per hour in each of the available public transportation modes and also for speed and delay observation. (b) Classified traffic volume study was conducted at certain stretch. (c) Roadside interview of passenger was conducted as a part of revealed and stated preference survey. 4. Introduction of BRT system:

As per BRT Planning Guide 2007 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective urban mobility through the provision of segregated right-of-way infrastructure, rapid and frequent operations, and excellence in marketing and customer service. While still in its early years of application, the BRT concept offers the potential to revolutionize the manner of urban transport in developing cities. In order to implement the BRT system we need to have idea of the present scenario of public transportation, present demand and features of the BRT system, which will be discussed in the subsequent sub headings. 4.1. Status Quo Analysis: Based on the analysis of the thirty eight (38) numbers of observations, following conclusion was observed: Average Journey Time = 2 hour 14 minute 40 sec Average Running Time = 1 hour 20 minute 57 sec Total Delays = 53 minute 43 sec. Average Journey Speed = 12.12 Km/hr Average running Speed = 20.16 Km/hr

It is obvious from the above data that travel is more than 2 hrs just to traverse the ring road of length 27.2 km. Low travel speed was due to both operational and fixed delays, but the first one being the major contributor. The major contribution of delay was due to random stopping of vehicle i.e. no specified station for alighting and boarding of passengers. From our observation, we found that altogether 68 stopping stations were found in the whole ring road, where vehicle were stopped with average of more than 40 station in each trip of the vehicle. 4.2. Analysis of Classified traffic volume: Study on classified traffic volume, especially for bus & microbus that either completely traverses the ring road or use only certain stretch of ring road has been carried out at different location along ring road to have idea about the lane occupancy. The finding is summarized on Table 1. Table 1: Number of vehicles serving in ring road (both partial and full route) Traffic volume (vehicles/hr) Clockwise Category Full route bus Partial route bus Micro Partial route micro Peak 50 14 49 10 Off peak 40 12 33 8 Anti-clockwise Peak 48 17 48 10 Off peak 38 12 36 12

Here, partial buses include: Bhaktapur to Buspark (in both direction), Balkhu to Baneswor (only clockwise) Kalanki to Sakhu (only counterclockwise direction). And partial micro includes micro from Kalanki to Lagenkhel on both directions 4.3. Average passenger per hour Passenger volume count at various modes and at different courses of time was conducted. Number of passenger per hour using micro was taken to be constant during any period of time i.e. peak & off peak at both directions, with

assumption that only frequency alters. For partial route micros, it was assumed that they run with full capacity of 16 on both directions at any course of time. (Refer table 2) Table 2: No. of passenger using various modes of public transportation along ring road Average no. of passenger in an hour Clockwise Category Full route bus Partial route bus Micro Partial route micro 4.4. Calculation of Corridor capacity: Corridor capacity is the no. of passenger either alighting or boarding the vehicles per hour per direction. Taking 6 hours as peak and 8 hour as off peak among total 14 operating hour, we got the following summary of corridor capacity: Passenger per peak hour in clockwise direction = 4240 Passenger per peak hour in anti-clockwise direction = 3702 Passenger per off peak hour in clockwise direction = 2996 Passenger per off peak hour in anti-clockwise direction = 2794 Corridor Capacity in clockwise direction = 49408 Corridor Capacity in anti-clockwise direction = 44564 Hence, Total no. of passenger using public transportation in Ring road per day= 93,972 4.5. Calculation of Service Frequency: Service frequency, which is defined as the number of buses per hour in considered direction, varies with demand, is further dependent on vehicle capacity too. It is different for peak and off peak hour time, as no. of passenger alters during these periods of time. For this particular study single stopping bay and articulated vehicle having 160 passenger capacities was adopted and service frequency for various load factors, which is defined as the ratio of actually occupied passenger in the vehicle to the capacity of vehicle is summarized in the table 3. Table 3: Service frequency and service interval at different load factors: Load Factor (LF) Clockwise (Peak) Service frequency (veh/hr) Clockwise ( off peak) Anti-Clockwise ( Peak) Anti-Clockwise(offpeak) Clockwise (Peak) Service Interval (minute) Clockwise ( off peak) Anti-clockwise ( Peak) Anti-clockwise ( off peak) 0.8 34 24 29 22 1.76 2.5 2.1 2.73 0.85 32 23 28 21 1.875 2.61 2.14 2.86 0.9 30 21 26 20 2 2.86 2.31 3 Peak 48 22 28 16 Off peak 42 22 28 16 Anti-clockwise Peak 38 22 28 16 Off peak 35 22 28 16

Adopting load factor of 0.9, Bus required to serve the present passenger demand in both direction with 10% backup (when certain vehicle need maintenance, repair or when certain bus are behind the schedule) = 62 Buses (Refer Table -4) Table 4: Total vehicles required, including backup at different values of Load factors Load Factor 0.8 0.85 0.9 Clockwise 34 32 30 Anti- clockwise 29 28 26 Total vehicles required (Including backup) 70 66 62

The service interval for each direction at various courses of time (peak or off peak hour) varies and which is summarized in the following table. Table 5: Service interval at different courses of time: Direction Clockwise Anti-clockwise Time of day Peak hour Off Peak Hour Peak hour Off Peak Hour Service Interval 2 min 3 min 2 min 30 sec 3 min

4.6. Cross Section of Roadway: The cross section at station is 43m and at all other segment of road it is 31m, which following table 6 and adjacent figure. Table 6: Cross sectional characteristics of road Lane allocated for BRT 2 Lane (2*3.5m) Lane allocated for mixed traffic condition 4 Lane (4*3.5m) BRT and mixed lane separator 2*0.5m Landscaping 2* 1.5m Footpath (both side) 2*3m Station along with one addition lane on each side 5m (centre)+ 2*3.5m for overtaking phenomenon can be illustrated by the 7m 14m 1m 3m 6m 12m

Cross-section of road
4.7. Signal Prioritization at intersection:

Cross-section at Station.

Delay mostly occurs due to traffic light or congestion. So, to make BRT system uninterrupted, the delay at intersection should be avoided. For this, it proposed to provide signal prioritization at major intersection and use of Stop, Look and Go (Yield) sign at minor intersection, which may be categorized based on the traffic volume of opposite legs. Signal prioritization is the cost effective solution to avoid delay at intersection, it can be achieved by locating detector at certain distance ahead of intersection which will detect the presence of BRT Bus and allocate the signal phase accordingly. If there is Green signal light, then it will extend it until the bus cross the intersection. And, if the signal light is red, then at first it will extend red light for few second, then comes the amber light and finally green light appear when the bus is just arrive at intersection. Thus, it will be uninterrupted. For the design of signal prioritization, BRT vehicle should be detected in advance and this will be placed 116.7 m ahead of intersection.

4.8. Selection of Station BRT being the systematic, fast and reliable bus transit system, it needs to have limited stops i.e. station. Thus proper selection of station ensuring that they are not far enough that causes inconvenience to passenger and also not that near enough to increase the travel time. Thus the optimum stations were decided based on three major criteria: passenger flow (in and out) at each station, distance between the consecutive station and the result of the stated preference survey conducted to the public transportation user. Based on the above factor twenty three stations (refer figure 1) are proposed, along the entire Ring Road. Fewer the stations less will be the journey time but it may create discomfort to passenger, as they may be forced to use other

mode because of greater walking distance to reach the destination. Thus the selection of station was a difficult task. The recommended consecutive distance between the stations was between 840 to 1450m, with exception of about 1900m between Balkhu and Kalanki station. The maximum distance between the consecutive stations is about 1400 m (excluding the case of Balkhu- Kalanki), so the passenger whose final destination lies exactly at midway of the two stations has to walk for 700m. Assuming average walking speed of 4 km/hr, he has to walk about 10.5 minute from the station, which is justified from the result of stated preference survey (59% responds in the favor of walking up to 10 minutes, refer figure 2). But in case of Balkhu Kalanki the midway passenger has to walk for about 14 min, this is rare, as there is no any settlement at the midway portion. The distance between Balkhu and Kalanki is justified by low passenger flow at this stretch and land use pattern. The stations were selected in such a way that people are allowed to walk about 5 - 10 minute. At the station it is recommended to build underpass or overhead bridge along with provision of zebra crossing. Considering physically disabled person provision of lift should be provided.

(Figure 2: Response of questionnaire survey)

(Figure 1: Layout of proposed station in the ring road)

4.9. Selection of Depot: The depots, which are required for the storage, maintenance are also the vital part of the design. Proper selection of depot is a must. We have purposed two depots, one at Balkhu and the other just ahead of Om Hospital, due to availability of land. Providing 25m * 5m for the parking bays for each BRT vehicles, 15m free space for maneuver purpose, and there will be 16 bays in each side. The area of each depot is found to be 70m *230m, i.e. 16100 sq. m.

4.10.

Benefits

When the BRT system is introduced, the existing public transportation mode i.e. micro, minibus and buses will be replaced by 62 articulated BRT buses. Based on the secondary source and primary observation it was found that almost 656 vehicles (510 buses &146 micro buses under seven different committees) have the route permit to run on the ring road, all these 656 vehicles will be replaced by articulated BRT buses. The displaced buses can be recommended to be used in other part of the city or even in some developing cities of our country. 4.11. Other Operating Features of BRT system:

Low Floor Bus (LFB) having total of 4 doors, 2 each for entrance and exit will be better suitable for the system to facilitate easy and fast entry and exit of passenger. The floor level of the bus and station platform is made at same level, so as to facilitate physically disabled person and also to reduce the time loss at intersection. Pre board fare collection and verification system will be adopted along with SMART card system and direct payment.

The dwelling time, which is defined as the time lost at each station for the operational purpose i.e. for entry and exit of passenger, was kept minimum and was taken equals to 45 second. Out of 45 second, 35 second is allocated for passengers to get in and out of the vehicle at each station. As mentioned in BRT guideline, pre board fare collection and verification process will reduce boarding time to 0.3 second per passenger for 4 doors LFB, 2 each for entry and exit i.e. total passenger time up/down during 35 second will be 105(= 35 * 3), which is reasonable at present context. BRT will be operated in segregated middle lane but in exceptional cases emergency vehicle can also use BRT lane with prior permission from the concerned authority. 5. Economics Analysis

Economics Analysis is the vital portion of any type of project. The project should be both technically feasible and economically possible for its implementation. In case of developing countries like ours economics is the major consideration. The economics analysis of project deals with the cost associated with the project and the revenue collected. 5.1. Cost Incurred: Various cost that incurred for the implementation of BRT system includes construction cost (construction of lane, station, depot, etc.), vehicular cost, operating and maintenance cost and. The various costs is summarized in the Table 7. Table 7: Breakdown of various cost associated with the project SN 1 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Description Construction cost Operating cost per annum Oil, Fuel and Tire Maintenance cost Staff and Security cost Miscellaneous Cost (10%) Total 5.2. Fare Calculation: The fare should be affordable but should also cover the operating expenses along with some benefits. Thus, minimum fare per passenger is calculated for breakeven: Total expenses = NRs. 856202762 Passenger per year = 34299780 Thus, Minimum fare for the break-even condition =NRs 856202762/34299780 = NRs 24.96 This fare calculation was based on the assumption that the each passenger traverses the whole ring road. The calculated minimum fare seems reasonable as the minimum fare during the study period was NRs. 12 and maximum fare was up to NRs 40, and based on the fact that about 42% (25 out of 60 respondent) respondent are willing to pay 10-20% extra for a new reliable mass transit system. 6. Conclusion and Recommendation: The success and failure of the system depends on various factors as: political stability, planning procedure, community desire, and reliability of services and enforcing measures. If properly planned, designed, monitored and operated it can replicate the success history like that of TransMilenio, Jakarta or otherwise it will be a failure like Delhi BRT. BRT system, it seems like it may solves major of the present problems such as congestion, delays and at the same time enhances the reliability, comfort level associated with public transportation and thus attract the private vehicle user towards the public transportation. But still there are lots of challenges. The major issue is the political stability. Lack of familiarity with BRT concepts: infrastructure, buses, operation, technology, and more importantly its land use and environmental co-benefits, Institutional and technical capacity on planning, development and operation of BRT system are the major issues associated with the system. Geographical/physical limitations may include high land price and limited space for extension or space for segregated bus way in already congested urban core areas. Opposition from transport associations/ bus operators due to their interest and business security may be another challenge to be faced. 650704947 52565200 75096000 77836615 856202762 Cost (NRs) 4775132500

Various supporting policies must be adopted along with implementation of BRT system for its success such as: congestion charging for private vehicle, forced congestion in other lane except BRT lane, parking restriction, Park and ride policy, Auto/car restricted CBD. These policies will help in mode shift from private vehicle to BRT. Acknowledgement: Special acknowledgement goes to Prof. Padhma Khadhka for his valuable guidance and motivation. The research work would not have completed without endless effort and valuable contributions of most of the classmate. References: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. A Project Report On Pre-feasibility study of bus rapid transit in Kathmandu ring road, Amrit Kafle et.al. November, 2011 Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide2007, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy 127 W. 26th Street, Suite 1002 New York, NY 10001 USA 3rd edition, June 2007 Mass Transit Opportunity Study Within the Ring Road of Kathmandu Valley Shiva Madi Nepal, MSc. Urban planning-2005 Improvement of Kathmandu Ring Road Tapendra Bahadur Khadka, MSc. Urban Planning-2000 Role of Road Networks for the Growth of Small Towns (A Case Study of Dhading Besi and its Surrounding) Binod Shrestha, MSc. Urban Planning-2002 Article on Operating a Bus Rapid Transit System published by American Public Transportation Association approved on October 2010 Bus rapid transit delhi:mobility for all; published by Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University in 2010-1-6