Reimagining the approach to TOD

NIUA studied various projects proposed by cities in their Smart City Plans with the help of MoUD’S TOD Guidance Document. This was part of a research on TOD in Indian Smart Cities conducted with the support of Prosperity Fund, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government of UK. It purpose is to support cities in Round 2 and Round 3 of the Indian Smart Cities Mission who have proposed or plan to propose Transit Oriented Development in their Area Based Development. It provides a decision making framework for these cities. MoUD’s Guidance Document for TOD presents 21 Principles for planning and implementing a Transit Oriented Development. To simplify the discussion, the study proposed use of 5 constructs of Design, Density, Diversity, Mobility and Housing. They are a modified version of the 3Ds of Design, Density and Diversity. These five constructs were then mapped against the 12 guiding principles from MoUD’s Guidance Document. This exercise resulted in a baseline or ‘ideal’ weights for each f the constructs. The mapping is based on the Components enumerated by MoUD under each of the Principle. Next, the framework is used to understand a city’s approach to implementation of a TOD in three parts:

1. Compatibility of projects and policies: Listing and mapping all the projects proposed by the city against the 21 principles. This is similar to the process of mapping the principles against the constructs. It allows us to identify the constructs prioritized by the city based on the resultant weights. The process is shown in the illustration:


2. Urban Transformation: Estimating the change in the built form of the area selected for ABD. It estimates the additional built up area required to accommodate the additional population that will make the proposed infrastructure investment financially sustainable. Taking city’s current population, growth rate and slum population, the framework estimates if additional interventions are required to stimulate population growth to achieve the desired population. The framework is also used to estimate the expected increase in real estate prices in the ABD using market prices of the land in the area.

3. City’s Finances: The approach for assessing the financial sustainability comprised the following:Analyse the past trends in terms of various components of revenue and capital income and expenditure. It is assumed that business as

  • Analyse the past trends in terms of various components of revenue and capital income and expenditure. It is assumed that business as usual situation would follow similar trends.
  • On a single entry basis, closing balance indicates the net of all cash flows. The investments proposed for TOD projects are superimposed on the existing financials and compared in relation to the prevailing composition of municipal finances. This involves comparing quantum of investment in relation to those generated in the past.

The study looked at four cities in detail, mapping each of its projects against the 21 principles to obtain the resultant weights and thus, the construct prioritized by each city. The exercise illustrates how a city can leverage TOD to address its specific issues. It also helps identify areas that a city can focus on, as it moves forward with the implementation of the TOD.

This framework provides a platform for city managers and policy makers to have a quick understanding of how their projects compare against TOD principles in the Indian context. While the application of these principles has been demonstrated for two cities, this framework has potential to be developed as a tool to provide insights to city managers and policy makers to delve deep into granular elements of the process.