December 1, 2008
FTA Leads Study Mission to India
By Cheryl Thole
Special to Passenger Transport
In September the FTA organized a study mission to India, during which the delegation visited four cities and met with government officials. The purpose of the mission was to meet Indian transportation and government officials and share information regarding transportation plans and improvements in both India and the U.S., including any lessons learned. The mission also provided the chance for the delegation to learn about opportunities for involvement in the development and improvements of India’s infrastructure.
The visit highlighted two trends in India: bus rapid transit and public-private partnerships. While in Mumbai, FTA Administrator James S. Simpson signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Vilasrao Deshmukh, the governor of India’s second-largest state.
The Memorandum reaffirms an agreement signed last year by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the Indian minister of urban development, calling for both nations to share technical information and to undertake a guest-expert exchange program.
The delegation met with transit officials in the cities of Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, and the national capital of New Delhi, where a new subway system has been built.
In Visakhapatnam, Simpson visited the Indo-German Institute of Advanced Technology, a joint project of the German government, an Indian state government, and a local engineering school. At a workshop in Visakhapatnam, city officials stated their intent to bring bus rapid transit to their city, a system already in place in New Delhi. In addition, Jaipur is building a BRT system, planned to cover approximately 91 miles.
An industry roundtable was held in Hyderabad, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which operates the largest bus fleet in the world—19,270 vehicles. Participants at the roundtable discussed transportation infrastructure in India, including rail operations and the new Hyderabad airport, a public-private partnership.
The 2008 mission provided valuable information for the U.S. delegation. In particular, the delegation was impressed by the recent successes in India with public-private partnerships.
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