Mono rail and canal transport to integrate orderly commuting under Megapolis development plans


By Steve A. Morrell


The French Agency For Development (FAD), through the aegis of the French Embassy convened ‘Focus 1 – Transport in the Global Sustainable City’, last week. The theme for discussion included Megapolis development with emphasis on city transport and its integration to ease and solve traffic snarls.

Concentration on city transport systems and the waste factor of physical stress and loss in manhours were intensely debated during the conference.

Deputy Head of Mission, French Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Isabelle Miscot, in her opening remarks said urban development and transport mobility were crucial factors included for discussion. Allied subjects would receive intense attention and the outcome of such discussions would mean comprehensive planning and attention for practical action and implementation.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa, Professor Athula A. Attalage, said transport, logistics and management were integrated subjects discussed at the Paris Conference of Parties, or COP 21 in 2015.

He said it was timely and opportune that Sri Lanka was one of 187 countries which participated in the Paris Sustainable Innovation Forum convened by the United Nations Environment Program.

In the Sri Lanka context, transport was dominated by passenger commuting. Although current passenger movement was assessed at 140 billion, it was in actual factorization 0.02% in passenger flow or a loss sequence of 236 trillion in fuel absorption per year, he explained.

Expectations were that urban areas particularly subject to population concentration would in sequence be an orderly situation by 2020, he noted.

Country Director, French Agency for Development (FAD), Martin Parent, said one billion Euros was the expendable sum for transport, which included river transport and its integration with road and railway.

In Sri Lanka, the French government was actively involved in implementing solutions for sustainable infrastructure to ensure a workable solution that would be practical and acceptable in the general atmosphere of transport, he said.

Team Leader, Transport Committee, Western Region, Megapolis Planning Project: Efficient and Sustainable Transportation Systems for the New Megapolis Plan, Dr. Dimantha De Silva, in his keynote address, said a multi-integration approach already planed would include effective use of the network of waterways interspersing Colombo and its suburbs.

Currently, apart from the coastal areas in disorganized use for the fishing industry, these valuable canals were in general ignored, he pointed out. "Within areas of transport, through assistance from the Japanese government, the Japan Agency JICA, would initiate the Monorail transport or the elevated rail option for intra-city commuting and also inclusion in such plans are integration of road and rail transport in a unified manner to ease congestion".

Population growth was part of the planning process to ensure there would be no disruption although expected addition to current numbers would be around 25 million by 2025. Planning for such increases were well in place, Dr. De Silva explained.

The integrated approach and essential mobility on CMR; Cross Border Transport of cargo by road based on UN recommendations, was additionally a cornerstone for use of railways for cargo transport, he observed.

At the Q&A session that followed, media queries were that the British used the railway for passenger transport as well. The KV line extended to Ratnapura, and an additional rail service was in place from Nanuoya to Ragalla; the question posed was that would such services be resumed?

Dr. De Silva confirmed that such plans were for development are being actively considered. Bus transport would be reorganized to ensure that use of personal travelling by car would no longer be necessary.

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