The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has started planning to introduce the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Islamabad to overcome growing transportation needs of the city.
The planning wing of the CDA has approached the Economic Affairs Division to get funding from an international donor i.e. Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) etc. to execute this project.
A preliminary concept paper in this regard has been prepared by the Planning Wing to proceed further on this project, however; senior officers informed that it needs a proper consultant to be engaged to carry out a detailed feasibility study.
According to initial working, a total of four potential routes have been identified that includes 30.5km long route from Rawat to Faisal Mosque on Islamabad Expressway and Faisal Avenue, 13.7km long route from N5 commonly known as G.T road to Pakistan Monument via Srinagar Highway, 27.5km long route from Rawat at T-Chowk to 26 No Stop on G.T road and 10.4km long route Pirwadhai to Faizabad via the IJP road.
The city planners had explored an option to utilize the existing railway track in Islamabad but scrapped the idea while considering it insufficient for the execution of this project as the existing railway track is one sided, which carries main traffic of Pakistan Railways. Source said that though the planning wing has started its preparations well on time, but the execution of this project is quite difficult as it involves huge funding and political stability as well.
Member Planning and Design CDA Waseem Hayat Bajwa has confirmed that initial work has been started in the traffic engineering section of the authority. He said they are in contact with the Economic Affairs Division to get funding to execute this project and quite hopeful because the project is viable for Islamabad.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) is high-capacity public transport having electric railways that operate on an exclusive right-of-way.
It is pertinent to mention here that the developed countries had introduced such facilities about a century ago to facilitate their citizens and some of the successful models includes the world’s first underground railway system in London, the Subway of New York City and Subway of Tokyo.
The city managers have decided to bring LRT in Islamabad due to the massive burden of vehicles on roads and traffic engineers consider the existing Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) insufficient to carry the load.
It has been witnessed in the last few years that all the major roads face traffic congestion during peak hours and LRT can reduce the load while it is also an affordable option besides reducing travel time.
They argue that the LRT will reduce air pollution, noise pollution and fuel consumption and it will be helpful to reduce environmental degradation.
Remember that, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is a strong proponent of modern transport systems in the country and he had successfully implanted the orange line metro train project in Lahore besides all the criticism and hurdles.
Orange Line Metro Train Lahore was initiated in May 2014 but on ground working was started in 2015 and same was completed in Oct. 2020.
The line of said train is designed with double tracks having maximum design speed 80km/h and it uses energy-saving fully automated electric trains. The train has five 20m long bogies with 60 seats over a total track length of 27.12 km. A total of 26 stations are designed along the orange line, including 24 elevated and 2 underground stations.