Monday، 11 December 2017 | Score:
Rail-Oriented Urban Development: A New Urban Paradigm
Today, the increasingly challenging complexities of the urban areas necessitate a new urban pattern that can be essentially sustainable and responding. Among these new patterns is the introduction of “rail-oriented urban development” as a resource-saving, environment-friendly, safety-enhancing, and a growth-smart development pattern currently pursued around the world.
This strategy basically prefers the rail system to roads and private automobiles and promotes the mobility of goods and passengers via rail in inner cities to suburbs routes as well as inter-city distances.
This approach is becoming increasingly widespread around the world because of the many benefits it entails. Of these tangible benefits, we can refer to the environmental protection, lower traffic density, less waste of fuel and time, higher safety, reduced costs, reduction of disparities, greater investments, improved welfare for citizens, increased mobility, higher social as well as environmental sustainability, and integrated town planning and travel.
Additionally, it promotes Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) as the exciting fast growing trend in creating vibrant, livable, sustainable communities, which according to the Transport Oriented Development Institute, is “the creation of compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities centered around high quality train systems. This makes it possible to live a lower-stress life without complete dependence on a car for mobility and survival”.
Similarly since 2013, rail transit oriented development has been taken as a strategic choice of urban, regional and even international development in Iran, an idea initially founded and pursued by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
In this sense, the Ministry has drawn on different policies to develop the rail sector in Iran, including development of train stations in different cities (i.e. contract with France AREP for development of Tehran, Qom and Mashhad Stations), promoting suburban rails (i.e. quite recently Tehran-Garmsar) as well as inter-city rails (i.e. electrification of Tehran-Mashahd Railway among others), and renovation of rail fleet etc.
The vision for expanding the rail sector has not been limited to the national scale; as linking domestic routes to the regional and global transport networks has also been seriously followed (i.e. Astara-Astara Railway).
Now, railway track laying in Iran has reached a daily average of 5 km, which is a considerable achievement. The authorities believe that once each passenger uses rail instead of road routes, it saves up to two-third of costs in fuel consumption.
As of now, 12 contracts and 26 MoUs have been reached in Iran’s rail sector to develop what is called a rail-oriented planning.
by: Samaneh Afshar