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Transport Governance Initiative (TGI)

In collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Parisar, CAG carried out a pilot study to understand how decisions are made in the urban transport sector in the State of Tamil Nadu. The project’s broad aim is to understand the formal and informal structures of institutions responsible for shaping and implementing transport policies and plans, especially in relation to development objectives. It is part of a multi-city study and similar efforts are being conducted in Karnataka, West Bengal and New Delhi.

WRI and Prayas Energy Group developed a similar assessment called the Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI) in 2007 to understand the state of transparency, accountability, capacity and participation in the electricity sector. Building on the experiences and inferences of EGI, TGI provides a framework for the evaluation of governance processes in the transport sector in developing countries. The toolkit was developed presuming better decision making processes are necessary for improved outcomes and focuses on how decisions are made rather than what decisions are made.

First, the team conducted a baseline study to select the three cities where the toolkits would be administered. The parameters for selecting the cities included population and a plan, policy, project or regulatory event in the particular city in the past five years. We found that the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore and Trichy met these criteria because they have recently prepared a Non Motorised Transport policy, City Development Plan and City Mobility Plan, respectively. Second, we carried out the assessments through researching various statutes, government orders, documents, media reports, and interviews with various public officials.

The assessments for the three cities reveal very specific lacunae in the decision-making processes across the principles of transparency, accountability, public participation and capacity in the system. We hope that the assessments will provide the government agencies and civil society organisations in the urban transport sector a diagnostic framework by which they can improve aspects of the processes that will strengthen decision-making and lead to better transportation and mobility outcomes for residents.