Cities are growing rapidly due to urbanization and there is more and more pressure on road based traffic. Rail based Mass Rapid Transit System, like Metro, is the answer to these problems, primarily due to the fact that it requires very less space (either elevated or underground), reduces noise pollution, no air pollution, is reliable & safe, saves transit time and hence are “Green”. The under construction Kochi Metro is designed to be a Green Metro, says, Shival Manchanda, HOD/ GM – Architecture, Egis-India. Once commissioned, Kochi Metro will reduce the annual carbon emission by 44,000 tonnes.
The city of Kochi experienced rapid urbanization, amplified due to narrow roads resulting in traffic problems. The government of Kerala setup Kochi Metro Rail Corporation to design, construct and operate Kochi Metro Rail Network, taking advisory services of Delhi Metro Rail Limited. The project is being designed as a “Green Metro”.
The project alignment is around 25km starting from Alwaye to Petta and running through important destinations of Kochi City. The entire alignment is elevated with 22 stations along the route. The alignment runs from Alwaye to Edappaly along the National Highway before it enters into the busy streets of Kochi passing through MG Road, Ernakulum South Station, Vythila Mobility Hub before culminating into Petta.
Integrated Transport Approach – Kochi metro is planning to integrate all modes of transport. The city is interwoven with a network of backwater streams which is frequently used by the residents, primarily due to the fact that their livelihood is dependent of these backwaters. KMRL has proposed to integrate the timings of these transport networks with Metro proposed timetable.
One such opportunity is at Vytilla Mobility hub where Kochi Metro Station is being integrated with Mobility Hub plan to join metro system with inter-state buses, city buses and water transport system, and maybe high speed line in future.
Clean Kochi Green Kochi – KMRL has also joined hands with city municipal authorities to cleanup canals. Pre and post monsoon, the roads are being repaired to keep them motorable.
Green Environment – KMRL has already planted around 3000 trees in schools and other parts of City as part of the drive to maintain the greenery which will get disturbed during construction.
Sustainable Systems – The Metro Rolling Stock has many energy saving features like “regenerative braking” and LED lights. Regenerative braking system, apart from saving energy will also generate energy. Rolling Stock is also loaded with many sustainable features like Automatic and unattended train operations and Automatic Train Protection.
Sustainable Stations – The stations are being designed for energy saving features by designing building envelopes which reduce heat gain inside the station in air-conditioned areas. The window openings in passenger areas are designed for greater natural ventilation, thus maintaining comfort conditions inside the stations. Other sustainable features like water efficient fixtures in toilets, STP and rain water harvesting are being adopted. VRV HVAC system is being proposed for all technical rooms which require air-conditioning. LED Lighting are being proposed in public areas.
Sustainable Construction – The viaduct and stations are being proposed mostly along the median so that minimum land is required to be acquired. Viaduct is proposed as a standard span of 25m with twin-U girders. These girders are pre-casted at the casting yard and are installed during night when traffic is minimum, thus saving a lot of time and avoiding chaos during construction.
Station structural elements are pre-cast as far as possible. The proposed station structure is a single column cantilevered structure over the road median, thus requiring minimum space. The construction sequencing of station ensures that two-lane traffic is available at all the time during construction. It is also ensured that any major blockages on road are taken up during night time when traffic is low.