Improving the Quality of Travel in Mumbai, India’s Commercial and Financial Capital

April 10, 2014


Jyothi Pujari overlooks the train tracks in Mumbai. The project has opened up new opportunities and she now works at the office of the new resettlement estate that is providing new 

Sudip Mozumder/World Bank

Since 2002, the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) has increased the frequency, speed, and carrying capacity of Mumbai’s suburban trains, the city’s lifeline, reducing commuting time for the seven million plus passengers who use the system every day.

The city’s east-west connectivity has also improved with one road being widened and another being carved out afresh after being freed of encroachments. An area traffic control system has substantially reduced the waiting time at road intersections. The project has also become a worldwide example of resettling unprecedented numbers of people in a densely populated urban area. 


The project was the first step to improve rail and road connectivity in Mumbai, India’s commercial and financial capital which, much like New York, lies along a narrow north-south peninsula. This was also the Bank’s first attempt to resettle people on an unparalleled scale. About 100,000 people, mostly living in slums alongside roads and railway tracks had to be resettled before the roads could be widened and faster trains introduced. While resettling people is difficult anywhere, it was almost intractable in the complex socio-political environment of this mega city where population density is one of the highest in the world and land values are very high.  Almost 95% of the affected people did not have legal claim to the land they occupied. And, getting people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to accept homogenous resettlement options was not easy. Even more challenging was finding alternative resettlement sites in this land-scarce city, and mobilizing the resources needed to develop these into housing estates for resettled people. 

" When we lived in the slum, the children fell ill frequently and often missed school. Now, school buses come to our new housing complex and the children are doing much better at school. Also, there is peace now, and a huge sense of security. "

Jyothi Pujari

Housewife moved to a new housing complex


Smiles abound, new schools have been set up in the resettlement colonies.

Sudip Mozumder/World Bank


Given the unprecedented scale and complexity of the resettlement process, the project built the capacity of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) - the agency responsible for the project's Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) activities  - to explore alternative solutions that made the resettled people partners in development and provided a ‘win-win' solution for all.

The MMRDA carried out extensive consultations and negotiations with the affected people, often going beyond the scope of the R&R policy to arrive at alternative solutions that were more agreeable to all. This helped reduce the number of complaints and cut down the costs and delays of litigation. In addition, transparency, proactive information disclosure, and independent monitoring helped resolve grievances and built the people’s confidence in the resettlement process.

To solve both land and financial constraints, private developers were offered ‘development rights' and cash incentives to construct new resettlement sites in the less-dense northern suburbs. And, going beyond the provision of bricks and mortar, the MMRDA helped the resettled people adapt to their new environments.  Non-governmental organizations were hired to expand livelihood opportunities through skills training for young people and micro-credit for women. The resettlement sites were also provided with schools, day-care centers, and women's centers.

" In the slum, women didn’t venture out too far. I never worked either. After moving here, I've begun to cater hot lunches. I now earn about Rs 7,500 a month, enough for my son and I to live well "

Madhavi Shinde

Widow and Business Owner


Enterprising women have set up small shops in the resettlement estates. 

Sudip Mozumder/World Bank


Since the project began in 2002 along with the additional financing in June 2010:

  • Suburban rail: IBRD financing helped add new railway track and introduce newer, better-ventilated and more comfortable carriages. This helped increase the frequency, speed, comfort and carrying capacity of the suburban rail system making commuting easier for more than seven million passengers who use the system every day. The braking system in these new trains reduces energy use by more than 30%. 
  • Roads: IBRD financing also helped improve east – west road connectivity, with one road being widened and another - a substantial part of which existed only on paper while actually housing hundreds of people - being carved out afresh after being freed of encroachments. An Area Traffic Control system, covering about half the city, helped to substantially reduce waiting time at road intersections. The bus fleet was modernized and 644 new user-friendly buses with larger carrying capacity introduced.

  • Resettlement: IDA financing and support helped build the MMRDA’s capacity to carry out the complex resettlement process. About 100,000 people – including over 17,000 homes and almost 1,800 shops –were resettled in safe permanent dwellings. Unlike in the slums, apartments in the resettlement sites were equipped with running water, electricity, and indoor toilets.  An independent study has found that the provision of formal housing to resettled families has significantly empowered them. Employability and creditworthiness has improved, average household incomes and social status has risen, and women feel a greater sense of security.
  • Some 9,500 resettled children have benefitted from the 39 schools and education centers established in and around the rehabilitation sites.
  • Over 10,000 women have been engaged in micro-credit activities through the formation of self-help groups with another 1,000 mobilized to establish a women's cooperative that has been undertaking income generating activities.
  • The resettlement process itself has become a worldwide example of successfully resettling unprecedented numbers of people in a densely populated urban area, and improving lives.  Lessons learnt have equipped the MMRDA to deal effectively with the resettlement challenges of other infrastructure projects. Recently, the MMRDA has resettled large numbers of people in record time following the principles introduced under the project. 

" I want to take up a design course when I finish school. Knowing how to use a computer will always be helpful in future.  "

Rubina Shaufat

Student studying computers


Rubina Shaufat at computer class in a resettlement colony. 

Sudip Mozumder/World Bank

Bank Group Contribution

IBRD has financed US$371 million of the total project cost of US$1,128 million. IDA, contributed financing of US $ 83 million for resettlement.


Roads: For the roads component, counterpart funds were provided by the Government of Maharashtra. Implementation was carried out by the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation (MSRDC), the bus component by the BEST which operates a large number of bus lines in the Mumbai metropolitan area, while R&R was carried out by the MMRDA.

Rail: For the rail component, counterpart financing was shared equally by the central Ministry of Railways and the Government of Maharastra. Implementation was carried out by the Maharashtra Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and R&R by the MMRDA.

Area Traffic Control: The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) - or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body that governs the city of Mumbai - implemented the Area Traffic Control System.

Moving Forward

Even today, the comprehensive transport study carried out as part of the project forms the basis for the city’s transport planning. Post resettlement management support has enabled resettled families to manage their housing cooperatives sustainably. The World Bank continues to remain engaged to help the city expand transformative investments in urban infrastructure and services. While the city has been implementing several road and rail projects on its own, the World Bank is financing a follow on project - MUTP2A - since 2010 to build upon the progress made under the MUTP, especially to further increase the capacity of the suburban rail system. 

people resettled in safe permanent dwellings.