Indian Railways Adopts Form-Based Codes for Station Redevelopment

India’s rail network is a significant growth engine for our economy, and its expansion must be aligned with robust decarbonisation strategies. The Railways has embarked on an ambitious 100 per cent electrification target and announced an ambitious Station Redevelopment Programme. Railway stations in India are dynamic public spaces that act as high-density 24×7 multi-utility hubs. But the pressure of additional infrastructure will increase energy demand and consumption, which in turn will lead to more emissions and pollution. Integrating energy efficiency and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) guidelines into the redevelopment plans can reduce emissions and contribute to India’s climate goals.


The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), the former nodal agency for the redevelopment of railway stations in India, has developed a comprehensive set of codes and guidebooks—called the Manual for Station Redevelopment including Commercial Development—that focus on sustainable and green development. The codes also include guidelines for heritage conservation based on sustainability parameters.

The codes use a Form-Based approach, a first-of-its-kind in India, equivalent to Building Bye-Laws in a city. This approach aims to conserve energy by using land efficiently and creating a built environment that encourages the use of Non-Motorised Transport, improves access to public transit, and promotes resource-efficient infrastructural growth.

The codes define and standardise the process of formulating and approving the plans for station redevelopment with a set of pre-defined objectives. The initial plan is to revitalise 400 station areas with large-scale station modernisation and world-class passenger infrastructure. The initiative can be replicated in 8,000 stations and their adjoining areas to improve their environmental performance and capitalise on real estate opportunities.

The redevelopment efforts are geared towards transforming railway station areas into a ‘Railopolis’– a mini smart city with mixed-use development where one can live, work, play and ride, thus attracting huge investment and business opportunities.

Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Creative Footprints contributed to the development of these codes. The draft codes have been tested at ongoing station redevelopment projects in Chandigarh, Nagpur, Gwalior, Amritsar and Bijwasan and Anand Vihar.


Guidebook for Operationalizing the National Transit Oriented Development Policy for Station Redevelopment
Manual of Form Based Codes for Station Redevelopment
Guidebook of Form Based Codes
Manual for Building Plan Approval of Commercial Assets
Handbook for Architectural Design of Commercial Assets
Environment Management Guidelines for Station Redevelopment
Working Policy for Railway Heritage Assets
Guidebook for Conservation of Railway Heritage Assets
Appendices and Annexures – Guidebook for Conservation of Railway Heritage Assets
Background Studies for Working Policy and Guidebook