An Infographic Blog
Designed by Aishwarya Soni
Conceptualised by Bala Nagendran and Aishwarya Soni
An Infographic Blog
Designed by Aishwarya Soni
Conceptualised by Bala Nagendran and Aishwarya Soni
Pune is leading the country in creating a city that is inclusive of the needs of infants, toddlers and their caregivers. The ITDP India Programme, with the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), initiated work on a programme with the Pune Municipal Corporation that aims at ‘Transforming Urban Mobility to Nurture Early Childhood Development in India’. The initiative was launched by the Additional Municipal Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation on the 9th of December 2019.
“Are our cities designed for children?”
This is an easy question to answer. Streets are designed as corridors for motor vehicles and very rarely even have safe walking space for adults, let alone children. People have to compete with cars and two-wheelers for space to move through the cities. Very little infrastructure is designed keeping in mind the needs of young children.
Designing for children with their limited range of travel and slower pace, can simultaneously address the needs of other vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled. Then, should we not be prioritising the needs of the youngest among us while building our cities, ensuring that children can travel around our cities freely, safely, and without fear?
This brings us to another important question, “How can our cities be designed for children?”
A question that was on everybody’s minds at the launch of the initiative aimed at ‘Transforming Urban Mobility to Nurture Early Childhood Development in India’ under the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s (BvLF) global Urban95 initiative for children between the ages of 0-5 years and their caregivers. Launching the initiative in Pune on the 9th of December, Rubal Agarwal, Additional Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said, “Pune is a pioneering city in many ways and we welcome initiatives such as Urban95 to transform urban areas and make them children and caregivers-friendly. We are proud to launch the project in Pune in collaboration with ITDP and BvLF and look forward to participating in nurturing early childhood development.”
Speaking at the launch, Shreya Gadepalli, South Asia Programme Lead, ITDP, presented the vision for the city and the initiative, “In India and across many fast-developing countries, the ever-increasing investments are not focused enough on incorporating the needs of infants, toddlers, and caregivers. Under this programme and with BvLF’s support, we hope that cities like Pune become lighthouses for other cities in Maharashtra and the country to incorporate the needs of young children and families in their mobility policies, plans, and projects.”
The event was also attended by government officials from the Roads and Family Planning Departments. Representatives from local organisations such as MASHAL, Centre for Environment Education, Parisar, Prasanna Desai Architects, and Shelter Associates suggested various ways for Pune to become a child-friendly city. The discussion brought up many important factors and considerations for the initiative to focus on.
The presentation session was followed by a panel discussion with Shreya Gadepalli, Rushda Majeed – Country Representative for India BvLF, Cecilia Vaca Jones – Progamme Director BvLF, Dinkar Gojare- Executive Engineer, PMC Roads Department, and Milind Khedkar- Medical Officer, PMC Family Planning Department, and moderated by Aswathy Dilip, Senior Programme Manager, ITDP India Programme.
The panelists and members of the audience had an active discussion that brought up many important factors and considerations for the initiative to focus on. The panellists emphasised the need for all developments to be done with a holistic and integrated approach. Policies and guidelines are necessary, but it is also the responsibility of citizens to participate in the process, demand, and ensure the maintenance of facilities used by the children. Members of the audience also highlighted the importance of scaling up the initiatives to the city level through quick steps like Tactical Urbanism interventions.
Speaking about the factors to ensure scaling up of the initiative, Cecilia said, “It is vital to have continuous documentation of what is working and what is not, and a good communication strategy to scale up the work at the state and national level. Understanding the financing of such initiatives is also very important for a long term engagement.”
Speaking about the importance of safe and high quality urban mobility to ensure the wellbeing of children and their caregivers, Rushda Majeed said, “Babies and toddlers are dependent on their primary caregiver, be it mothers, fathers, elder siblings or grandparents, to get around. If walking conditions and public transport are poor, they are less likely to be able to go out with their parents and grandparents, have uncomfortable or long commutes, be exposed to unsafe environments, and have limited options for physical activities.”
Mobility policies that focus on ITC would equip decision makers to invest in sustainable mobility – walking, cycling, and public transport – with specific interventions and improvements dedicated for early childhood development to increase safety, convenience, and vibrancy of public spaces, and improve access to childhood services such as health care, education, and play.
With several developments to make the city more inclusive, Pune is already on its way to becoming a “City for all”. Highlighting the work done in Pune, Dinkar Gojare said, “The PMC has already adopted the Urban Street Design Guidelines, a “Pedestrian First” policy, and implemented several road safety improvement projects. 100 km of street redesign is already on its way. A Children’s traffic Club has been initiated, along with other place making projects. Open spaces are available but they are misused. We should begin with freeing up about 25% of them for projects that ensure early childhood development.”
The programme that is now set in motion will build on this work and see Pune transform itself into India’s first safe and accessible city for infants, toddlers and their caregivers and a model for other cities to emulate. The ITDP India team and BvLF will support PMC to make this dream a reality.
With a clear vision and people’s support, Pune is building a future where cities are designed for children. After all, a city for children is a city for all!
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
An Infographic Blog
Conceptualised and Designed by Kawin Kumaran
Content created by Nashwa Naushad, AV Venugopal
Photographs by TD Achuthan
The Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza, one of Greater Chennai Corporation’s most anticipated projects, was launched with much pomp and show on the 13th November, 2019, by the Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami. Spanning over 700m on Sir Thyagaraya Road, the plaza has successfully transformed one of Chennai’s busiest and car-centric shopping streets into a pedestrian promenade by prioritising people over vehicles, and opening up new ways of experiencing the space. With wide and safe pedestrian walkways on both sides, ample shaded seating, beautiful landscape, and colourful play elements, the plaza was designed as a space accessible for all, including women, children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
A couple with a stroller walks past the parade of shops, the infant’s eyes light up at the brilliant display of wares. A group of young women store-hop, hands full with bulging shopping bags bursting at their seams, but they still want to shop more. An elderly man on a wheelchair swiftly moves through the teeming crowd, pausing at places to enjoy the sights and sounds of the promenade. Musicians take over the streets as people walking by stop to listen, curious and pleasantly surprised. Two generations of family converse over fresh filter coffee, while the third-and the youngest- runs around and plays on the see-saw by the footpath.
Vibrant, attractive, lively, with spaces to walk, run, play, socialize, sit, linger and observe.
A street full of people. A street for people.
This is the New Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza!
The Pedestrian Plaza project was conceived with the intent of enhancing the unique shopping experience that Pondy Bazaar offers, by reclaiming public space for the shoppers. For the first time, Chennai is looking at a street as not just a mobility corridor, but as a social, public space for everyone, be it families, children, and the elderly.
An open-air mall in the heart of the city!
With the success of the pedestrian plaza, the city now plans to scale up the work by redesigning and developing streets in Chennai to be future-ready and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) friendly incorporating various aspects of mobility, utility and livability.
The first phase of the Mega Streets project envisions the creation of a network plan and redesign of over 110 km of streets spread across six different neighbourhoods. The network plan will prioritise shaping spaces accommodating the needs of all road users.
With more neighbourhoods set to see a similar transformation, Chennai is surely moving towards better and livelier streets for all!
Written by Aishwarya Soni
Sketch by AV Venugopal
Videos created by Aishwarya Soni, Kawin Kumaran.
Photographs by TD Achuthan, Santhosh Loganaathan
Edited by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Check out our previous blog on how the Pedestrian Plaza reclaims the street for pedestrians and shoppers.
Chennai passed the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) Act in 2010 and the Government of Tamil Nadu greenlit its operations earlier this year. Cities like London and Singapore with highly sophisticated city-wide transportation systems today, were in a similar condition to Chennai when they developed their own transportation authorities. As Chennai looks at creating CUMTA, there are many lessons that can be learnt by looking at the challenges cities like London and Singapore faced and how they moved ahead to where they are now.
“Has your daily commute in Chennai changed in the last ten years?”
Most people asked this question today would feel it has changed, but can we say it has changed for the better? Chennai spends more time now being stuck in traffic than a decade ago. Public transportation can be uncomfortable and irregular. Last-mile connectivity options are few, expensive, and often frustrating for most modes of public transportation in the city, including the metro. There is also the problem of the paucity of information. At a time when most of us have smartphones and data plans make it possible for us to live stream a cricket match on them, we still lack real-time information on when the next bus or train on a particular route might arrive. Why is this so? How can we start to address these problems?
Technology in Transportation
There are several steps that can help overcome this: accurate live route information for public transportation, a common electronic payment mechanism, and the creation of fare zones- a section of travel within which a set fare is charged. These are neither unreasonable nor unique demands. In Singapore, for example, the smartphone application for live route information also indicates the availability of seats on a bus. London, meanwhile, is moving towards contactless payments. Imagine being able to pay through your debit card or smart watch on the bus or metro or train instead of using different payment cards on each public transport mode.
How have these cities been able to do it all? What can Chennai and other Indian cities learn in order to make these necessary technological interventions and create a world class public transportation system?
One City, One Transport Authority
Central to addressing these issues is understanding the importance and role of a single city-level institution dedicated to the governance of various public transport systems in the city. Chennai today has 10 different agencies running public transportation: one each for the bus system, the suburban rail and metro rail. In addition, there are different agencies in charge of roads, enforcement, etc. One of the key challenges is the lack of coordination between the various departments. Several government agencies are responsible for individual aspects of transportation and there needs to be effective coordination between them for smooth progress to avoid delays and inefficiencies. This can be facilitated by creating a single agency to bring the different departments together. In creating such an agency we can look to different cities which have tried and achieved this. Consider the example of London, the default case study for efficient urban transportation today.
London’s transportation landscape was as fragmented as Chennai’s today. London faced similar challenges, and different companies were responsible for operating the public bus, underground train and tram services. Further complications arose due to the existence of several train and tram companies in London.
In 2000, London created Transport for London(TfL) to bring them all together. TfL is responsible for the day-to-day operation of all public transport networks in London and the city’s main roads. The public transportation system of London was completely transformed by working under one institution, resulting in the integration of these different modes and their access through one common mobility card called Oyster. TfL’s Open Data policy has also enabled software developers to create apps that people of London can use to access real-time information for public transportation and plan their journey.
London is not the only city with a common authority for urban transportation though. Many cities around the world – including Singapore, New York, Lagos – have one. Many Indian cities, including Chennai and Bangalore are now considering a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA).
CUMTA moves ahead
First described in India’s National Urban Transport Policy, 2006, the Government of India recommended an UMTA be set up in all million-plus cities for “coordinated planning and implementation of urban transport programs and projects and an integrated management of urban transport systems”
Finding merit in the concept, Chennai passed the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) Act in 2010. The strength of CUMTA will lie in its ability to bring together the multiple agencies that are represented on its board. As a coordinating body, it can help institute integrated transport planning and decision making for Chennai as a whole. CUMTA can help give direction to the individual agencies and to the government’s overall transport strategy.
Earlier this year, CUMTA’s operations were greenlit by the Government of Tamil Nadu. As the institution comes into service, Chennai has the opportunity to radically transform its public transportation infrastructure. Learning from cities like London and Singapore which have overcome their fragmented systems to become leaders in the field of urban transportation will benefit both CUMTA and Chennai greatly.
Written by Varun Sridhar
Edited by Keshav Suryanarayanan, AV Venugopal
Upcoming: Part 2 of the CUMTA series
ITDP spoke to Mr. Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer and Director of Customer Experiences at Transport for London, about CUMTA’s role in defining the future of mobility in Chennai. Watch out for our next blog that will describe Mr.Verma’s inputs and recommendations/directions for the city and the institution.
An Infographic Blog
Conceptualised and Designed by Kawin Kumaran, Aishwarya Soni
Content created by Nashwa Naushad, AV Venugopal
Photographs by TD Achuthan
The first two days of September saw two big changes to make India’s streets safer, freer and less congested. The new Motor Vehicles rules came into force on the first of September, attempting the impossible, controlling the behaviour of Indian motorists on the streets. Through heavier penalties, the rules seek to reduce violations. On September 2, the Supreme Court released a judgment on the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019, under the umbrella of the MC Mehta case. This judgment can be seen as a landmark not just for improving parking management in our cities, but also for other steps towards reclaiming spaces for pedestrians.
Our cities are known for their chaotic streets. Pedestrians and cyclists competing with other vehicles for space on the streets is a common sight. This is further exacerbated by the ever increasing need for parking space for all these vehicles, mostly on the street or on footpaths, blocking the movement of traffic and pedestrians. The Supreme Court judgment begins with an admonishment of the state for its failure to provide adequate public transport, and mismanaging the consequences of that failure, the increasing number of private vehicles that have taken over our streets.
The judgment has taken some progressive first steps, emphasising some important aspects such as the need for footpaths in all residential areas to be cleared of encroachments to make it usable for pedestrians, and the significance of modern technology in ensuring efficient utilisation of parking spaces. It also raises the possibility of charging people for parking, though leaving that decision to the state.
However, there are some aspects of the judgment that need more scrutiny. The judgment also called on city planners and architects to provide adequate off-street parking at major demand hubs – commercial and institutional areas, transportation hubs, etc – accommodating the potential demand for the next 25 years. The order touches multiple times on creating off street parking spaces to cater to parking demand. This can be effective only post an effective on street demand based priced PM system.
Multilevel car parking (MLCP) complexes are one such solution to provide off-street parking. It is a popular myth that high parking demand can be addressed by building MLCP complexes. However, examples from India and around the world clearly indicate that it is a short-sighted attempt. In India, these MLCPs are built at great public cost and remain underutilised and vacant in many cases. Most often, the high demand is an apparent local demand, centred around one or two streets with higher levels of activity (commercial for example), while the other streets in the neighbourhood are relatively free of vehicular parking. This demand could be eased by zone-based on-street parking management, so that parking supply is distributed evenly across different streets in the neighbourhood. Hence, detailed studies are required before proposing new MLCPs.
Another way to provide off-street parking are requirements that already exist in the Development Control Regulations(DCR) set by local development authorities, but are not adhered to in many cases. That might not be such a bad thing.
These requirements are referred to as parking minimums. They are laws that require property developers to include a fixed number of off-street parking spaces according to the size of a building. The reasoning for this is that without enough off-street parking, efficient traffic flow can be compromised due to vehicles cruising for parking or parking on the street. These parking minimums can be extremely problematic in practice.
The hidden costs of parking
Global experts on parking such as Donald Shoup and Paul Barter point out that providing for parking minimums has a cost. By forcing developers to build huge amounts of parking, these rules increase traffic and harm the environment by encouraging more people to drive. They also lead to inefficient land use. Planners and architects tend to overestimate the demand, providing more off-street parking than necessary, leading to wastage of space. The increased cost of development are then passed on to buyers, even those who may not own vehicles.
At the same time, there is a reluctance to engage with managing on-street parking demand. This leads to a situation where we see the extremes of large, empty parking lots and streets choked with parked vehicles. As a society, we should think about the sense in using up valuable space to prioritise private vehicle parking demand for the next twenty-five years.
Cities around the world have moved away from the concept of parking minimums, realising that they result in a wastage of both public and private land and investments. Mexico City has now converted their parking minimums into a parking maximum. This would change the high levels of mandated parking into the maximum allowed amount of parking, allowing developers to provide lower amounts of parking. Parking maximums are more effective because they ensure that excessive parking is not created based on norms, and developers can choose to provide less parking according to market demand. Any parking above 50 percent of the maximum would be charged and the revenues from this fee would be used to improve public transport and subsidise housing.
Across our cities, free parking is viewed as a right by motorists, leading to a reluctance by city authorities and private developers to charge the full cost of parking onto motorists. It is strange that most people are outraged at having to pay for parking, while showing no surprise on hearing the cost of property in commercial and residential areas. Why should the cost of land for parking not be the same as commercial or residential rental value in a locality? Charging people for parking would discourage personal motor vehicle use, shift to alternative modes and ensure that they pay for the valuable public space they use up for parking.
As the judgment rightly observed, a primary cause for our current situation has been the failure of our governments to provide adequate good quality public transport. While enforcing the new Motor Vehicles act and creating efficient parking management systems are much needed steps, they will fail to achieve their goals without the support of an efficient public transportation system and last mile connectivity.
The judgment is a great start to a national level discussion on parking. Delhi has notified the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019 which aims to dramatically change parking in Delhi. The policy contains provisions to formulate hundreds of area-specific parking plans which will be developed in an exhaustive exercise over the next four months. Bengaluru and Hyderabad have also attempted to implement parking policies. Cities like Shimla and Gangtok have already created and approved city-wide parking policies. Chennai is also on the way to implementing a parking management system across the city.
Efficient parking management can be an effective way to ensure better streets and cities. Removing parking minimums and charging people for parking are important and necessary steps that can help cities to effectively manage the demand for parking. The judgment is a good starting point and Indian cities have already started taking the first steps towards this future.
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Technical Direction: Vishnu Mohanakumar, AV Venugopal, Aswathy Dilip
An Infographic Blog
Designed by Aishwarya Soni
Conceptualised by A V Venugopal, Santhosh Loganaathan and Aishwarya Soni
To know more about the best practice standards for designing intersections and complete streets, check out our Complete Streets Design Workbook, Volume 4 of a 7-volume toolkit prepared by ITDP India Programme.
One week. One week is all it took for Ranchi to see a huge change on M.G.Road, one of its busiest streets. The efforts of the Ranchi Municipal Corporation(RMC), the Ranchi Traffic Police(RTP), and ITDP India Programme brought about an incredible transformation almost overnight by a quick tactical urbanism intervention. Using simple temporary measures like paint and traffic barricades, the street space was redesigned to create colourful, dedicated walking paths for pedestrians. This simple first step has created a cascade of promising changes – a first in the state of Jharkhand.
M.G.Road, leading to the Albert Ekka Chowk is one of the busiest streets of Ranchi. Imagine a street filled with cars and two wheelers. Parked two wheelers lining both sides. E-rickshaws stopping throughout the stretch to pick up and drop off people. The shopfronts overflowing onto what’s left of the street. Somewhere in the middle of all this, despite little to no footpaths, every hour more than four thousand pedestrians try to navigate through this chaos safely. This was M.G.Road until very recently. So, what changed ?
In early August, Manoj Kumar, the Ranchi Municipal Commissioner and Sanjeev Vijaywargiya, the Deputy Mayor came together with the ITDP India Programme to identify solutions to tackle traffic congestion and lack of pedestrian space on M.G.Road. They showed great enthusiasm for a tactical urbanism intervention – a low cost, temporary change with barricades and paints to improve walking conditions on M.G.Road. The transformation aimed at creating wide dedicated walking paths on the street, clearly demarcated and painted with colourful patterns with the participation of pedestrians, in order to create a sense of public ownership of the streets. The result of this intervention would help raise awareness and a public demand for a permanent intervention. This would be the first trial of its kind for Ranchi and the entire state.
Once approved, the project moved forward rapidly with the support of the RMC and the RTP. At astonishing speed, within the next two days, all stakeholders were brought on board, a detailed study was conducted, and the designs were created. On the stretch between Sarjana Chowk and Albert Ekka Chowk, a 6 metre wide walking space was demarcated on both sides. The RMC and the RTP worked together to clear the area of all parked vehicles and mark the designated areas with barricades for a two day trial run before the final tactical urbanism intervention.
From black and white to a dash of paint
The night before the inauguration, the street saw a lot of activity. Members from the RMC, RTP, and the ITDP India Programme worked with a team of painters to transform the demarcated walking area into a colourful and vibrant space. Slowly, images of white paint started to take shape on the black footpath. Outlines of children playing, a child flying a kite, and imprints of bare feet started to add life to the space. Meandering paths of paint led the way through a field of shapes of varying sizes, of bubbles and butterflies, stars and sunflowers. Hopscotch tiles for children to play, and circles to jump around. Next came the splashes of bright pink, yellow, green and blue to fill in these shapes.
Despite some rain during the painting, the teams worked on tirelessly through the night, just stopping once in a while for a cup of hot chai to warm themselves. Even late into the night, journalists and other passers-by stopped alongside the chowk, their curiosity piqued by the hustle and bustle, to find out what was happening. As a result, the project received widespread media attention, bringing many people to the chowk the next day to see the results of the nightlong efforts.
Within a few hours of hard work, the space was transformed completely. Visitors to the street in the morning were pleasantly surprised to see the results. The Deputy Mayor, the Municipal Commissioner joined a team of volunteers from the Rotaract Club of Ranchi and other institutions along with passers-by to finish painting the walking path.
The trial was a big success with the pedestrians and cyclists on the street who responded to feedback surveys with great eagerness, expressing that they felt safer and more comfortable with the new space and expressed their support for the project asking for it to be made permanent throughout M G Road.
Ranchi has already started moving in the right direction with several positive changes as a result of this intervention. The intervention has convinced the officials to replicate this approach in other parts of the city as well. The RMC has started planning a complete redesign of M.G.Road with permanent footpaths as a pilot project for the entire city. In preparation, RMC has already issued a call for bids to repair all the drainage systems along M.G.Road.
The RTP has also decided to take progressive steps to implement smart parking management on M.G.Road. Another major development is the decision of the RMC to start running city buses on the main road from early September. The department will begin working on a detailed bus operations plan for this stretch along with new infrastructure for buses.
The quick tactical urbanism intervention that happened over one week has acted as a catalyst for all these changes. These quick, low-cost and scalable initiatives can lead to a process of creating wide reaching changes across the city. This can create a city wide network of streets that enable safe walking and better transit for all.
Ranchi is already on its way!
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Edited by Kashmira Dubash
A case for improving Delhi’s last-mile connectivity
Delhi—yeh sheher nahi, mehfil hai— a nostalgia bestowed upon Delhiites, from savouring the aromas of gully food, to being enchanted by the mehfil on old streets, and sometimes combined with a feeling of impending chaos. What happens when this chaos threatens the very existence of Delhi’s mehfil? Are we ready for ‘yeh Delhi sheher nahi, parking garage hai’?
As difficult it may be to let go of the age-old nostalgia of streets imagined as mehfils (gathering spaces for sharing poetry or classical music), the reality is that Delhi is clogged with cars! This is despite the city operating India’s “best-run mass rapid transit system” – the Delhi Metro. It’s vast network of over 340 kms helps 26 lakh people commute every day in the National Capital Region (NCR). While the system is classified as one of the largest in the world, it caters to less than 10 percent of NCR. Personal motor vehicles continue to rule the roost.
On the other hand, Delhi’s bus system is completely omitted from the public transport equation. Based on the existing demand and the burgeoning population, Delhi is short of over 6,000 buses – which means, Delhi needs to double its existing fleet strength. Efforts to bridge the gap in the supply of buses is the need of the hour. Lack of efficient public transport systems and the absence of last-mile connectivity has fuelled the insatious demand for personal motor vehicles. Let us now look at the issue of ‘last-mile’ connectivity.
Last-mile connectivity—how people actually get to and from the stations, particularly the Metro—has been a matter of concern among Delhi commuters. Issues surrounding the safety, convenience, and comfort to reach a station from a workplace or home, and vice-versa, has been the talk of the town for a few years now, yet neglected.
Privately run CNG autos, e-rickshaws, Gramin Sewa, and the Phat Phat Sewa have stepped in to provide last-mile connectivity, in the interim. While these systems have the stamp of legality by the State government and have managed to satisfy a portion of the mobility demand, they are largely unorganised and unregulated. The debate of whether they are a resource or a nuisance, continues.
Delhi is reported to have one lakh e-rickshaws, of which a mere 35,000 are registered, and over a lakh CNG autos. Filling the last-mile connectivity gap comes at a cost of traffic snarls and safety concerns among its citizens. Areas around metro stations have become the new choke points given the lack of integration with formal public transport, haphazard parking on main roads, and an overall lack of traffic and parking management.
It may be time for Delhi to shift focus from its archaic approach to connect the dots of its public transit system – bring home the mini-bus. When it comes to bus-based transit, let’s face it, this underdog of transit is by far one of the most efficient, affordable, and convenient modes of transport. Just one mini-bus can replace five rickshaws, or in other words, the bus can move more people in fewer vehicles in a compact amount of road space.
The mini-bus can provide the best option to improve last-mile connectivity. With better technology, services, and integration with the metro, the bus can unclog streets in Delhi, especially those around metro stations. So what does that mean for rickshaw drivers – are their livelihoods at risk? A successful transition should ensure that rickshaw drivers are formally employed into the system.
For Delhi to transition towards a people-friendly city rather than a personal motor vehicle garage, it needs to improve accessibility, affordability, and frequency of public transit as well. Cities like Pune have taken the initial steps of assessing public transit system gaps through the People Near Transit (PNT) tool, prepared with technical assistance from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) India programme. Pune has endorsed the PNT tool to further improve its public transit reach to reduce dependency on personal motor vehicles – a similar issue that Delhi has been tackling for over a decade. Delhi can use the PNT tool to reshape its public transport to serve maximum and pollute minimum.
For far too long, cities have ignored what is arguably the most affordable and flexible public transit option, the humble mini-bus. In the name of last-mile connectivity, rickshaws have filled the gap and where unavailable, cars have taken over. In the case of Delhi, where the city can no longer afford to squeeze more cars onto its roads, the bus can provide mobility to the maximum number of people in a compact amount of road space. Delhi should champion a publicly-run mini-bus system to solve its last-mile connectivity woe; after all, a successful bus-system has never failed to move a city.
Written by Kashmira Dubash
Technical Direction: Vishnu Mohanakumar