There’s no easy way to describe 2021. With the country reeling under the second wave of COVID-19, there was distress and grief all over India.
But shortly after that, vaccinations came in, and so did hope. Borders opened up, families reunited, friends got together, businesses restarted, people had smiles again, albeit under their masks. We have come out stronger, warmer, and more resilient than ever before.
Despite the roller-coaster year that 2021 was, we at ITDP India are proud of what we’ve been able to collectively achieve with the support of our partners.
Here’s a look back at our top 10 wins from 2021:
- 25 cities pioneer India’s Cycling Challenge: Turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in partnership with ITDP India, launched three national level Challenges—India Cycles4Change, Streets4People, and Transport4All. Over a 100 cities participated in Stage 1 of the Cycles4Change Challenge—cities tried bold temporary transformations including pilot cycle tracks and cycle repair clinics, and involved their citizens in elevating their efforts through surveys and feedback.
25 cities—India’s cycling pioneers—were shortlisted to move into Stage 2, of which 11 cities won the ‘Top Awardees’ and 4 cities received the ‘Jury Special Mention’. We are excited to start work with the cities for Stage 2 to make the pilot interventions permanent!
Do check out our exclusive publication—The Dawn of a Cycling Revolution—that covers EVERYTHING about Stage 1.
- 150 open street events pave the way to build healthy, happy streets through the Streets4People Challenge: …and nearly 1.5 lakh people attended these events!
Yes, you read that right. India witnessed more than 150 ‘open street’ events that brought together over 1.5 lakh people on the streets to enjoy their space without cars, through the Streets4People Challenge.
100 Indian cities took to the Challenge to reimagine streets as safe, happy, and healthy public spaces. Cities launched design competitions to crowdsource ideas and pilot the winning entries on ground. The impact echoed nation-wide with more partnerships being formed with architects and designers, civil society organisations, academic institutions, start-ups, and technical partners—making it one of India’s most collaborative Challenges.
Stage 1 concluded this year, with 30 cities being shortlisted to move into Stage 2. Winners of Stage 1 will be announced in January ’22. We can’t wait to see how these cities transform their streets into vibrant public spaces!
- In pursuit of inclusivity and equality, the Transport4All Challenge may be a game-changer: Cities thrive on the opportunity of work and play, and the options available to easily access them. To help make sense of urban life since the pandemic, India’s Transport4All Challenge will guide cities to test solutions, learn from them, and scale-up efforts to build people’s trust in public transport.
30 cities engaged with over 2 lakh citizens, 15,000 bus drivers and conductors, and 20,000 informal public transport drivers to understand their concerns at large, as part of Stage 1. Cities will use insights from these surveys to frame problem statements, and support startups to create solutions through digital innovation to improve public transport at large.
- Freedom2Walk&Cycle launched as part of Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’: Aligned with the India Cycles4Change and Streets4People Challenges, MoHUA in collaboration with ITDP India, launched the Freedom2Walk&Cycle Campaign to ensure health, safety and empowerment for all people, through walking and cycling. Over 100 Indian cities celebrated Freedom2Walk&Cycle and rolled out 220+ events. Nearly 850+ km of cycling initiatives and 150+ km of walking initiatives were launched. From conducting women-only-cycle rallies and cyclothons for children, to hosting street walks with the elderly, cities rolled out special events to ensure every single citizen was included and felt welcome.
- Pune inaugurates Pashan-Sus Road on its first Pedestrian Day: Pune inaugurated a 500m stretch of Pashan-Sus Road—which was tested as part of the Streets4People Challenge— with a new footpath, cycle track, seaters, open gym, skateboard plaza, and a play zone for kids. The Road was inaugurated on 11th December ’21, on the occasion of Pune Pedestrians’ Day—celebrated for the first time in India. Several local NGOs along with ITDP India supported the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in planning and executing India’s first Pedestrian Day. Pune observed this milestone day with several activities planned to spotlight pedestrian safety. One of the highlights: PMC closed off a stretch of its famous (and over crowded) shopping destination—Laxmi Road— to cars and bikes, and reclaimed the street for its pedestrians.
We hope that all cities in India and the world are inspired by Pune, and celebrate their pedestrians too, by creating walking infrastructure that is safe, comfortable and accessible for all.
- Pimpri Chinchwad adopts a progressive Non-Motorised transport Policy: After months of meetings, discussions, and inputs from officials, politicians, NGOs, and citizens, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) finally adopted the Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) Policy—a progressive policy that focuses on prioritizing walking and cycling.
Following the adoption, ITDP India along with the partners, organised a NMT capacity building workshop for over 400 PCMC Engineers, with experts presenting on various topics of street design.
- Getting the momentum started with ‘Quick win Streets’ in Chennai: Through the Mega Streets project (launched in 2020), the Greater Chennai Corporation has started work to transform 120km of streets in six distinct types of neighbourhoods. The project will ensure seamless mobility, enhanced livability & well-managed utilities in all arterial & sub-arterial streets of the neighbourhoods.
The Corporation will first begin revamping 25km of ‘Quick win streets’ in the six neighbourhoods, redesigned by urban designers from across the country. As technical advisors to the Corporation, ITDP India is excited to support in creating these neighbourhood into walking, cycling and shopping plazas.
- Chennai pilots the integration of electric micro-mobility with city buses: ITDP India collaborated with Greater Chennai Corporation, Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Transport Department, and Public Bicycle Sharing agency SmartBike, to integrate bikeshare stations with key bus terminals to achieve last-mile connectivity gains. The first pilot was done at the KK Nagar bus terminal in September ’21.
The bus terminal and e-bike integration pilot in Chennai paved the way for India’s first bicycle sharing station with electric charging points. Post a six-month trial run of ‘at-station charging’ at the KK Nagar terminal, the approach can be replicated at other stations throughout the city.
- Ranchi’s #ShanivarNoCar gets people walking and cycling: Leveraging the India Cycles4Change and Streets4People Challenges, Ranchi Municipal Corporation and Ranchi Smart City Corporation Limited in consultation with ITDP India, CSOs and citizen groups, launched the #ShanivarNoCar campaign—an appeal to the public to ditch the car every Saturday, and cycle or walk instead.
Please use cycles— whenever and wherever possible—to make a greener Ranchi.
–Sri Hemant Soren, Jharkhand’s Chief Minister
- ITDP India hosts 18 workshops and produces 120+ guidance documents for the three national Challenges: As the knowledge partners, ITDP India conducted capacity-building workshops & provided technical and communication expertise through guidance documents, templates for outreach, and case studies. Check out the vast library of resources for India Cycles4Change, Streets4People & Transport4All Challenge on their websites.
We take this moment to acknowledge the contributions of our many partners, who make our work and wins possible. Our deepest gratitude to our funders for supporting our work. Our heartfelt thanks to the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and Government officials—at the national, state, and city levels—for collaborating with us to create a walking, cycling, and public transport transformation in India. We’d also like to thank the transport community—NGOs, consultants, mobility experts, academic institutes, CSOs, and individuals—who care about our cities and make things happen on-ground. We do what we do because of their never-ending support!
Our list of thanks is incomplete without a special shoutout to the team at ITDP India— both present & past—who bring their passion to work every day, to create healthy streets, healthy cities, and happy lives.
Here’s bidding adieu to 2021. We can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for us!
Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy New Year.
By Aishwarya Soni & Kashmira Dubash