We live in a world where our surrounding landscapes are rapidly changing. Cities are changing, new towns bubble up, and so are economic priorities and policies of the society. Mobility emerged as a critical priority in the last century, but now in our times, the need for transportation has reached a climacteric phase, where its ends and meets are put to question. Without reliable mobility, cities become fragmented, people get struck in their lives, and economies take a beating, while the existing mobility systems themselves bray without sustainability. Hence the call for sustainable mobility solutions, especially in urban context with huge infl ux of population, that are inclusive to masses, cleaner to environment, and can last long.
To catch up on emerging trends and developments in sustainable urban mobility and find out where the bus transportati on positi on itself in that domain, MOTORINDIA sat down with UITP India Office’s head Mr. Jaspal Singh to get his perspectives on the same. UITP is internationally recognised for its work in advancing the sustainable urban mobility as a critical policy agenda. It is, perhaps, the only worldwide network to bring together all public transport stakeholders and sustainable transport modes, with an agenda of enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being of the masses by promoting sustainable public transport. Following are the excerpts from the interacti on:
Briefly share your views on sustainable mobility in India?
Rapid urbanisaion and economic growth are fueling the growth in Indian cities. The infrastructure is not sufficient to meet the rising demand, resulting in stress on the basic utilities like water, electricity, sewage, and transport. The increasing demand in the cities will lead to catastrophic outcome in next 5-10 years. It is estimated that 60 per cent of India will be living in urban areas by 2050. Our Urban transportation infrastructure needs signifi cant investments and upgradation to meet the travel needs of the increasing urban population. A report by Boston Consulting Group shows that traffi c jams in four major Indian cities (New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata) cause annual economic losses of 1.47 trillion Indian rupees ($21.81 billion). Traffic congestion is also a huge obstacle to India’s industrial transformation and economic development. Government of India needs to rethink its strategy of blindly promoting automobile sector and should shift focus towards sustainable mobility in the country. The mobility of people and goods is very important for the economic growth of the country.
How far do you think bus transportation can help achieve the vision of sustainable mobility in the local context, especially with the surge in popularity of Metro rails?
Metro Rail is one of the most popular options for mass transport, it is important to highlight that the viability of metro projects depends on various parameters including correct strategic planning, i.e., its ridership estimation and corridor selection, technologies adopted, capacity utilization, operational planning and acceptance of the mode by the commuters. Most of our cities lack the ridership and funding capabilities for metro projects. Bus transport is the only viable solution in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Even in the mega cities having extensive rail network, there is need to stronger bus transport system. The buses are fl exible and cost effective solutions for the cities.
Read the full article: Decoding Public Transportation: In conversation with UITP India
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