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CYCLING IS ROAD TO SUSTAINABLE COMMUTING


Rajendra Kumar Verma, Trustee, Urban Works Institute is a Transportation Planning expert and involved in training & capacity building with national/state level government officials, media, and civil societies. He is creating awareness about best practices in the field of Sustainable Urban Transportation and Development through organizing workshops/seminars on streets for all. Here is his exclusive interview withT.I.W on the role of cycle in urban transportation.

#1. What’s the public response on cycling?

Given the rising lifestyle diseases across the world, people are becoming health conscious and taking deliberate decisions to shift from bikes and cars to cycle to stay healthy and fit. In western world, students and professors in universities use cycle to commute to the institute in the campus. In India, though people are eager to shift towards cycling for commuting, the missing link of exclusive cycle tracks restricts faster adoption. However, we have seen ramping of cycle tracks during CWG, which are still completely used by cyclists.

#2. How is the importance of the mode of cycles as a transport in urban landscape?

Cycles are the safest and cleanest mode of transportation across the world. As we are witnessing the massive impact of climate change due to the significant rise in carbon footprint, it’s imperative for us to shift our mode of commuting to cycle.

#3. What’s the scope of cycle track in urban planning in India?

According to traffic survey, 15% of total commuting in many cities is covered by cycle, and even large metros like Delhi, it’s 10% because most of the urban poor travel to their workplace by cycle. So, it’s important for policy makers to create and provide large-scale safe cycling infrastructure, which is still missing in urban planning.

#4. What is the long-term impact of promoting cycle as a mode of transportation in urban areas?

Cycling can bring in massive opportunities for the government on economic front. Primarily, shifting to cycling will drastically reduce the consumption of fossil fuel, leading to significant reduction in imports while saving massive foreign exchange. Cycling can also play a catalytic role in achieving the sustainable developmental goals of United Nations and help control surging pollution level in cities.

#5. Explain the role of your organisation in India.

Urban Works Institute, a public charitable trust registered in India, is the network partner of ITDP that manages the ITDP India Program. The India Program works with cities to design and implement sustainable transport projects and provide policy solutions to enhance social inclusion, reduce dependency on limited resources, improve road safety, and reduce carbon emissions.

The ITDP India Program carries many success stories over their two decades of work in cities across India. This includes the major wins of BRT systems and street improvements in Ahmedabad and Pune. Today, the ITDP India Program continues to support BRT and bus improvement projects, advocate for complete streets as well as parking and policy reform, and assist cities in improving infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

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