The smart cities india foundation is a Bangalore based nonprofit organisation dedicated to advocacy and promoting smart solutions for sustainable cities. Founded just over a year ago, this group has exerted a quiet influence in reshaping the agenda for urban infrastructure renewal both in Bangalore and elsewhere in the country.
TrafficInfraTech’s Ravi Chandran, spoke to Dr A Ravindra Chairman, SCIF (Ex- Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka) about the foundations efforts in facilitating quality infrastructure and mobilizing resources. Varun John, Innovation Consultant , SCIF, also joined the conversation.
Is the Foundation primarily into advocacy or do you take up projects as well?
The Foundation works in broadly three areas – First, research, study and understanding of various aspects related to Smart Cites; Second, advocacy and promotion of Smart cities, mainly holding events and publishing articles; And third, we want to take up capacity building. Actually that is an important area, skill development and training of personnel in various aspects of Smart City infrastructure, including technology.
We talk of Bangalore becoming a Smart City. Is there any specific initiative by the Foundation to make Bangalore smart?
Actually, Bangalore has been a Smart City even otherwise for a long time, because of its technology base. Bangalore is considered to be one of the top technology hubs in the world. Bangalore is the latest entrant to the smart city list as the total list has now been expanded to 109 from the earlier 100.The smart cit6y proposal has been submitted to the centre.
The Foundation has already taken certain initiatives, mainly trying to spread awareness about the different facets of Smart Cities. Our first event discussed the formation of a Smart Capital for Karnataka, developed as a separate township within the Bangalore Metropolitan Region. The quality of living is also important; it’s not merely developing infrastructure. For example, introduction of a metro rail system should have an impact on factors like air quality, but this is not happening. Environmental pollution is increasing. So we had this discussion of having an administrative enclave in the outskirts, away from the technological and commercial hub of Bangalore city. This is something like how Gandhinagar was promoted as the capital of Gujarat away from Ahmadabad.
Any specific initiative in the area of Smart Mobility?
We held a workshop on Smart Mobility for Bangalore and had invited various stakeholders including BMTC and BMRCL. We also had participation from the private sector like Uber and other technology providers. There was a good interactive participation from the government, the private sector, the citizens and the educational institutions.
The recommendations made at the workshop were:
- Provide real-time information by releasing open data. Availability of public transit information would allow commuters plan the trip without depending on personal vehicles
- Integrate all modes of Transport (eg: Follow London Model)
- Promote innovation in the mobility segment by involving private sector
- Encourage shared last-mile connectivity by involving various stakeholders
You can increase mobility by building the metro or increasing the buses. But we also have to think of the needs of the pedestrians- walk able footpaths, convenient points for crossing roads etc. The real problem is last mile connectivity. After getting down from the metro station to reach your destination there is a distance of one or two km. Parking is another issue.
BMRCL has tied up with bike rental companies in solving commuters’ last mile connectivity woes.Metro stations like Byapannahalli have provided bike stands where one can collect a two wheeler for a nominal charge and drop it later. All one needs to provide is an ID card.
We plan to undertake a research study focusing on improving the last mile connectivity for commuters of Metro. The final report will present findings based on survey and provide recommendations on how to strengthen the last mile options for the commuters