When we talk about the smart mobility in sustainable cities, we cannot ignore the non-motorised transport. K K Joadder, Chief Town Planner, Town & Country Planning Organization, Ministry of Urban Development, and J.K. Kapoor Associate Town Planner, Town & Country Planning Organization Ministry of Urban Development talk about how we can retrofit the infrastructure for non motorised transport in cities.
In India, as per the 2011 census, only 12% of the urbanites owned car and in Delhi of course, 30% of the people have their own cars. However, when we look at our road space sharing, it appears almost all the road space is used by automobiles only and there is very little space or there is no infrastructure provided for non-motorised transport and pedestrians. This is true with small cities and towns as well. The entire road space is black top and is dedicated to the automobiles. Almost always pedestrians share the space with the traffic on the roads.
In Delhi, 73% walk, 35% take dedicated walk trips, and 38% use public transport; 35% delhities own cycles but the cycle trips have reduced to 4% because of poor NMT infrastructure and unsafe road conditions.
Sustainable transport relies on efficient use of resources. Walking and cycling are natural energy and resource efficient, and our National Urban Transport Policy 2006 recognizes non-motorized transport such as bicycle, cycle rickshaw and pedestrialisation as integral part of transport & mobility.
The National Mission for Sustainable Habitat on urban transport addresses the issue of mitigating climate change by taking appropriate action with respect to the transport sector. The initiative encourages integrated land use and transportation plans and the use of non-motorised transport. Indian Penal Code (sec 283), sec 34 of Delhi Police Act says we cannot obstruct public space. The Central Motor Vehicles rules (CMVR) 1989 Safety Rules provide passive protection for pedestrians, stating that motorists cannot enter pedestrian way and are liable to penalty. The National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009 give street vendors a legal status and aim at providing legitimate vending/ hawking zones in city/town master or development plans. Police Act provides for penalty for jaywalking. There is also Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 (Sec 44) recommends guidelines for the disabled persons.
IRC Guidelines for Pedestrian and Cycle track design provide basis standards for pedestrian and cycle oriented design. Recently, the Institute of Urban Transport brought out proposed design standards with special attention to the details required in infrastructure and its various design components.
UTTIPEC, DDA bought a set of 10 non-negotiable Street Design Components as well as additional guidelines for world class streets. There is a Supreme Court directive on increased use of Public Transport in Delhi and in May last year, Delhi High Court directives on lanes for NMV stated that “You have hundreds of areas where you can have pilot projects……. Road space is democratic everybody must have a share. If you can address BRT, you can take care of NMV also”.
The Master Plan of Delhi 2021 gives elaborate guideline
• All roads should be made pedestrian, disabled and bicycle friendly.
• Provision of adequate pedestrian facilities.
• Removal of encroachments from sidewalks.
• Provision for introducing cycle tracks, pedestrian and disabled friendly features in arterial and sub-arterial roads.
• In urban extension, cycle tracks should be provided at the sub-arterial and local level roads and streets.
• In specific areas, like the Walled City / Chandni Chowk / Sadar Bazar / Karol Bagh / Lajpat Nagar and Trans Yamuna Area, the use of cycles/rickshaw as a non-motorised mode of transport should be consciously planned along with pedestrianisation.