Monday , 6 July 2020

Smart City Experiences Challenges, Benefits and Future Settings

Dr Rajendra Jagtap, CEO of Pune Smart City Development Corp Ltd said that Pune implemented new initiatives in public transport even before it was designated as a Smart City. Roads are the most important factor in a city’s mobility; by choosing a set of Smart road design rules, Pune ensured that over 100 km of new roads built in the last 1.5 years followed certain norms and have certain parameters. New road design integrates facilities for pedestrians, as well as Metro stations.

Under the National Urban Renewal Mission, a 60km BRTS network has been put into place in Pune and the neighbouring areas of Pimpri- Chinchwad. This is being continuously expanded through municipal funds, with a target of reaching 112 km in the next five years. Instead of conventional diesel and CNG buses, Pune plans to introduce 500 new electric buses, with a tender for 150 buses already issued under the first phase. The city will also use an Individual Transport Management System to get real-time data on the positions of 2,000 buses, availability of drivers, and fuel consumption. A city app will provide commuters with the exact position of buses in their vicinity.

Roads are the most important factor in a city’s mobility.

Dr Rajendra Jagtap

Two Metro corridors are currently under construction in Pune, and a third has been sanctioned. For first and last mile connectivity, the city has signed MOUs with four companies to start the first street-level, dock-less public bicycle sharing system. 4500 bicycles will eventually be pressed into service, bridging short distances between Metro stations and homes/offices. Hop-on-hop-off e-autos have also been introduced as feeders for the BRTS and will eventually serve Metro stations.

Pune is also redesigning intersections and implementing adaptive traffic management to reduce stoppage time and ensure that the average speed – which has been declining – stabilises, or goes up. Cameras have been installed to monitor traffic. The Integrated Command and Control Centre receives real-time data from 160 locations, while public address systems at 136 spots can be used to better stream traffic. Additionally, 1400 span style=”color: #0000ff;”> surveillance cameras keep an eye on road safety, with 2,000 more in the pipeline. Mobile police vehicles also gather real-time information on traffic conditions.

Dr Jagtap said that Pune envisages a Universal Mobility Card that is common to all modes of transport and can integrate with other cities as well. “Where the police fall short, technology can make up for it”, he claimed. He also emphasized the importance of citizen engagement and studies that involve engineering colleges, of which Pune has several. Recently. The city authorities held a three-day meeting under the auspices of an urban mobility lab with experts from NITI Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute, along with all stakeholders, to get their inputs on urban mobility as well.

Venkata Chunduru, Director of IBI Group, who has 20 years of experience in transport planning said that urban mobility primarily has three key constituents i.e. the people/goods to be moved, the transport infrastructure, and the vehicles. However, the most important and neglected element is the fourth one i.e. institutional set-up which manages the environment in which the first three constituents operate. Institutional set-up is also responsible for the 3E’s – Engineering, Education and Enforcement. To have in place a sustainable i.e. efficient, economical and green mobility, the Institutions involved shall constantly and actively engage and respond to changing needs and environment.

He said that the mobility solutions in future shall be characterised by their environmental friendliness, citizen inclusiveness and data driven decision support systems. Above all, Alternate Mobility i.e. solutions that reduce the need for mobility shall also be given due importance.

Environment-friendly solutions shall be focusing on providing better alternatives for mobility of urban dwellers aimed at reducing the carbon footprint and noise pollution. Inclusiveness requires that suitable mobility solutions are made available for all segments of society i.e. different age groups children to aged, differently abled, different literacy levels, different genders, different economic segments etc., Data driven decision making shall include mobility solutions such as traveller information systems (Mobile App/web-portal) for pre-trip planning and en-route decisions, control centre and data analytics for decision making in incident management, enhancing safety and efficiency.

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