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Future of mobility about striving towards environment-friendly, automated and personalised travel on demand: Puri

The Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) Bhubaneswar and Agartala Smart City Limited (ASCL), Tripura win UMI 2020 Conference Award for Innovations in Urban Transport during COVID-19 at the 13th Urban Mobility India Conference
Nov 9, 2020 / 06:03 PM IST

Observing that COVID-19 has disrupted normal everyday life, housing and urban development minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the future of mobility is about striving towards environment-friendly, integrated, automated and personalised travel on demand.

“Future mobility is about striving towards environment-friendly, integrated, automated and personalized travel on-demand. New advancements like intelligent transportation systems, and traffic management applications are in the pipeline for enhanced mobility in major cities,” the minister said at the 13th Urban Mobility India Conference held online on the theme 'Emerging Trends in Urban Mobility’.

The minister said that in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, India is likely to experience a behavioural change in urban mobility. This crisis also presents an opportunity to guide the recovery of urban transport towards long-term development goals.

India is witnessing the arrival of a new generation of mobility discourses, which are nuanced enough to provide sustainable urban mobility. The ministry has issued a detailed advisory, as to how the nation needs to move ahead in these testing times. It rests on three key pillars, namely, promotion of public transport system, leveraging technological advancements and penetration of NMT systems in the urban transport paradigm, he said.

Urban centres, which were amidst the mobility renaissance, came to a halt, disrupting normal everyday life, commuting and leisure trips for many millions of people across the globe. Thus, it is one area that calls for a critical re-assessment as to how we can shift to more sustainable and efficient mobility, he said.

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Public transport systems around the world have seen ridership and revenue plummet, owing to the lockdowns and have been forced to cut services. Countries around the world have been grappling on ways to mitigate the adverse impact on the economy while simultaneously safeguarding lives from the deadly virus, the minister said.

He said that rail-based urban transport systems are emerging as key solutions to fulfill demand for urban transportation in India.

To streamline the proliferation of metro rail systems in India, the ministry has envisaged the Metro Rail Policy-2017 that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.

“The policy entails a higher than before mandate of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), in terms of funding obligations,” he said.

With about 700 km of operational network and another 900 km in pipeline in 27 cities, the ministry endeavours to connect 50 cities and towns by 2024 with metro network. The policy also envisages other systems such as Metro Lite and Metro Neo, which are envisaged to fulfill the aspirations of smaller towns and cities to have a modern, yet affordable public transport system, the minister said.

Various studies show that about 16-57 percent of urban commuters are pedestrian and about 30-40 percent of commuters use bicycles in the country depending on the size of the city.

“Considering this as an opportunity, elevating the priority of these modes gives travelers another private vehicle alternative, which is clean, safe, secured particularly if it is integrated with other modes and affordable for all. Non-motorised transport will occupy the prime, non-negotiable, position in every form of urban mobility discourse and intervention,” he said.

UMI 2020 Conference Award for Innovations in Urban Transport were also announced at the 13th Urban Mobility India conference held in the capital.

The Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) Bhubaneswar won the Award along with Agartala Smart City Limited (ASCL), Tripura.

CRUT addressed their social responsibility during the pandemic by bringing facilities at the doorstep by converting neighborhood bus stops into vegetable vending zones and providing “Grocery on Wheels”. With the development of mobile Apps like MoBus-MoStory and Games of MoBus, secretary, ministry of housing and urban affairs Durga Shanker Mishra told reporters.

They also brought about the shift to digital payments by using Mo Card for cashless and contactless ticketing, he said.

In order to prioritize pedestrianization and cycling during the pandemic, Agartala constructed and initiated 5 km pedestrian walkway. It promoted cycling through a mega cycle rally, along an identified 5km pilot stretch. The city introduced innovative analytics for identifying traffic violations by deploying Adaptive Traffic Control System and CCTV Surveillance System across the city, the secretary said.

The Award of Commendable Initiative during the pandemic was awarded to Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Haryana; Department of Transport, Government of Bihar; Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Gujarat; Surat Municipal Corporation, Gujarat and Ernakulam Jilla Autorickshaw Drivers Cooperative Society, Kochi.
Vandana Ramnani

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