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Improving Walkability in Indian cities

Improving Walkability in Indian cities

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Published by Vaishnavi Jayakumar
Improving Walkability in Indian cities

Have you ever wondered how the pedestrian infrastructure in Pune can be compared with those in Chennai or Hong Kong or for that matter what actions needs to be taken in Surat to improve walkability?

Such comparisons and proposed improvement measures, with some caveat, can be made by making some sample measurements across the cities using a standard methodology i.e. a “walkability index.” In simple terms, walkability can be used to describe and measure the connectivity and quality of walkways, footpaths, or sidewalks in cities. It can be measured through a comprehensive assessment of available infrastructure for pedestrians and studies linking demand for walking and supply of walking infrastructure.

With a support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, CAI-Asia center managed to conduct a walkability study in six Indian cities. The scope includes the following cities: three big cities namely Chennai, Pune, Bhubaneshwar and three smaller but growing cities, Surat, Rajkot and Indore. This study is a follow-up of CAI-Asia’s study “Walkability and Pedestrian Facilities in Asian Cities: State and Issues” with support from ADB and other partners.

Walkability photos can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cai-asia

Based on the findings of this study, a number of recommendations were identified involving various stakeholders who should play a role in developing policies, projects, and/or initiatives focused on improving walkability and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities. Through discussions with Shakti Foundation it was decided to focus on broader NMT as a way forward, and that an approach is needed that focuses at both the national and city levels.

The objective of the project under phase 2 is to improve the state of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities by policy, strategic documents and regulations along with dedicated projects through:

Policy Development - through the improvement and/or adoption of national/state/city policies and by obtaining commitments from two to three cities to improve walking and pedestrian facilities in the next couple of years that are concrete and visible to its residents and are considered as best practice examples for other Indian cities to follow, although the effort has been to obtain commitments from more than three cities
Development of Walkability Toolkit for Indian Cities – to facilitate policy and strategic development, a toolkit for states/cities to adopt in support of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities. The Toolkit has been developed and comments from various experts has been received, which is being incorporated and will be made available in the final report.
Advocacy and City Dialogues and City Implementations – sustained commitment from the cities involves active facilitated dialogues with and between government (state and city levels) and other stakeholders in actual programs, projects, and/or additional policies adopted by the cities. On this regard the cities have committed to improve pedestrian facilities.
The dialogue in Bhubaneswar held on 24 November 2011, saw an excellent turnout of top city officials, headed by the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Commissioner of the BDA, Joint Secretary H&UDD, Chief of the Town Planning Department, Highway Department and others. The walkability study was greatly appreciated and the city has committed itself to creating specialized zones for pedestrians and improving facilities.

In Chennai both the MD of the Chennai Metro Rail Corporation and the Secretary, Highway and Minor Ports were keen on improving walkability and wanted a training course to be conducted for officials and engineers of various departments on complete street designs.

In Hyderabad, a roundtable was held with the Hyderabad Municipal Commissioner and other city officials on 14 April, the Commissioner has requested for a capacity building program for the officials a
Improving Walkability in Indian cities

Have you ever wondered how the pedestrian infrastructure in Pune can be compared with those in Chennai or Hong Kong or for that matter what actions needs to be taken in Surat to improve walkability?

Such comparisons and proposed improvement measures, with some caveat, can be made by making some sample measurements across the cities using a standard methodology i.e. a “walkability index.” In simple terms, walkability can be used to describe and measure the connectivity and quality of walkways, footpaths, or sidewalks in cities. It can be measured through a comprehensive assessment of available infrastructure for pedestrians and studies linking demand for walking and supply of walking infrastructure.

With a support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, CAI-Asia center managed to conduct a walkability study in six Indian cities. The scope includes the following cities: three big cities namely Chennai, Pune, Bhubaneshwar and three smaller but growing cities, Surat, Rajkot and Indore. This study is a follow-up of CAI-Asia’s study “Walkability and Pedestrian Facilities in Asian Cities: State and Issues” with support from ADB and other partners.

Walkability photos can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cai-asia

Based on the findings of this study, a number of recommendations were identified involving various stakeholders who should play a role in developing policies, projects, and/or initiatives focused on improving walkability and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities. Through discussions with Shakti Foundation it was decided to focus on broader NMT as a way forward, and that an approach is needed that focuses at both the national and city levels.

The objective of the project under phase 2 is to improve the state of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities by policy, strategic documents and regulations along with dedicated projects through:

Policy Development - through the improvement and/or adoption of national/state/city policies and by obtaining commitments from two to three cities to improve walking and pedestrian facilities in the next couple of years that are concrete and visible to its residents and are considered as best practice examples for other Indian cities to follow, although the effort has been to obtain commitments from more than three cities
Development of Walkability Toolkit for Indian Cities – to facilitate policy and strategic development, a toolkit for states/cities to adopt in support of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities. The Toolkit has been developed and comments from various experts has been received, which is being incorporated and will be made available in the final report.
Advocacy and City Dialogues and City Implementations – sustained commitment from the cities involves active facilitated dialogues with and between government (state and city levels) and other stakeholders in actual programs, projects, and/or additional policies adopted by the cities. On this regard the cities have committed to improve pedestrian facilities.
The dialogue in Bhubaneswar held on 24 November 2011, saw an excellent turnout of top city officials, headed by the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Commissioner of the BDA, Joint Secretary H&UDD, Chief of the Town Planning Department, Highway Department and others. The walkability study was greatly appreciated and the city has committed itself to creating specialized zones for pedestrians and improving facilities.

In Chennai both the MD of the Chennai Metro Rail Corporation and the Secretary, Highway and Minor Ports were keen on improving walkability and wanted a training course to be conducted for officials and engineers of various departments on complete street designs.

In Hyderabad, a roundtable was held with the Hyderabad Municipal Commissioner and other city officials on 14 April, the Commissioner has requested for a capacity building program for the officials a

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Published by: Vaishnavi Jayakumar on Jan 16, 2013
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12/10/2013

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Pedestrian interviews were also conducted to capture the views and preferences of pedestrians. A short

questionnaire on social characteristics and walkability preferences was designed based on discussions

with experts and policymakers. The surveyors completed the questionnaire during the interviews and

used local language to improve respondents’ comprehension of the questions.

More than 1900 pedestrians were interviewed in the 6 cities. They were asked to rate the walkability of

a speci c area, to describe what makes a good pedestrian environment, as well as to identify speci c

improvements that they would want in their walking environments. The minimum sample size was 50

respondents per area, and the actual number of respondents was in uenced by resources available,

outdoor conditions and willingness of the people to be interviewed.

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