Thursday, July 23, 2009

" Meet Kochi, metropolis and commercial hub, cultural melting-pot of Kerala and the belly of all that is the best of Southern India!

Meet the Kochiete. Accelerated Progress is what they live by. Change is their nature and Challenge is in their blood.

Watch Kochi come together for a reason! She will run for what she believes are her rights! For better infrastructure, better participation, better governance, for a better tomorrow!

Kochi today. The World tomorrow!

Are you a Kochiete?

Are you up for the dare?

Are you ready to ‘Run. Challenge. Change?’"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kochi Marathon 2010

The Kochi Marathon 2010, slotted for the 10th of January 2010, is a long-distance foot race which aims the participation of the Kochiites for the welfare of the city. It is a platform for all the citizens of the city of Cochin to come together and share their aspirations for bringing in internationally standardized infrastructural development to the city. It further provides the city with a platform to come together in a celebration that cuts across social and economic barriers.

It is a follow up plan for “Reinventing Cochin” a project carried out in the city of Cochin by Centre for Public Policy and Research. It is an attempt to ensure the participation of all the people in the city, in the efforts of the organization to transform the city into a world class model.

Cochin is a historically renowned centre of commerce and has a unique niche in the world tourism map. However, lack of infrastructural facilities, especially in terms poor condition of roads, have been often a hurdle for her economic development and a blot on her pristine image. Owing to this reason the livability of the city also has been at stake. The project, “Reinventing Cochin” has identified many internationally acclaimed developmental projects for dealing with this problem. However they can not come into fruition without the support and participation of the residents of the city. Cochin Marathon 2010 is the first effort in this regard.

Development of the city of Cochin will definitely ensure the development of all the stakeholders in the city. With this view in mind Cochin Marathon 2010 will ensure the participation and collaboration of all the stakeholders in the city. All the people in the city can participate in the run either as runners or as volunteers. Besides, all the International, National and local business enterprises which have a stake in the city can join with the organizers of the event as sponsors of the event.

For enquiries, please contact cppr@cppr.in

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vyttila Mobility Hub

Traffic solutions from abroad

KOCHI: The number of vehicles in Kochi has increased from 91,411 in 1989-90 to 9,38,124 in 2007-08, showing an average yearly growth of 13 percent. With cabs and vans adding to the vehicle fleet every year, there is overcrowding on the roads. There is a matching rise in the sale of scooters and motorbikes as well.

According to the records of the Motor Vehicles Department, about 2000 vehicles are registered in the city limits in a month, 85 percent of which are private vehicles. There are about 630 city buses, 3000 autorickshaws, 6500 taxis and countless cars and motorcycles on crammed city roads according to a study by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).

“There is no need to worry. Mobility hubs could be the solution to ease traffic, for a sustainable transportation concept in your city,” said Susan Zielinski, managing director, Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transportation (SMART), Centre for Advancing Research & Solutions for Society, University of Michigan.

“You need to back such plans which will take the load off the public road system. Such plans should get the boost from the common traveller who feels frustrated every time he ends in a traffic jam,” added Gordan Feller, chief executive officer, Urban Age Institute, USA.

Both experts were in the city to participate in a discussion on an invitation from the CPPR to interact with the officials on the SMART concept which could be introduced in the city.

“The fact that the city is thinking of a physical facility as a solution to handle the traffic is a vital step,” said Gordon. Susan, who was a city councillor in Toronto, later on advocated the cause of sustainable transport.

‘The investment for such development comes from public-private ventures.

The idea is to increase connectivity, get the people to use the public transport system and help public and private business growth,’ she said.

Gordon feels that entrepreneurs around the world have to realise that the social infrastructure is up for sale.

“The more comfortable and peopleoriented you make it, the more markets you retain. So now, Smart Companies are competing with each other to offer high quality living to people.” The scenario is same in all cities across the world where the authorities are afraid of change. “We actually did a cycle choir campaign on the streets to put across the message that we need cycle lanes,” says Susan. The cops and the authorities couldn’t prevent us because we did a very peaceful campaign.

“A year later, the city council cleared the project for the cycle lane.” Gordon believes that the culmination of small, individual decisions made by people give way to a huge decision, which has its impact on everyone.

The most crucial factor is that the policy makers who have always had leverage, now also have the understanding to realise that it is not the million dollar projects that foster change but the small allocations. The little prods and pushes that add value to a project take it beyond change into the sphere of transformation.

Susan concluded by saying that in 2005, SMART began work with Ford Motor Company and a range of other business, government, and NGO partners to address sustainable transportation issues and opportunities in the developing world. Over time many more partners have joined the effort.

More recently, similar work began in Washington DC, Atlanta, Ann Arbor, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Are the existing transportation services at the location underused? Could they benefit from marketing and branding with a hub and from the new transportation services?? Is the location under-serviced? Does the existing transit service already operate at capacity? Would attracting more riders pose a problem for the transit provider? Would developing a hub at this location encourage people to not take out their cars, or would it just be transferring trips from one mode to another? were some of the questions that the two experts felt needed to be addressed when planning a mobility hub.

“Solutions have to be localised,” they said. “There is no point in looking at other cities, because your city is yours alone!!”

Vyttila Mobility Hub

Mobility hub at Vytilla proposed


Government likely to consider project to streamline traffic flow in the city

KOCHI: The State government is expected to consider a city mobility project that has been prepared with Vytilla as the hub, in a fortnight.

The project aims at solving a good share of commuting problems in the city by creating amenities in and around the Vytilla Junction, by integrating different modes of transport like roadways, metro rail, railways and waterways. It was prepared for the CII-Kerala by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), with help from the Kumar Group of architects. The report that was submitted recently to the District Collector, was discussed at an interactive session organised here on Saturday by the CPPR on ‘Connecting the dots: A smart approach to solving traffic and transport issues in the developed world’.

Referring to the reports by RITES in 2001, NATPAC in 2006 and the city mobility plan, the project speaks of the need to relocate the Kaloor private bus stand and the KSRTC bus stand out of the city, to an integrated and futuristic terminal at Vytilla, so that there is less congestion in the city. The Agriculture Department and Kerafed own 25 acres of land near the junction and this is ideal to host the mobility hub where long-distance buses and KSRTC services can be based. There would be space to park 220 buses, 900 cars and 120 autorickshaws. A shopping mall, food courts, cultural centre, hotel, swimming pool, waterfront and boat jetty too can be set up.

From Vytilla, public transport systems can provide connectivity with the western and eastern parts of the city, West Kochi, and also regional hubs like Vypeen, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Thripunithura and Aroor. Vytilla is also well- connected with National Highways 47, 17 and 49, the seaport and the airport. The proposed metro rail passes through the junction and National Waterway III is located close by. By basing operations in Vytilla, the KSRTC and private buses would be able to save huge amounts on fuel, apart from the time saved in not entering the city. Thus, the Vytilla mobility hub has evolved as a natural remedy and is envisioned as a long-term solution to Kochi’s transporting problems.

The report points to the ever-widening gap between the growing number of vehicles, inadequate roads and unscientific infrastructure that have turned life worse for Kochiites, making living and working in the city a less desirable proposition.

The steep increase in the number of private vehicles, the resultant commotion and pollution undermine progress.

Despite this, public transport systems operate in a very inflexible manner. Apart from the 630 private city buses, the numerous mofussil buses operate mainly from the private bus terminal at Kaloor and the KSRTC stand. They ply along the high demand corridors like Banerji Road, M.G. Road and S.A. Road

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Lost 'Cochin'!

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who dwelled in the heart of the 'Green' Cochin. The place was a heaven for her. She grew up at the sight of a beautiful and serene city. She smelled the fragrance of mother earth, played on the streets, relished the pleasant ride in the city and enjoyed the cool evenings at Marine Drive.

Then one day 'dark clouds' masked the city. Buildings began to replace trees, the roads were shrinking, mother earth was impregnated and smelled of scraps and the delightful ride in the city turned out to be a pain. The 'dark clouds' can be mentioned to any type of developments that the city was expecting in the 21st century!!!

The girl still lives in the city with a cry of lost beauty of Cochin!!!