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!!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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