Congestion and pollution seem to be inevitable companions of a growing city. Practically all Indian cities have chronically bad traffic conditions and air that is hardly fit to breathe. To add to this, Indian cities fare among the worst in the world in terms of their traffic safety records. Pune records more than 500 deaths every year from traffic accidents - that is well over one death every day.
Some believe that these are inevitable consequences of a growing, thriving city. But it need not be so. Cities can develop in a manner that permits mobility to its different citizens without necessarily bringing with it the attendant problems of traffic jams, bad air and accidents. All it needs is that one should have people, rather than vehicles, at the centre of all mobility planning. Once people become the focus of mobility planning and efficient use of transport infrastructure to help people commute becomes the focus, the solutions that emerge would automatically include:
- Excellent walking and cycling facilities, so that most trips within (say) 5km can be accomplished through these extremely efficient and non-polluting modes.
- Excellent, reliable and affordable public transport facilities, so that most commutes over longer distances can be undertaken by public transport. Since public transport occupies much less space, has much lower emissions and consumes much less fuel per passenger-km, a significant increase in public transport usage will automatically alleviate the problems of congestion and pollution, and also help in dealing with issues such as climate change and our dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Parisar has been actively campaigning, lobbying and advocating to achieve these goals in Pune. To this end, it has an active engagement with the Pune Municipal Corporation and has been instrumental in pushing through certain schemes and policies that further the cause of sustainable transport. Read more about our work on this topic elsewhere on the site.