Thursday, December 15, 2011

Geetam Tiwari on Pro-Poor Green Urban Transport

In this ten minute video Professor Tiwari takes a useful step back from the usual pure transport and all too often dominant technology/infrastructure perspective, taking us back for starters to the fundamentals of what is going on at the level of city dynamics and the daily lives of the vast. of the neglected great majority of all who live and need to get around in the cities in her great and sprawling country. She comes down hard on past policies that have heavily favored the well to do, while all too systematically ignoring the daily needs of the rest. And that of course is unsustainable. Let's listen to what she has to say:

The following introductory notes come from the SUM Net India (Sustainable urban mobility network in India) site, for which we thank them

Prof Tiwari talks about the nature of urban India which has seen more growth in the number of smaller towns than mega cities; the lack of attention on the transportation needs of the smaller towns; who are the urban poor and their preferred modes of transport; the need to support low carbon transport (non-motorized and public transport); why life cycle costs of infrastructure must be included in cost benefit analysis.

Prof Tiwari points out that in the past few years attention has been only on technological inputs and not enough on NMT, PT or land use and shelter policies – that is to say, efforts so far have not been pro-poor.

Inclusive transport requires that attention be paid to non motorized and public transport, which are the preferred modes of transport of the poor. They are captive users because they have no other choice. They may shift to carbon intensive modes when they are able to, partly also because of hostile existing NMT and PT. Indian cities are already compact and mixed use, often by violating formal plans, and we should see how this can be formalized.

The challenge is how to retain low-carbon modes of transport for most of the population (as their choice) and how to effect the shift from high to low-carbon modes for the smaller percentage who do use private motorized. Prof Tiwari presents case studies (Delhi, Pune, Patna) to see how modal share might change with improvements in PT, PT and NMT, and NMT alone.

Prof Tiwari also presents a brief overview of govt policies on urban transport and urbanization over the last 6 decades and the link between shelter policies, slum rehab and transportation. She ends by saying that the investments in urban transportation infrastructure in the last decade has been neither green nor pro-poor.

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About the author:

Geetam Tiwari hold the MoUD Chair and is Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering/Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP)of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).

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