Thursday, September 1, 2011

'We Need Safe Footpaths'

A study that benchmarks the pedestrian infrastructure of six Indian cities was released by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) in a publication titled ‘Walkability in Indian Cities’. The walkability study serves to help decision makers prioritize planning and investments to improve non-motorized mobility in India. In addition to the availability of pedestrian footpaths, it also includes other parameters such as accessibility to crossings and amenities and road safety issues, such as motorists’ behaviour towards pedestrians. Pune scored the highest walkability rating (54 out of 100) followed by Rajkot, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Surat and, Chennai with a score of 40 out of 100. Demonstrating the challenges ahead, the walkability rating at bus stops and railway stations scored the worst in all six cities, with an average score of 39. Residential and commercial areas averaged 52 and 57 respectively with Bhubaneshwar and Pune scoring the highest among the cities. It is pertinent to note that Indian cities were way below their Asian counterparts. Improving the pedestrian facilities significantly reduces the shift from non-motorized transportation to two wheelers and cars.

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