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70 per cent Indians could cycle but for hostile traffic; experts

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Even as the bicycle was the solution for more than 70 per cent of the people in the country, road environment has been made hostile towards cyclists, experts have said.

''History could not help us with the fact that BMWs shared space with cyclists on our streets. Space sharing rather than lane driving is the logic we need to use here,'' experts from the world over at a meeting on 'Urbanisation and Sustainable Transporatation' said here.

People living in Indian cities like Delhi needed to particiate more vigorously in the decision making process of planning and transportation policies that impacted their lives, they said.

Though 70 per cent of all cars in country were found in the national capital, only 15 per cent of people in the city owned cars.

Hence, choices of public transport for this 85 per cent of the population had to be improved, it was added.

Huge difference in income levels of the people could not be ignored while transportation decisions were taken, they said.

A key challenge of urbanisation was to address the problems of people who formed tomorrow's cities but were always somehow outside the plan, Delhi IIT Prof Geetam Tiwari said.

She stressed that the modern urban transport system had to take the needs of this section of the society into account. The fallout of all the wrongs being done was that cities were less liveable, leadership hesitated to step in to make any difference and pedestrians suffered.

According to DMRC MD E Sreedharan, the government was on the right track. Cities with populations of five million and more needed efficent public transport systems and by setting up the metro, the government was providing the right leadership.

CEO of Urban Age Institute Gordon Feller said ''most cities suffer from the plight of lack of integrated urban planning, where land use and transportation issues are taken into account together.'' Mr Feller described Bus Rapid Transport as a solution in densely populated areas, with its dedicated lanes, systems for people to climb on, and advance ticket sales as some of the features contributing to its success.

Toyota's Manager of Advanced Technologies Bill Reinert, the man behind innovative hybrid vehicles like the 'Prius', said people may want to re-think whole concept of personal car and how it would fit into tomorrow's cities.


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