Public transport is a core part of our daily lives. It is an economic driver — linking commuters to employment opportunities and bringing potential customers to retail and commercial establishments. It impacts our health, as modes of urban transport affect the air we breathe; our safety when we walk, bike, and commute; and our physical fitness. Transport is, in short, a fundamental part of life for most of the world. As the world becomes more urban, transport will play an even more important role in our lives in the future.
Too often those who utilize public transport on a daily basis are not brought into the decision-making process or consulted on its operation. This lack of participation may damage public use and endorsement of mass transport. The public can offer valuable insight on how a transport system should be designed. Including the public in the design process from the beginning, and following through to solicit input during the operation stage, can help to build support for a project and avoid costly and time-consuming petitions of protest from the public. The advent of the internet is making it easier than ever to solicit public input.
Public consultation in the 21st century
Once commonly associated with dispassionate town hall meetings, public consultations are evolving as public agencies embrace the internet as a communications tool. Traditionally, governments hosted information sessions or town hall meetings to update the public on the impact of an infrastructure project on the community and to receive comments in a forum setting, one-by-one. The best an agency could hope to receive was a few comments from those who could attend that night’s meeting. Attendees tend to self-select, and agencies would only receive input for a small subset of the population.
With the advent of the internet, new surveying techniques are helping to make it easier for the public to offer comments in a decentralized, user-driven fashion. The European Union, for example, has been soliciting input on transport projects online since 2005 and transparently providing summary reports on response trends written by a third party. In The use of internet for public consultation is not mutually exclusive with town halls and community meetings, which serve an important purpose in connecting the agencies directly with the public. In New York City, for example, the Department of Transportation hosted both 159 in-person community meetings and an online survey that received over 10,000 responses during its public consultation regarding its bike-sharing system, set to debut on Memorial Day next Monday. Many other cities and countries have turned to the internet as the easiest and widest reaching method of public consultation.
As smartphones become more ubiquitous, public consultation may become even more decentralized, providing the public with the tools to comment real-time when something goes wrong at a specific intersection or subway stop. During the operations phase, smartphone applications could provide commuters with a platform to recommend improvements, effectively crowdsourcing some of the maintenance duties of the transport agency.
The challenges of public consultation
Public consultation is not without its challenges. For one, all stakeholders are not alike. Most public consultations look to include all relevant stakeholders, but for large-scale infrastructure and transport projects, there can often be tensions between the “heavy” stakeholders involved in the project and the “end users,” the public. Stakeholders involved in the planning and financing process may have different interests from the commuters who ultimately use transport. It is incumbent upon the soliciting authority to weigh these inputs. That said, transparent, decentralized, open public consultations help to equalize he playing field and magnify the voice of the daily commuter.
Another challenge is making public consultation work in the developing world. Public consultation in New York, where the population tends to be wealthy, connected, and fairly opinionated, is one thing; soliciting input in Mumbai, India, or Nairobi, Kenya, is another. The need for public consultation is all the more vital in the developing world, however, because it is unlikely that the public’s input will be adequately voiced without it. Along similar lines, difficulties can also arise when trying to implement a project in a region with historic heritage. It can be challenging to weigh completely different viewpoints on how land should be utilized. Lastly, the delicate issue of balancing a project’s need for urgency with its need for stakeholder buy-in is a challenge that can’t be ignored. Public consultation must be implemented at an early stage and factored into construction and planning timelines, so it does not unnecessarily delay implementation.
Engaging the public during operation
Traditionally, when public consultation has been included in a project, it is incorporated during the planning process. This is natural, as the public should have a voice in how transportation projects are implemented in their neighborhoods, and there are big, impactful changes that occur during the planning stage of a project. The public should also be consulted, however, whenever significant changes to the operation of a transport system are implemented and periodically throughout the system’s operation. When a major schedule change is implemented on a bus rapid transit and light rail line, for example, it typically affects hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of daily commuters. Likewise, periodic public consultation can help to reveal ways to improve the user experience — often at low cost to the operator.
Public consultation is useful throughout the life of a transit system and should not end when the last slab of concrete is set, or the last track is laid. Constant feedback from the public can help improve the experience for commuters, and help improve the transport projects that governments plan and construct.
If cities are to be more people-oriented, shouldn’t we work on sharing the space with each other? That’s the intention of the Bench of Friendship, upon which it is impossible to sit alone.
Sponsored by the British-based Fisherman’s Friend and designed by students from the Institute of Design Hamburg (IN.D), the bench invites those who want to rest or enjoy the view to invite someone else to share the bench with them.
The motto of the project is, “Never be without a friend,” and its aim is to restore the human connection to public space — a space in which people increasingly find themselves solitary, overly serious, or in a hurry. The experience — akin to that of a see-saw — ends up being quite fun, as you can see in the video:
Another project which encourages interaction between people is 21 Balançoires (“21 swings”). Created by science students at Canada’s Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), together with designers Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiant, the installation in the center of Montreal consists of 21 swings, each of which plays a different musical note when moving. The tone increases and decreases in accordance with the motion of each person using the swing.
One cool feature of the swingset is that some notes can only be created if different movements are combined, i.e., people create music together with their momentum. The result is a collective symphony! Read more about the 21 Swings on TheCityFix Brasil.
Initiatives like these are fine examples of how friendly interactions in urban spaces, however simple they may be, can be very beneficial in making the experience of living in a city more inviting and welcoming. Even if your city does not have the Bench of Friendship or the 21 Swings, a simple smile, a “good day,” or a hug can make all the difference.Source: Sustainable Planet Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti also contributed to this post, originally published on TheCityFix Brasil.
More and more cities worldwide are grappling with the ever-increasing menace of air pollution — especially in India, which contains some of the most polluted cities in the world. Rapid economic growth in developing countries and increased individual wealth is leading to an ever-increasing number of cars and motorcycles on the roads. We are seeing highly increased emissions and rapid deterioration in urban air quality. The transport sector itself is now the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, accounting for 13% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 23% of global energy-related emissions.
Most Indian cities are exceeding the critical levels of particle pollution (particulate matter, or PM) and nitrous oxide (NOx), two of the worst air pollutants. This phenomenon is due to an ever-increasing number of private vehicles, old technology, and unclean fuels.What are PM and NOx?
Particulate Matter: Particulate matter is a mixture of small particles and droplets including acids, like sulphates and nitrates, organic chemicals, metals, soil, or dust. Combustion can produce a large quantity of very fine particles, known as PM10 (defined as 10 nanometers in diameter or smaller). The human body cannot protect against exposure to these PM10s and against ultra-fine particles (PM2.5) which can enter the heart and lungs through inhalation and have serious health effects, including respiratory disease and heart and lung conditions.
Nitrous Oxides: They are an important family of air-polluting chemical compounds. These highly reactive gases affect health and lead to increase in global warming. Nitrous oxide can be oxidized in the atmosphere into nitrogen dioxide, which is a dangerous air pollutant in itself and can also react to form ozone and acid rain.
How can our cities deal with this menace?
As far as vehicle pollution is concerned, the remedy lies in adopting a multi-pronged approach with concrete steps towards promoting public transport solutions, such as bus fleets which run on cleaner fuel, such as low-sulfur diesel or natural gas.
1. Make an informed, location-specific selection of fuels and vehicles
Cities should base their selection of fuel on the total cost and emissions – from extraction or production, to processing to combustion — associated with each type of fuel.
Fuel policies should be revisited by municipalities, and current gaps in pricing should be taken into consideration. In India, for example, there exists a huge gap in the prices of diesel and gasoline due to fuel subsidies on diesel, which are leading to increased sales, and production of diesel vehicles. Diesel vehicles now account for 40% of vehicles on Indian roads, and the figures are expected to grow further. Most of these vehicles are operating on dirty diesel, with a high sulfur content. Yet, technology today is capable of producing diesel fuel with as low as 50 ppm sulfur content, but this cleaner fuel has thus far not caught on.
2. Adopt the Avoid-Shift-Improve strategy
A more promising and holistic solution lies in the adoption of the avoid-shift-improve framework, which essentially entails avoiding motorized trips, by planning land use and mixity in buildings in such a way that most of the trips are within short distances which can be covered by bike or on foot; shifting from individual motorized transport to public transport; and improving upon today’s fuel options and technologies.
3. Increase financial incentives for sustainable transport, disincentives for private vehicle use
At the same time, financial incentives, and disincentives, need to be put in place to encourage use of buses and clean fuels; at the same time governments should also aim at discouraging the use of personal vehicles through disincentives, such as levying congestion charges, raising parking fees, hiking insurance premiums, etc. Research in the alternate/renewable fuels should be undertaken and efforts focused on making technology more cost effective to enable wider commercial application.
The disposal of old, high-polluting vehicles also warrants more attention. The enforcement of emissions standards and disposal regulations should be strictly imposed. Moreover, emissions standards should be made uniformly applicable to an entire country across all modes of transport. Current fuel policy in India allows for a relaxation of emissions standards for 2-wheeled vehicles, such as motorbikes, which have become the major urban pollutants, due to sheer numbers and outdated technology.
Holistic approach should be taken toward fighting air pollution
Air pollution needs to be dealt with in a more holistic manner, wherein major contributors, like industries, power plants, and vehicles are addressed together. A host of policies, regulations, and incentives, implemented simultaneously, are required to deal with this issue, as no one policy is sufficient to deal with this multi-faceted problem.Sources: 1. http://www.embarq.org/en/exhaust-emissions-transit-buses-working-paper 2. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-03/pollution/37409934_1_air-pollution-ghaziabad-critically-polluted-areas
Como parte del proyecto “The Access Initiative (TAI): Legal Empowerment of Vulnerable Communities in Latin America” desarrollamos un análisis de la legislación vigente sobre el derecho de consulta previa, libre e informada en el marco de los derechos de participación reconocidos en el Principio 10 de la Declaración de Río.
Most residential streets are not serviced by city buses. Even if they were not too heavy, bulky, or noisy, there is seldom enough passengers to fill them. The automobile does not fare much better, creating traffic congestion and parking woes, contributing to poor air quality, and posing as a safety hazards for pedestrians. Another option — the taxi cab — adds the problem of high cost to the automobile’s list of negative impacts.
That’s where the Otobuxi comes into the picture. Developed by Canadian mechanical engineer Charles Bombardier, the Otobuxi (pronounced “Auto-Boxy”) would pick you up in front of your house at the time you would need to travel and would tailor your trip based on your travel needs (speed, cost, stops, etc). This electric-powered, self-driving vehicle bridges the gap between cars, taxi cabs, and buses across the urban landscape.
Bombardier calls the Otobuxi a “smart transit vehicle concept designed for cities.” Its name incorporates etymological elements of “automobile” (Oto-); “buses” (-bu-) and taxis (-xi). With all-wheel drive and electric power, the Otobuxi can travel with quiet ease on narrow, residential streets. The vehicle can accommodate up to 12 passengers and does not require a driver — similar to the Google Car.
To get onboard, passengers use a smartphone app to request a pickup by and pay their fare. An intelligent transit calculator would automatically propose 2-3 possible itineraries to bring you to your final destination by using a combination of vehicles, such as metro, city bus, bus rapid transit, regional train, etc, all integrated into a larger transit network.
To learn more about Charles Bombardier’s Otobuxi concept, check out the website.
In a capital city with 8 million inhabitants, not only was Lima’s advanced bus system the first of its kind in the country, but it also provides valuable lessons for the rest of Latin America. Building on the Lima experience, other cities in Peru can be inspired to deliver the saved time and lives that El Metropolitano is delivering day after day. TheCityFix sat down with Hernan Navarro, Operations Manager at El Metropolitano to learn more about Lima’s advanced bus system.
Navarro highlights key learnings about the 33-kilometer (20-mile) El Metropolitano system connecting 16 districts of Peru’s capital along a north-south corridor opened in October of 2010.
1. What makes El Metropolitano unique in Peru, and across the BRT world?
What makes El Metropolitano so special in Peru, is that it is the first and only BRT system in the country; our buses also run on natural gas, which helps reduce tailpipe emissions.
Also, Lima’s BRT has a “fast track” with no stoplights called the “Via Expresa,” on which only small vehicles, and El Metropolitano are permitted in the dedicated lanes. Thus, it saves a tremendous amount of travel time to the benefits of the inhabitants of Lima.
2. Is El Metropolitano integrated with other transport systems?
To a certain extent, we could say it is integrated in a “casual way,” with the main, trunk line accessible by peripheral, non-BRT feeder buses. At certain spots in the city, minibuses have become the feeder system, forming a sort of natural integration, as they choose routes that can help passengers reach BRT stations, where they can continue their trips, with the benefit of a fast system as backbone.
Additionally, we have planned a formal integration with the Lima metro system to come into effect in the coming months. The metro and El Metropolitano will be connected through the Gamarra shopping center station, the commercial heart of Lima. We see this integration as a way of responding to customer demand in a more effective way.
3. Since El Metropolitano began operations, have Lima’s roads become safer?
Before El Metropolitano started working, there used to be around 30 accidents per month along the same route. Since 2010, the number of accidents per month has dropped by almost 90%, and we now have an average of three to four accidents per month.
4. What are the top three ways that El Metropolitano has directly improved people’s lives?
Saving time: Some trips that used to take 2 hours in rush hour and can now be made in 25 minutes with El Metropolitano.
Saving money: There is a flat fare for riding El Metropolitano, meaning that even in rush hour, and across long distances, passengers still pay 2 soles (USD$0.77).
Saving lives: People feel safer, and there are significantly fewer accidents, as compared with conventional buses.
5. Do you have any advice for other municipalities in the planning process for a BRT, or considering it? What lessons could they learn from you?
Be careful with contracts. Make sure that plans for necessary infrastructure and land acquisition are secured prior to making an offer to operators, so that you don’t experience later problems.
Define the station sizes according to public demand. Some stations are more popular than others, and therefore should be larger. It is all about making the most out of the available space and adapting to customer needs.
6. How is El Metropolitano perceived among the general public?
In a city of 8 million inhabitants, El Metropolitano serves 5% of the people. Yet when El Metropolitano is in the spotlight, its actions are closely followed and widely broadcasted by the media. Everything we do, whether good or bad is highlighted in the media and discussed among residents.
7. Now that you have surpassed 300 million passenger trips, what are El Metropolitano’s goals looking ahead?
We have 4 specific goals for our next 300 million trips:
1. Use all available buses: We have 522 buses, 96% of which are currently in use, but we want to have them all up and running.
2. Increase ridership: We measure ridership by passengers per kilometer (PKM) travelled along the corridor. For trunk-line buses we have a PKM index of around 6.5 and for feeders we have 3. Our goal is to increase these numbers to 7 and 5 passengers per kilometer, respectively.
3. Increase the value for the operators: In other words, help our bus operators increase their ridership and profit margin. Currently, we offer the operators an 85% of value per kilometer; this is mostly due to the fact that El Metropolitano only attends to 5 % of of Lima’s transport demand. We hope to build upon this.
4. Extend the corridor: We are extending the route 7 kilometers, from Naranjal to Patio Norte, in Lima.
El Metropolitano addresses a historic need in Lima, a city which had been waiting for a mass transport solution since the late-1960s. Overall it is making progress, providing passengers a cost-effective and efficient way to go from point A to point B. While the system still has a long way to go in terms of passenger capacity, fare integration, and routes, El Metropolitano is steadily moving Lima step closer to a more sustainable, organized urban environment – a place where people want to live.
Interested in learning more about El Metropolitano BRT in Lima? Visit their website.
For more info on BRT in Latin America, check out the upcoming conference of the Association of Latin American Integrated Transportation Systems and Bus Rapid Transit (SIBRT). The Third SIBRT Congress: “Best Practices in SIBRT in Latin America”, will be held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 4-7, 2013.
One of the most controversial issues on the agenda of the City Council of Porto Alegre, Brazil, was discussed last week at a roundtable debate and broadcast over local radio: proposed changes to the speed limit on arterial roads in the state capital. For non-experts, arterial roads are high-capacity thoroughfares which connect urban centers to freeways and other cities.
Set by the Brazilian Traffic Code at 60 km/h (37 mph), this limit came into question when, in 2010, Councilman Alcaeus Brasinha joined an initiative to raise the speed limit to 70 km/h (43 mph). The main reason for this would be a possible improvement of the flow of vehicles on the main roads of the city. Since then, the proposal has been pending in the Federal Chamber of Deputies.
However, a new proposal, from Councilmember Marcelo Sgarbossa, has been submitted, which calls for a reduction in speed limit to 50 km/h (30 mph) for light vehicles and 40 km/h (25 mph) for heavy vehicles.
Last week’s on-air discussion also featured Professor John Fortini Albano, transportation expert, and Daniel Denardi, advisor to the management of the Porto Alegre Public Transportation and Circulation, company.
While Councilman Brasinha’s proposal to raise the speed limit is based on examples from other Brazilian cities, such as Florianopolis and Rio de Janeiro, where speed limits on main avenues, such as Copacabana and Seaside North is already at 70 km/h, Councilman Sgarbossa shows that, along a 5-kilometer stretch of road, driving 60 km/h instead of 50 km/h results in a time savings of only 39 seconds. Sgarbossa also relies on recommendations from the World Health Organization, which suggests a maximum speed limit of 50 km/h in urban areas.
Slower speeds require less distance for drivers to come to a complete stop after hitting the brakes — thereby allowing more space and time to avoid a potential collision. A Belgian road safety study estimated that 45% of pedestrians die when hit by vehicles traveling at 50 km/h (30 mph), whereas the fatality rate drops to 5% when the car is moving at 30 km/h (20 mph). Furthermore, when speed limits are reduced from 50 to 30 km/h, the rate of traffic accidents decreases by around 20%.
Check out the video below that talks about the difference that 5 km/h can make:
During the broadcast, a poll was conducted, which revealed that among local listeners in Porto Alegre, 47% were in favor of increasing the speed limit, 33% for maintaining current regulations, and 20% calling for a decrease.
Where do you stand on the issue?
Originally posted on TheCityFix Brasil.
Recently, the State Government of Maharashtra (the third largest state in India, located on the western side of the country, and home to the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur) began looking into a proposal to run long-distance, point-to-point shared taxi services to improve the quality of daily commutes in Mumbai. The service is seen as a potential solution to overcome the crippling congestion and reduce the alarming air pollution trends that increased motorization has brought to Mumbai’s streets. Sharing daily commutes is being touted as a viable alternative to single-occupancy (or chauffeured) drive-to-work for many Mumbaikars. It’s success, though, might reside in it being offered as a quality service, as opposed to merely a transport solution.
Commuters: ridesharing potential extends beyond short-distance trips
Ridesharing has become popular the world over, and in Mumbai and other Indian cities, shared auto-rickshaws and taxis are common feeder services to suburban railway stations, central business districts, and tourist locations. Such services depend greatly on strong and regular demand for taxis or auto-rickshaws and have traditionally operated out of assigned shared-taxi/rickshaw stands. A central feature of the shared services is that they ferry commuters only for short distances, with the fare split equally between the number of commuters (for auto-rickshaw, usually 3, and for taxi, 4). In comparison, the proposed shared-taxi service will aim to cover long distances, ferrying commuters from major residential areas to dense central business districts in Mumbai (Bandra-Kurla Complex, SEEPZ and Lower Parel to name a few).
Currently, there are a few innovative services that facilitate ridesharing in Indian cities – most of them provide technological tools to facilitate the development of ridesharing networks, rather than the building of a specialized fleet of shared taxis. For example, SmartMumbaikar is a technology-based startup that enables social connections between registered users having similar commute patterns (origin-destination points, time of commute). Other services like SharedCab, Zinghopper, and Khali Seat offer ridesharing with Facebook-verified user accounts, to help assuage safety concerns of sharing rides with strangers. SharedCab, based in Mumbai, makes use of air-conditioned fleet taxis to offer a comfortable and high-quality service to those willing to share rides, whereas the other services encourage commuters to make their own taxi sharing arrangements.
Local governments: scaling up shared taxi service and meeting demand with regulatory consistency
In Mumbai, regulations relating to operating shared transport services range from ambiguous, and thus open to interpretation, to strict prohibitive of shared-taxis operating as regular for-hire taxis during off-peak hours. One of the key challenges to scaling up point-to-point, shared-taxi services in Mumbai comes in the form of delineating regulatory barriers and consistency. Another key challenge cited during EMBARQ India’s consultations with entrepreneurs was the uncertainty in organizing demand for the service. There is little assurance that a waiting shared-taxi will collect 4 passengers all at once; often the passengers will have to wait, and their schedules or willingness to wait may not allow it, thereby affecting the demand for the service. An efficient way of managing demand and making supply of shared taxis available will be crucial to the feasibility of such a service.
Success in managing supply and demand creates key demand areas for such a service among new audiences, such as corporate employers that have major offices in Mumbai central business districts. These firms have a large number of employees traveling from different parts of the city to their offices, and some even offer fixed or variable travel allowances, depending on the mode of travel. For example, some companies will offer allowances for parking and fuel for private vehicles, whereas others will provide reimbursements for travel by the local train or bus service.
Companies: employers play a key role in commuter choices
Employers play a key role in travel choice – depending on the incentives provided to their employees, they can encourage ridesharing or taking public transport to work, by simply discontinuing travel allowances for private vehicles. Furthermore, by connecting with ridesharing services, they can ensure an efficient and timely commute for their employees, possibly even helping to save the environment from harmful excessive emissions from increased motorization.
For point-to-point, long-distance shared taxi service to successfully operate in Mumbai, several issues need to be addressed. These present themselves from the point of almost every stakeholder:
- Existing operators and taxi fleet companies who have an opportunity to contribute to reducing congestion and bringing about a sustainable change in the way Mumbai moves;
- Passengers who may not be willing to wait to take a shared-taxi or who benefits from driving alone to work;
- Local government, which needs to clarify regulations pertaining to operating ridesharing services, and how it may be in the best interest of Mumbai’s commuting masses; and
- Corporate employers who have similar potential to alter their employees’ travel patterns, potentially helping worker productivity as well.
Taking this stakeholder dynamic into consideration will be important to the successful implementation of long-distance ridesharing as a commuter option in Mumbai. After all, a happy employee is one that travels to work comfortably!
Last month, India’s newest bus rapid transit (BRT) system – iBus – launched trial operations in Indore. Over the last seven years, the implementing agency, Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL) worked closely with several public and private agencies, including EMBARQ India, to bring this project to fruition. The system includes an 11.4-kilometer (7-mile) corridor, 21 median stations, and custom-designed buses, which are expected to serve 70,000 passengers per day.
How it began in 2006-2007
The city of Indore is home to more than 2 million people and is steadily growing. Prior to 2006, when the city transport agency was formed, there was no organized public transport system. Over the years, a city bus service grew to more than 100,000 passenger trips per day, accounting for a little over 4% of total transport in the city.
In June 2006, the city’s transport operator, AICTSL, commissioned a detailed project report for the implementation of a 88.4-kilometer (55-mile) bus rapid transit network, to be completed in three phases. By October of 2006, the pilot project — an 11.4-kilometer (7-mile) stretch on AB Road — was submitted to the central government for funding, and construction began in August 2007.
The project faced several challenges right from the start — the first of these challenges was funding; of the estimated INR 1.73 billion (USD$ 31.6 million) required for the project, only INR 0.98 billion (USD$ 17.9 million) was approved. Additional challenges arose, in the form of land acquisition negotiations, negative media, illegal encroachments on the corridor, and public interest litigations. The project was further complicated by parallel projects, such as the Narmada Water Supply System project and sewerage installation projects along the same corridor. Despite these setbacks, AICTSL was determined to see the project through. By 2009, AICTSL received funding for the purchase of 50 BRT buses via the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) national investment scheme, and signed an agreement to receive a grant for the intelligent transport system technology required for running the BRT system. Additionally, a decision was taken to install indigenously-developed solar-powered, vehicle-actuated, wireless traffic signals, which will be the first of their kind in the country.
EMBARQ India’s involvement
Since 2009, EMBARQ India has supported the transport operator AICTSL with technical expertise, including taking key officials on study tours to learn best practices in implementing and operating a BRT system from Bogota’s TransMilenio, and Ahmedabad’s Janmarg BRT systems.
Some key outcomes of EMBARQ India’s engagement with AICTSL included identifying the need for comfortable and well-designed bus stations; the re-designing of the corridor to have median-island bus stations, instead of median-offset bus-stops; and the use the gross-cost contracting model for operations, which would make it more amenable for public-private partnerships.
Additionally, EMBARQ India, being in an influential advisory position on the project, has provided input on bus procurement, operational planning, financial modeling, fare-systems integration, communications and branding support, and other input on the day-to-day planning and management of the project.
Engaging public support
In 2012, in response to negative media reports resulting from construction-related accidents and the perception of lost road space for other vehicles, AICTSL and EMBARQ India held several public presentations on the BRT, in which the system was explained in detail and questions and concerns from the public were immediately addressed. These public presentations continued into 2013, and individuals from several local schools, colleges, and corporate facilities along the corridor were invited to a forum to discuss the project. The forums became an excellent platform to understand and inform the public expectations and introduce the city to a high-quality system that has been extensively used world-over. As part of its project outreach, AICTSL also launched a successful social media campaign on Facebook, inviting the general public to ask questions and comment on the various updates of the project. As AICTSL’s CEO, Sandeep Soni said at EMBARQ India’s recent CONNECTKaro 2013 conference, “treating public consultation and outreach as a core activity, rather than an afterthought would result in public understanding, buy-in, and support”.
The way forward
Trial runs are underway along Indore’s new BRT corridor. Several educational tours are being organized for various sections of the public. By mid-May of 2013, the system will be opened to the general public to test and use the system free of charge. It is anticipated that the system will be fully functional by July of this year.
iBus is ready to change the way the people of Indore travel. It will not only improve traffic conditions in the city, but also enhance the overall quality of life for the residents of Indore.
Follow iBus on Facebook: facebook.com/IndoreBRT
Original article from The Observer http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=comcontent&task=view&id=25192&Itemid=114&utmsource=feedly
One day Abadallah walked to the National Forestry Authority as a concerned citizen seeking to get information about licensing forest reserves.
In an exclusive interview, Jaime Lerner talks about the challenges that public transportation is facing in Brazil and his expectations for the III SIBRT Conference.
The architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner – former Mayor of Curitiba for three terms and former Governor of Paraná for two terms – regards large urban center problems with a unique point of view. For him, the voice of the majority that repeats and reinforces the discourse that large cities are doomed to fail when it comes to urban mobility is a blurred vision of the city, “it is like a body receiving people’s life; not just a group of concrete and roads “.
Today, the man who launched his vision over the city of Curitiba by creating new models and concepts of urbanization in 1971, is now dedicating his time to the Jaime Lerner Institute, he is also a consultant for the United Nations with regard to urban matters and is the president of the architectural firm that bears his name.
Elected in 2010 by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential thinkers, Jaime Lerner believes that in the future the private car will look like cigarettes do nowadays: “It can be used, but it is recommended not to do it so that you don’t annoy people.”
Invited as a keynote speaker at the Third SIBRT Conference of Best Practices in Latin America (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 4-7), Lerner explained that for success in urban mobility, the benefits of investment in surface transport – especially BRT – and the importance of changing paradigms of people who “do not change their concepts because there are no better alternatives.” So he proposes quality public transport and viable for all.
Check out the interview below:
SIBRT – What are the main deficiencies of public transport systems in major cities in Brazil?
Jaime Lerner - The main deficiency is the lack of trust of people in public transport, which makes them opt for the private car. In my opinion, Brazil is a country that has the best of the conditions to solve problems regarding urban mobility: we have the technology, funding programs and the recent willingness to cooperate from public transport companies, which are ready to improve. This is a good time to make things change!
SIBRT – What are the most urgent measures to remedy these deficiencies – or at least minimize them?
Jaime Lerner - What is missing to complete this positive scenario is a political decision including technical commitment to overcome the current barriers. The system should be integrated so that it can satisfy people’s needs. The secret is to have a metro that operates well and which is integrated with effective bus service and other surface solutions. We have to use everything. The bus is now responsible for 70% to 80% current transport.
The government often does not know what it wants and, often, it is difficult to convince people that there will be improvements. The vision of the city should also be reconsidered: it is necessary for people to have an integrated view of the city, as it is a structure of life, work, leisure, all together. I cannot think of the place of residence, place of work, entertainment apart from one another.
SIBRT – The expression “metronizar” the bus is yours: What does that mean exactly?
Jaime Lerner - It means giving to the bus the same performance as the metro, where the user pays his fare outside of the station – and not inside the bus – which speeds the entry of passengers. Accelerating access through boarding at the same level and reserved lanes for buses is a way to provide more convenience, comfort and safety. And above all, ensuring frequency is very important to enhance credibility. With the bus you can reach a frequency of one bus a minute, with the metro it is not possible.
People simply will not believe in an alternative if the latter is not better. We have to provide a high quality system to change the paradigm. The car will be like smoking in the future. You can have a car, but you will be advised not to use it in order not to annoy people.
SIBRT – What are the main assets/differences of surface transport?
Jaime Lerner - The big asset is the cost, which is 50 to 100 times less per kilometer compared to the metro. Moreover, the implementation timeframe is 2 to 3 years. Operations pay for the cost if well planned, i.e. if there is no need for subsidies and it is not necessary to sacrifice generations to provide a quality transportation system.
SIBRT – Do you believe that surface transport is the future of urban transport in Brazil and in the world?
Jaime Lerner - The future is on the surface, but it is essential that each BRT implementation is well operated, integrated to land use, and with the growth of cities. Brazil is the country that has the best know-how in BRT system – systems which are currently implemented in 156 cities all over the world, such as Bogota and Mexico City, but also in Europe, China and the US.
For example, I do not believe in the expression “transport corridor”. I prefer to use transportation axis integrated to urban planning. The corridor has no relation to land use.
SIBRT – In your opinion – why is the transport sector not yet considered as a priority in public policies in Brazil?
Jaime Lerner - I think there is a reaction against simple solutions from the government. In Brazil, this is not possible. We live in a false dilemma: either the car or the metro. The reality is that we should not think about a one-size-fits-all solution. It is very difficult to have a metro system like in Paris or London, which were deployed for more than 100 years. What we know is that in São Paulo itself, 84% of trips are made on the surface. Then it is necessary that surface transport is well made. In some cases, in Brazil, BRT implementation has not been done with an integrated view of the city.
SIBRT – Curitiba is a world reference in public transport thanks to the implementation of BRT over 30 years ago, during your term. What factors determined the success of this model that has already been adopted worldwide?
Jaime Lerner - Curitiba worked with an integrated view of the city, which began to be designed with the structure: life, work, leisure and mobility which all worked together. What we did was to use this concept, and most importantly, make good use of the land. Therefore, we are the benchmark.
SIBRT – In June, the Third SIBRT Conference of Best Practices in Latin America will be held in Belo Horizonte. What are your expectations for the event?
Jaime Lerner - My expectation is that the implementation of BRT systems in Brazil occurs more rapidly. The great resistance came from bus operators. This resistance no longer exists. I hope that this conference will promote an action plan in cities and that cities will address their systems with more quality. This needs to happen now!
For more information, please visit: http://congresosibrt.org/.
Contact: Fagner Glinski – email@example.com
Bikes serve different purposes in people’s lives. Most of the time they are used to go places, for exercise and recreation, to transport goods, etc. Sometimes, however, they can be used for more than that.
As a testament to how creative people can be, the Internet provides several ways of putting the “old broken bike stored in the backyard” to use. For example, one can: shell corn, sharpen knives, make a windmill, wash clothes, filter water, charge a battery, cross a river, and more.
And, as proof of the good things that can be achieved by joining qualified people and an innovative idea, there is Guatemala-based Bicitec.
Started by Carlos Marroquín, Bicitec is a social venture that aims to solve a need: ease labor-intensive jobs and provide profits for people from rural areas. The idea is simple, turning old bikes and recycled machine parts into new machines and sell them for an accessible price, so that farmers are able to do their tasks in a time efficient way. They describe themselves as being, “the middle ground between the artisanal and the industrial” because these bikes represent a sustainable and carbon emission free alternative for people with low resources, who need to perform these time consuming tasks. They have several types of bike-machines (coconut shredders, mobility devices, etc) and a truly inspiring video:
The variety of things one can do with a bike is virtually limitless, but one thing’s for sure: I will never look at my bike in the same way.
Follow Bicitec on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bicitec/358536904253038
Visit their website: http://www.bicitec.org
(Original article posted by Carole Excell on WRI Insights on May 9, 2013: http://insights.wri.org/news/2013/05/new-jakarta-declaration...)
Our China Transportation Briefing shares interesting news and noteworthy research related to China’s transportation and urban development. The goal is to help people who are interested in solving China’s urbanization and transportation problems understand relevant Chinese policies and trends. Each issue revolves around a particular theme, with content summarized from recent news and journals. If you have any questions, feel free to contact EMBARQ Research Analyst Heshuang Zeng at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The rapid growth of bus rapid transit (BRT) in China is leading to future opportunities to improve the overall quality of sustainable transport in China. Although the debate on who has the right-of-way on city streets remains, cities could still exert the maximum benefit of BRT by prioritizing the integration of BRT with other sustainable modes.
Rapid growth of BRT in China
Like many other things happening in China, BRT has experienced rapid growth over the past few years. Though BRT in China has not received as much worldwide attention as underground rail systems, the growth of BRT is still impressive. The first BRT in China was introduced to the city of Kunming in 1999, followed by the BRT in Beijing in 2004, which brought national attention to BRT as a new transport solution. In 2010, the launch of the Guangzhou BRT broke out of the existing mold of low-to-medium capacity BRTs in China by transporting more passengers than most of the nation’s metro lines. The city adopted an open-system model, which allows all bus routes passing by the corridor to use the dedicated BRT lanes. Today there are 17 bus rapid transit systems in China, serving 2.3 million people every day — and most of these systems were built since 2008.
The performance of BRT systems in China
According to BRTdata.org, a comprehensive, global database created in 2012 by EMBARQ and the Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency, BRT systems have spread out across different regions in China. Though most systems are concentrated along the coast, BRT recently established roots in the western region of China, in Lanzhou, Urumqi, and Yinchuan – three cities that, together, account for 7.7 million people. Most BRT systems are located in second and third-tier cities, or municipalities with populations of less than 5 million. Since these cities usually do not have urban rail systems, BRT systems are designed as the backbone public transport system. According to a recent study by Tongji University, there has been a diversification of BRT models in China, with much success in operations. On average, each BRT system in China serves 30,000 to 40,000 passengers every day. Even though most systems consist of one or two corridors, averaging 40 kilometers in length, they have shown their potential for playing a central role in public transport. In Changzhou, BRT ridership accounts for more than 25% of total passenger trips on public transit. Its two corridors run north-south and east-west, transecting the city. With good planning and design, the Changzhou BRT is accessible to many city residents and commuters and has been regarded as one of the most successful BRT systems in China.
But there are ongoing challenges
Despite the rapid growth and good performance, BRT face challenges in terms of public debate over the right-of-way on city streets, as well as integrating with other modes of transport. As is the case in many other countries, doubts over BRT’s right-of-way in China have never ceased. The doubts over BRT arise from unfamiliarity with the BRT concept and a mindset that private cars own the right-of-way in cities. Early BRT systems like that of Hangzhou raised questions from residents when it came to the use of two lanes for moving buses exclusively, and this criticism only ceased when the systematic effects of BRT such as convenience, became gradually evident. Similarly, in Guangzhou, locals called BRT, “Bu Rang Tong”, meaning “it is not allowed (for cars) to pass through”. In Chongqing, public opposition to a 2008 dedicated BRT lane, which was believed to cause congestion, prompted the government of Chongqing to allow other buses to use the lanes – a move which did not deter complaints from private car drivers nor ultimately save the corridor from being demolished. Chongqing also holds the dubious distinction of being first BRT that has been torn down in China.
Although BRT systems generally perform well, cities could still maximize their impact through better integration with other public transit modes, such as the subway, traditional buses, and non-motorized transport modes. Currently in this area, most BRT systems fall short. In terms of information integration, few BRT systems provide clear maps of the BRT in relation with other public transit modes– a feature which would assist passengers in making multi-modal trips. The Urumqi BRT set up a new website, providing real time info from each individual BRT line, but it is hard for users to find an overall map of the BRT system and understand how it connects with other bus routes. In terms of physical integration, Hangzhou’s 100-km BRT system is yet not integrated with the metro system, while in Beijing the BRT lines are only linked with Metro Line 2. Some cities in China are setting a precedent for modal integration, such as the Guangzhou, which integrates bike-sharing stations alongside its BRT stations and also provides direct, built-in connections between BRT and subway stations. This design is also considered a best practice worldwide.
Future opportunities for BRT
BRT is likely to continue its rapid growth in China. According to data shared by the China Sustainable Transport Center, there are about 1000-km BRT in China under planning now. Recent policy directives by the State Council also recommend BRT as a key component to include in surface public transport system in China. In the second and third-tier cities, BRT can serve as the backbone system, as seen in Changzhou, while in large cities — where the conditions for rail transit are available — BRT could still play a supplementary role to metro and rail systems, such as the case in Beijing and Guangzhou.
It is unquestionable that the right-of-way debate will continue in China. A change of public mindset toward a “people first” street design requires public education and time, as some awakened urban transport professionals in China are now trying to address this issue in transportation planning. The design and information integration of BRT with other systems will add great value to the promotion of sustainable transport in cities and could be applied to new BRT projects in China. With forthcoming opportunities, taking these considerations into account will help BRT to exert maximum impact to catalyze better and bigger changes in China’s urban transport system.
Pedestrian Safety is the theme the United Nations’ second annual Global Road Safety Week, May 6-12, 2013.
Five thousand pedestrians are killed in road accidents each week across the world. In an urban environment that often places cars, motorcycles and bicycles in the same space, pedestrians end up being the most vulnerable target. A survey conducted by the São Paulo Health Department showed, for example, that 39% of traffic fatalities reported in the state involve pedestrians.
Thus, the main objective of Global Road Safety Week 2013 is to draw attention to the urgent need for better protection of pedestrians around the world in order to implement the actions and measures necessary for this, and help to achieve the target set for the Decade of Action for Road Safety to save 5 million lives.
Some initiatives have already been taken and are generating positive results with regard to road safety. This is the case, for example, with electronic timers at traffic lights which indicate to pedestrians the time remaining to cross the street, contributing to the decrease in the number of deaths. But much remains to be done. Organized by the UN General Assembly, the Decade of Action for Road Safety seeks to make streets safer for people. For this to happen, we need to improve the quality of road infrastructure and invest in sustainable transport and non-motorized forms of mobility.
Along these lines, the Global Road Safety Week initiative calls attention to traffic fatalities, through educational outreach and seeks to educate drivers and pedestrians about the importance of responsible conduct.
Initiatives in Brazilian cities
This week, road safety awareness events are being organized in several Brazilian cities. In Porto Alegre, a campaign was launched that draws attention to pedestrian safety in creative ways; for example, in two parts of the city crosswalks have been extended and also painted on the sidewalks and walls, until you reach an outdoor campaign billboard or promotion area. In both places, volunteers distribute educational material about traffic safety to passersby.
In São José do Rio Preto, in the State of São Paulo, according to data from the independent Brazilian Centre for Traffic Safety , there were 388 pedestrian accidents in 2011, of which 16 were fatal. Faced with such a scenario, this week’s programming comes at a crucial time. Several educational events focusing on accident prevention, drinking and driving, and pedestrian awareness were organized throughout the city.
The goal of the World Health Organization’s Global Road Safety initiative and associated activities is a week without pedestrian deaths. Let’s make it happen!
Originally posted on TheCityFix Brasil.
Per the Guardian (UK) article, below: Litigation in UK uncovered over 8,000 files regarding 37 former UK colonies a year ago, amongst them, a June 1957 memo from then attorney general of the British administration in Kenya, which included the statement on mistreatment of the detainees as “distressingly reminiscent of conditions in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia,” but that beatings could be sanctioned, as long as the abuse was kept secret.
This blog post is a part of the Catalyzing New Mobility program, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Mysore, a historic city in southern India, is home to numerous palaces and ancient monuments and is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. While this 600-year-old city is home to less than a million people, an average of 3 million tourists visit Mysore each year — especially during the Mysore Dasara, a historic 10-day festival held in September and October filled with music, dancing, processions, a torch-light parade, and other cultural activities. Mysore’s mixture of local commuters, tourists, students, and visiting business professionals, makes Mysore an ideal environment for biking.
Recognizing this, the Government of Karnataka’s Directorate of Urban Land Transport has taken an interest in developing a public bike-sharing system for Mysore, with funding support from the Global Environment Facility and has recently undertaken a pre-feasibility study for the project.
EMBARQ India was invited to review the pre-feasibility report and to determine the station locations for the bike-sharing project. The inner city area was identified as the first phase of the project, since this would ensure sufficient station density. Potential users like tourists, students, and visiting business-people were identified, and key locations within the inner city area were determined based on the City Traffic and Transportation Plan. Tourist locations, like the palace, museum, zoo, and St. Philomena’s Church; commercial and business areas; public transport hubs, like the railway and bus stations, and other important nodes like hotels, and retail establishments were mapped out. Ideal bike-sharing station locations were determined based on the proximity to key attractions, availability of land, and expected usage of the system. It was decided that 38 stations, each 250 meters apart, would be ideal for the inner city area.
A report, Public bicycle sharing scheme for Mysore–station locations, was compiled and submitted to the city’s Directorate of Urban Land Transport, following which, a consultant was hired to develop a Detailed Project Report for the implementation of the Mysore bike-sharing system.
As Mysore continues to attract local and international tourists, the development of a cycling culture among tourists and locals in this iconic Indian city, it is envisioned, will help the city to preserve and celebrate its unique historic and cultural identity.
Some recent and rather sad news on freedom of information from Hungary. http://atlatszo.hu/2013/04/29/hungarian-parliament-to-curtai...
The Bill was submitted to the Parliament on Sunday (see the date on the document http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/10904/10904.pdf) and the Parliament after a very thorough consideration adopted it today in the morning.
The timing of the adoption of the Bill, that was rushed through the Parliament, perfectly shows Hungary’s commitment to principles of open government as the country officially joined the OGP last week.
Cuando los países firmaron, en 1992, la Declaración de Río, en la Primera Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Ambiente y Desarrollo, incluyeron el principio 10, que hoy se conoce como el que establece los derechos de acceso.
Sustainable transport can save lives on India’s roads. The key focus of the CONNECTKaro 2013 session on “Road safety in Indian cities” was to highlight the magnitude of the challenge of road safety in India through case studies of different practices in Indian cities. Each panelist presented a different road safety-related case study, taking a variety of different perspectives. The main objective of the session was to take steps towards achieving a better understanding of what the scale of the road safety problem in India is. This blog post presents key takeaways from the session.
A variety of participants attended CONNECTKaro 2013, including transportation experts and government representatives. Chairing the session was Mr. Vivek Phansalkar, Joint Commissioner of Police and Traffic for Mumbai.
Better data collection saves lives
Efforts toward better data collection for road accidents can have a tremendous impact on improving road safety in India. Ravishankar Rajaram, Safety Group Manager at JP Research India, presented his firm’s efforts to improve data collection, highlighting the importance of accident data investigations — even CCTV camera footage — to gain better insight into common road accidents.
Hospitals, too, play a unique role in helping to understand road accidents better. Dr. Girish Rao, from the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, made this case, explaining that better hospital data would aid in determining the socio-economic impact of road accident deaths in India. Raising the important issue of drunk driving and driving without helmets or seatbelts, Dr. Rao outlined how a business-as-usual attitude to road safety was costing lives in Tumkur, and he asserted the need for further research in this area. These two panelists underscored the need for improving data collection and maintenance practices, which inspired a recent joint study carried out by EMBARQ India, in association with the Mumbai Traffic Police.
Efforts to understand what’s happening on the ground
Ranjit Gadgil, Project Director at Parisar (a civil society organization focusing on sustainable development in Pune, India), gave an overview of the key findings of a study which Parisar conducted, in association with EMBARQ India, on opinions and behavior of drivers of two-wheelers in Pune City. A large number of respondents reported at least two accidents in their lifetime and yet a preference for optional helmet use. Interestingly, most two-wheeler accidents in Pune did not involve other types of vehicles (i.e. they were either instances in which the driver fell off or collided with another two-wheeler). He also addressed how strengthening traffic enforcement and improving road design for two-wheelers would make roads safer in Pune.
In the state of Punjab, only a single district in has reduced road accident fatalities over the past decade, whereas nearly all others witnessed more fatalities over the same time period. Gurmehar Singh, from the Regional Institute for Management and Technology in Punjab, highlighted this trend and other key road safety statistics from the state. Recent findings from road safety audits in and around Ludhiana illustrated faulty infrastructure in rural and urban highways.
Using data to set guidelines and match global standards
In light of the ballooning number of proposed (and operational) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects in various Indian cities, it would be crucial to apply global BRT safety guidelines to the Indian context. Binoy Mascarenhas, an associate in urban transport at EMBARQ India, touched upon the upcoming safety guidelines developed for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in India by EMBARQ India. The document is slated to release by the end of the year, and is currently undergoing peer review.
As referenced before, EMBARQ India’s road safety assessment of Mumbai highlighted how the rate of traffic fatalities per year was on the decline from 2007 to 2012, while serious injuries remained worrisome. A 7-point agenda for road safety was presented, with improved accident investigation systems, driver training and e-enforcement as some of the key thrust areas to be taken up by the Mumbai Traffic Police. Vivek Phansalkar outlined key areas in which his establishment was working in order to bring about safer roads in Mumbai. Throughout, he stressed that the Mumbai Traffic Police was very open to citizens’ suggestions and was constantly making efforts to enhance existing road safety enforcement measures.
In conclusion, efficient data collection and management can help greatly in achieving the goal of better understanding the magnitude of road safety problems in India. While strengthening enforcement is important in reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths, as well as deaths resulting from poor use of seatbelts and helmets, the panelists agreed that there is a need to focus more on making our streets safer for the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists. Modes that carry the most people – public transport, in particular – should be given consideration. Buses should be segregated, and roads should be specifically designed to cater to public modes. Moving towards better policies that address these key challenges will bring about safer roads in Indian cities.
For more information on CONNECTKaro 2013, check out Anirudh Tagat’s full conference presentation and others on Slideshare.