SHIFT Working Groups Discuss Strategies to Promote EcoMobility

The second SHIFT Working Group meetings were organised in Visakhapatnam and Ludhiana recently, under the Hewlett Foundation and EcoMobility Alliance-funded Cities SHIFT: Capacity building and Networking for Sustainable Urban Mobility project. The agenda of the meetings included providing training to stakeholders on the planning aspects of the EcoMobility initiative, and completing the SHIFT assessment using the SHIFT methodology, which comprises 23 transport indicators of sustainable mobility.

During the meetings, the working group members discussed the priority action areas to promote EcoMobility, along with the data gaps. There was also capacity building training on sustainable mobility, in which Torben Heinemann, Head, Transport Department, Leipzig, Germany, described how his city had become a champion of sustainable mobility.

The SHIFT Working Group comprises stakeholders connected to the mobility system in cities, such as representatives of urban local bodies, development authorities, urban planning and transport departments and public transport operators, besides traffic police.

The meeting in Visakhapatnam, held on the 11th and 12th of July 2019, was chaired by R Jyothi Vidyullatha, Chief City Planner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). The attendees included representatives from the Greater Vishakhapatnam Metropolitan Development Authority, Regional Transport Officer, Smart City SPV and traffic police. During individual meetings, Dr. G Srijana, Commissioner, GVMC, emphasised the need to improve walkability in the city.

The stakeholders highlighted the gaps and agreed that “one of the common challenges, while the city administrations plan and implement policy and plan to improve mobility services and infrastructure, is the lack of direct feedback on the effectiveness of the system.” The stakeholders said that operationalising the BRTS would be a major step in the shift towards EcoMobility.

The meeting in Ludhiana — held on the 9th and 10th of July 2019 — was chaired by Sanyam Aggarwal, CEO, Ludhiana Smart City Limited and Additional Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. Stakeholders such as the traffic police, Smart City SPV, relevant departments and Civil Society Organisations were among the participants.

Mr. Aggarwal said that to make public transport attractive to commuters, it not only had to be planned and operated well, but also “needed to be assessed continually”. The working group stressed the need to control the pollution and congestion caused by the large number of unregulated auto-rickshaws. Additionally, electric mobility was identified as one of the priority interventions needed for the city.

The assessment team included Beatrice Ch’ng, EcoMobility officer, ICLEI World Secretariat; Torben Heinemann, Head, Transport Department, City of Leipzig; Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director, ICLEI South Asia; Vijay Saini, Sumskrutha T, Senior Project Officer; Amir Latif, City Officer; and Dwarakanath Balguri, Project Associate.

The project’s overarching goal is to support cities in identifying challenges and opportunities in their urban mobility systems so that they can make informed decisions in the shift towards more eco-mobile modes of travel such as walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility.

To achieve this goal, the project cities in India are working with select project cities in China and Uganda (two each) on three intervention points: performance measurement, using the EcoMobility SHIFT tool to identify challenges and opportunities to improve the city’s urban mobility system; capacity building through knowledge exchange with other cities and partners at international workshops and webinars, among other methods; and global dissemination of cities’ successes and stories to inspire other cities.

As the next step, all project cities in India, China and Uganda will be involved in peer exchange during the EcoMobility Days 2019 at the Autonomy and Urban Mobility Summit 2019, taking place in Paris, France, on the 16th and 17th of October 2019. Organised by the EcoMobility Alliance and AUTONOMY, EcoMobility Days 2019 will bring together cities to deliberate on the future of sustainable mobility, and facilitate exchanges between private and public sectors.

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