Walk Tall!

Improving Walkability in Indian Cities

Have you ever wondered how the pedestrian infrastructure in Pune can be compared with those in Chennai or Hong Kong or for that matter what actions needs to be taken in Surat to improve walkability?

Such comparisons and proposed improvement measures, with some caveat, can be made by making some sample measurements across the cities using a standard methodology i.e. a “walkability index.”  In simple terms, walkability can be used to describe and measure the connectivity and quality of walkways, footpaths, or sidewalks in cities.  It can be measured through a comprehensive assessment of available infrastructure for pedestrians and studies linking demand for walking and supply of walking infrastructure.

With a support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, CAI-Asia center managed to conduct a walkability study in six Indian cities. The scope includes the following cities: three big cities namely Chennai, Pune, Bhubaneshwar and three smaller but growing cities, Surat, Rajkot and Indore. This study is a follow-up of CAI-Asia’s study “Walkability and Pedestrian Facilities in Asian Cities: State and Issues” with support from ADB and other partners.

Walkability photos can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cai-asia

Based on the findings of this study, a number of recommendations were identified involving various stakeholders who should play a role in developing policies, projects, and/or initiatives focused on improving walkability and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities. Through discussions with Shakti Foundation it was decided to focus on broader NMT as a way forward, and that an approach is needed that focuses at both the national and city levels.

The objective of the project under phase 2 is to improve the state of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities by policy, strategic documents and regulations along with dedicated projects through:

  • Policy Development – through the improvement and/or adoption of national/state/city policies and by obtaining commitments from two to three cities to improve walking and pedestrian facilities in the next couple of years that are concrete and visible to its residents and are considered as best practice examples for other Indian cities to follow, although the effort would be to obtain commitments from three cities or more.
  • Development of Walkability Toolkit for Indian Cities – to facilitate policy and strategic development, a toolkit for states/cities to adopt in support of walking and pedestrian facilities in Indian cities will be developed.
  • Advocacy and City Dialogues and City Implementations – sustained commitment from the cities involves active facilitated dialogues with and between government (state and city levels) and other stakeholders in actual programs, projects, and/or additional policies adopted by the cities.

Donor: Shakti Foundation

Duration: June 2010 – June 2012

CAI-Asia contact:
Parthaa Bosu, partha.bosu(at)cai-asia.org
Sudhir Gota, sudhir(at)cai-asia.org
Bert Fabian, bert.fabian(at)cai-asia.org

Download Improving Walkability in Indian Cities here.


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