Despite several advantages of cycling its usage has been declining in Urban India which could very well be an affordable means of mobility for low-income households and at the same time environmental friendly.
India is the second largest producer of the bicycles but there has been steady decline in it as a preferred mode for urban commute. Cycling has several advantages in the form of zero dependence on fossil fuels, zero emissions and pollution, health benefits from increased physical activity.
Understanding the need for promoting bicycles usage both India and Germany are taking key steps under the framework of the Green Urban Mobility Partnership which involves boosting a cycle-friendly infrastructure in Indian cities.
With an aim to learn from the experience of Netherlands which has more bikes than citizens and has established a vivid biking culture GIZ India collaborated with the Dutch Cycling Embassy – a public private network for sustainable bicycle inclusive mobility. With over 40 years of experience in bicycle policy and practical bicycle solutions, the Netherlands are a unique international testing ground. The Dutch Cycling Embassy aims at sharing this expertise and technology to facilitate cycling worldwide as the most modern, efficient, and sustainable method of transport.
In line with this, the Indo-German development cooperation projects ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility – Air Quality, Climate Action, and Accessibility (SUM-ACA)’ and ‘Green Urban Mobility Innovation Living Lab (GUMILL)’, in partnership with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Government of Karnataka organised a five-day capacity building workshop on ‘Cycling Infrastructure for Urban Environment’. More than sixty city officials from four states learnt from global best practices and discussed how to adapt them to local needs.
The capacity building workshop was divided into two parts: Classroom sessions to delve into the theoretical details of planning, designing, and implementing bicycle networks, with a focus on national and state policies, as well as site visits to explore practical feasibility. The training programme followed a participatory approach: using case studies from the field, participants deepened their understanding of how to integrate bicycles into existing transportation systems and thus making them more sustainable and diversified.
“A cycling-friendly infrastructure has many benefits for our cities, but how should we start implementing it? This was one of the key questions we asked ourselves. Through interactive group activities and concrete examples, we came to understand which success factors really matter, especially with regard to spatial planning, multi-modal integration, and the design of bike lanes. We need to focus on bike-centric urban planning that considers the bicycle as the normal mode of transport”, shared one of the participants.
Another important aspect that must not be overlooked is how to create an inclusive environment that takes into consideration the special needs of transport users with limited mobility. Following the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ which is a fundamental part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the workshop participants discussed possible solutions to create an inclusive cycling infrastructure. For example, an inclusive intersection design allows cyclists with disabilities to participate in road traffic.
In addition, the capacity building workshop contributed to the promotion of green mobility which is one of the key objectives outlined in the Green and Sustainable Development Partnership (GSDP) between India and Germany. By training sixty government officials from four Indian states a potential total population of 198 million people will benefit from the improved capacities in sustainable urban transport planning. The GSDP is at the centre of GIZ India’s work. With a portfolio of more than 100 ongoing projects along the four thematic areas of Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity, Sustainable Urban and Industrial Development as well as Sustainable Economic Development, GIZ India is supporting the German and Indian Governments in implementing the Partnership.