Centre for Pedestrian Infrastructure and Planning (CPIP)
School of Planning and Architecture, JNIAS
Venue: Report on “Economic Impact of Lack of Good Pedestrian Infrastructure in India”
a talk by Prof. Raja Angara
The Centre for Pedestrian Infrastructure and Planning (CPIP) of JNIAS School of Planning & Architecture has organized a Special Lecture on “Economic Impact of Lack of Good Pedestrian Infrastructure in India” by Dr. Raja Angara, Professor of Economics, University of Hyderabad (UOH) on November 12, 2013 at 11.30 am at the Auditorium, Jawaharlal Nehru University of Architecture & Fine Arts (JN&FA University), Masab Tank, Hyderabad.
Prof Raja Angara’s talk widely covered the various aspects of Urbanization, Pedestrianisation and other Walkability issues in the Country as a whole and with specific reference to the issues faced by the pedestrians in the city of Hyderabad
What makes a city more walkable?
What makes walking better than driving?
Is there anything we can do to reduce the traffic bottlenecks in the city?
These are some of the questions that Prof Raja Angara dealt with during his talk.
He felt that people perceive “Walking” as a class status and is seen as something which only those who cannot afford vehicles resort to. This attitude needs to be changed and called upon to make “Walking” more fashionable so that more people take to it. On the other hand he mentioned that where foot-over bridges are available, people do not use them as they are used for all other purposes than walking and people are at risk by walking on the roads. He stressed on the need to “Pedestrianise” select areas that they are solely meant for walking and vehicles are strictly prohibited in those areas to induce people to walk safely. He also mentioned about the inherent benefits of walking on health and physical wellbeing of individuals. He stressed that the more people resort to walking, there will be less usage of vehicles thereby reducing the carbon emissions in our cities by a great deal. According to him, lack of proper space for pedestrians to walk despite the large percentage of people who commute by foot reflects the adhoc nature of our urban planning.
He introduced the audience to a Walkability Index which is a function of available footpaths on the main roads and rating of pedestrian facilities including safety and security of footpaths, adequate lighting, police patrolling, footpaths free from encroachments etc.
He also talked about Walkability Survey based on nine parameters of “Clean Air Initiative” to evaluate whether or not the city is pedestrian friendly. The said survey evaluated various cities in India in terms of pedestrian space, whether it is shared with other modes of transport, the availability of crossing points, disability infrastructure and facilities for the aged, safety, land usage and the behavior of the motorists. The Walkability Survey stated that the cities of Pune and Bangalore scored 54 and 44 respectively on 100 points showing that even developed cities need gross improvement in the pedestrian facilities
Lastly he discussed about the economic benefits of having a good walkability score:
1. Reduced use of motorized transport
2. Lesser number of accidents
3. Release space for parking of vehicles
4. More space for green development such as parks water bodies etc.
He felt that there is an immediate need for change in the ideas and attitudes of Planners, Bureaucrats, politicians, civil society and most importantly the residents of the city. He said it is upto the members of the civil society to put the right pressure on authorities to make policy changes.
The talk was followed by an interactive session with the audience and ended with a Vote of thanks by Prof Pramod S. Shinde, Director, JNIAS School of Planning & Architecture
About the Speaker: Prof. Raja specializes in the area of Law and Economics, Environmental Economics and Institutional Economics. He teaches Theories of Growth, and Law and Economics at the School of Economics, University of Hyderabad. He has edited the first book brought out by Edward Elgar Publications on the Economic Approaches to Law series in 2006 along with Prof. Hans-Bernd Schaefer. He is also interested in issues of the urban environment, which in turn revolve around the institutions that govern decisions of environmental protection, conservation and the problems of urban spaces. He has presented his research at innumerable conferences and seminars in India and Europe.