Research Project

Non motorized transport planning and design manual and policy guidelines for cities

Geetam Tiwari and Dinesh Mohan

Project Details

Urban Transport is India is a means of access and not mobility. At present most of the urban residents in India depend upon non-motorised transport (NMT) which includes walking, cycling and cycle rickshaws to meet access needs. This is because many of them cannot afford other modes of transport. NMT not only offers environmental advantages but provides a holistic range of benefits to both the individual and the city. This includes health, equity, better air quality, poverty alleviation, road safety, liveable cities and equal opportunities to all irrespective of socio-economic background. However, NMT in India has been neglected and there is a gap in assessing and developing a usable Indian context specific cycling infrastructure design guideline. The non - motorised planning and design guideline is an attempt to bring together all facets of NMT infrastructure together. The study provides a theoretically and technically sound basis for developing relevant policy and manuals for design. It will also develop audit and benchmark performance indicators for cycling infrastructure facilities and development plans to usefulness of committed funds. Constant advocacy and training / capacity building to various cities, state level agencies and national policy makers and decision-makers is very important to be undertaken.

All of the above, ties up to achieve a single vision –a bicycle friendly city. To achieve this vision , it is important that all stakeholders associated i.e. designers, planners, engineers and policy makers are brought under one roof to help initiate bicycle friendliness in their cities through their area of expertise. The non-motorised planning and guideline therefore has the following goals:
1. To develop, update and finalize the ‘Non-motorized Transport’ (NMT) planning and design manual.
2. To develop an audit and benchmarking framework.
3. To provide recommendation for the NMT policy.

The guideline focuses upon 4 sections. They are as follows:
1. Policy: The mission of the NMT Policy is to plan, design and implement, for the environment which promotes walking and cycling as first choice of mobility. The vision is that all metropolises, cities and towns, will be NMT friendly. NMT will be a normal way to get about, especially for short trips. The preparation, and implementation, of an NMT policy is part of the contribution to a sustainable transport vision for our country. The NMTP has been annexed as an addendum. The larger goal is to add it to the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP).
2. Planning: The planning for NMT modes cannot be carried out in isolation but needs an integrated approach addressing the needs of all road users and road usages. The aim of the
document is in preparation of a Bicycle Master Plan and the various components to achieve it have been addressed.
3. Design: The design component addresses all the factors that affect the physical design of NMT. It includes dimensions of various non-motorised vehicles used in India, design principles for NMT infrastructure and their application on geometric design and finally selection of material and other finishes. Use of street furniture, vending spaces and bicycle parking facilities has also been included.
4. Implementation: Implementation of a bicycle infrastructure development plan involves bid process, construction, operation as well maintenance. This section covers aspects of implementation where bid process is covered under costing and contracting separately, while construction is covered under construction and maintenance safety, working drawings, site layout and site inspection.
Each section has annexures which include sample checklists, road inventory sheets, etc that can be used for the various data collection and audit works.

Introduction of the Project

Indian cities have a high latent demand for bicycles and walking trips, which can be realized with introduction of suitable infrastructure, facilities and resources. Also, our cities, and urban roads today have to be adapted to the concept of the universal design in all its totality. NMT also includes tri-wheeled pedal rickshaws used for passenger and goods as well as four wheeled trolley used by street vendors and hawkers. The passenger and goods cycle rickshaws (together with bicycles referred to as Non Motorized Vehicles or NMVs), form the primary source of mobility and livelihood to a considerable proportion of the population, consisting not only of drivers but fabrication, maintenance and repair industry.
? India retains a very high NMT (walking, bicycle and rickshaw) share in rapidly expanding urban centres. However rapid motorization and lack of adequate attention to cycle friendly road infrastructure threatens NMT use and currently a decreasing trend in cycle use in Indian cities is observed.

  • The Public-bike sharing scheme is being supported with the agenda to create demand, visibility and a better image of cycling in the country and is envisaged to lead to a increased demand in cycling infrastructure and arrest of the decline in the Modal shares of cycling. Simultaneously the 12th Planning Commission is deliberating on the quantum of allocation on NMT infrastructure in the country.
  •  It can be expected that the government’s policies for boosting cycle use in the cities would attract investments in street infrastructure improvement along with other measures, increasing the potential of using cycling to combat GHGs in India. To realize the full potential of these efforts, the infrastructure design would need to evolve around a detailed understanding of user requirements as well knowledge to convert this understanding in to an effective design which would attract the desired use. To make this possible designers, planners, engineers etc., would need to be equipped with relevant toolkits, guidelines and manuals. Because of differing conditions in our context, these tools would need to be based on context specific indicators and their benchmarks. There does not exist technically and theoretically sound, Indian context specific toolkits and/or guidelines to facilitate the development of user oriented NMT infrastructure on these streets.

This guideline attempts at improving the overall bicycling and NMV environment by providing information covering planning, detailed design, implementation and management of bicycle friendly infrastructure based on the context and limitation of Indian cities. The lack of key information on NMT to city authorities as well as designers and practitioners is a missing link to create the necessary infrastructure for NMT in India. The NMT planning and design guideline can assist as a tool for engineers and designers to help them think beyond perceptions and execute decisions on the basis of an analytical and detailed design process, relying on sound data and known best practices. It also intends to help condition the decision-making process and design judgment so that the users’ requirements from the infrastructure are fulfilled without compromises.

Preparation of the draft non-motorised planning and design guideline
Comprehensive manual for bicycle planning and infrastructure design was updated as a NMT planning and design guideline. The guideline has been has four main chapters that cover planning, design and implementation. It also includes an audit and benchmarking framework for NMV infrastructure and service planning. It has been updated with the latest national and international literature, tools, toolkits, manuals and various other studies. The Draft NMT Policy shall also be included.
4. Outputs
The draft non-motorised planning and design guideline is ready to be taken up for peer review and consultation through workshops. This shall provide us insight and course correction paths. The Table of Contents of the draft guideline has been added as annexure 01.
5. Outcomes
The project intends to deliver a comprehensive guideline suitable for cycling in India.
The outcomes foreseen for the project are as follows:

  • Launch of NMT guideline by Mar 2014
  • Stakeholder feedback and review of manual and policy. This includes :
  • Advocacy and endorsement by stakeholders
  • Peer review and consultation workshops
  • Revising NUTP Policy.

6. Key Learning and Challenges Faced
The main step to combine the various components into a single guideline and update the NMT manual brought forward the following learning’s:

  • The importance of a Bicycle Master Plan has been highlighted.
  • Non-Motorised Transport Policy has been drafted focusing on the vision for a NMT friendly city.

Currently, the cycle facility in India is focusing upon a segregated infrastructure and on arterial/sub arterial or important corridors. The existing benchmarks therefore do not completely satisfy bicycle conditions throughout the city. The guideline has prepared a set of benchmarks that covers various forms of NMT infrastructure. To evaluate them a set of audit on select corridors needs to be taken up to calibrate and validate the framework, indicators and methodology.

7. Collaboration
I-Trans provided inputs for NMT planning. Their learnings with various Indian cities for NMT planning and preparation of a Bicycle master plan has been included in the planning module. With a strong experience in NMT design, SGArchitects provided various inputs in the design component and

8. Way Forward
Further to the implementation stage, the guideline needs to be discussed with stakeholders and reviewed by experts. Next steps are as follows:
1. Comments from expert and stakeholder review in workshop-1 of NMV design manual, and identification of parameters / specifications to be used from the audit-benchmarking manual (workshop-2). The stakeholders include MoUD / IUT and representatives from municipal corporations and development agencies as well consultants and other experts in the field.

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