Revamp transport to ensure better public health: Expert
Geetam Tiwari, Professor of Transport Planning in the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi, on Monday, called upon decision makers to consider the impact of transport hazards on health.
She also recommended that programmes be designed to help implement sustainable public transport across the country.
Speaking at the fourth edition of the Volvo Nobel Memorial Seminar 2012, she admitted that while public transport has evolved, technology alone cannot address the ill-effects of bad transport on the health of people.
“The impact on health comes from multiple reasons namely the declining air quality, traffic crashes etc... Until this issue is tackled, the idea of sustainable transport is an empty idea,” she said.
Ravi Venkatesan, a member of Volvo Board of directors, blamed fragmented agencies and a lack of coordination between them for posing hurdles to sustainable public transport.
“As the population of India grows lineally, the number of vehicles increases exponentially. It’s time to move beyond talks on sustainable transport and get to action. There is a need to identify constraints which are resisting sustainable transport and cut the ropes to raise this balloon high,” he said.
Gita Sen, a professor in the Centre for Public Policy, IIM, Bangalore, said that pedestrians have been neglected in efforts to ease the flow of traffic in cities.
“People are risking their life by walking into the traffic. Whose city is it and whom are you making happy in the name of big infrastructure projects?” she asked.
“Has anybody bothered about a senior citizen on the road, or a woman with luggage in her hand or a child with a school bag waiting to cross the road, for that matter?”
Harald Sandberg, the Swedish ambassador to India, said that 160 Swedish companies are located in India, and employ seven lakh Indians. “When it comes to finding solutions for transport issues, a cross-country idea exchanging will go a long way in learning more,” he said.
On the occasion, Volvo Buses announced the winners of the Second Season of the Volvo Sustainable Mobility Award. EMBARQ India and India Urban Space Foundation were declared joint winners.
Praja was given the Runner Up prize for their respective projects. Special recognitions were conferred on a collaborative effort between Ride-A-Cycle-Foundation with its partners as well as a group from IIT, Madras.
The Volvo Sustainable Mobility Award was instituted to recognise outstanding efforts in the broad area of sustainability.