A toolkit to boost last-mile connectivity in city

A toolkit to boost last-mile connectivity in city

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 Commuters might dump their personal vehicles only if public transport has good last-mile connectivity options. Getting beyond rhetoric, the World Research Institute (WRI) has now prepared a toolkit for all stakeholders to collaborate and create an enabling ecosystem centred around safe walking, cycling and open spaces around a mass transit station. 

This ecosystem, typically in an area covering a radius of 500-700 metres from a station (a BMTC bus stop, for instance), is to be developed as a place of connectivity. Here, different modes of transportation can converge seamlessly, and where work, live, shop and play can happen simultaneously. 

Essentially, the toolkit intends to create a Safe Access approach based on five main principles: pedestrian and cyclist priority, the public realm, feeder services, parking management, and safety and security.  Boosting walkability is critical to the first principle. The WRI elaborates it this way: “Providing the necessary infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists to move safely and conveniently around the city. This includes continuous, safe and comfortable pedestrian and cycling networks connecting the station to other areas in the city.”  The public realm is about enhancing public spaces by making streets safer, comfortable and imageable with easy signage. 

Feeder services are designed to enhance connectivity through better coordination between feeder buses and other public transport at the station. Key to this principle are reduced waiting times and demarcating access to last-mile connectivity modes such as autorickshaws and cabs.

Creating a robust parking management plan is also critical. This implies more parking spaces and managing the existing parking load. 

To boost safety and security, the solutions offered are: traffic calming measures, safe crossings, and reduced conflict points between pedestrians and cyclists. People of all ages, gender and physical abilities are given the highest priority so that they could make the most of the public services offered. 

The toolkit is developed as an interactive activity to address the need for safe access around mass transit stations. Part of it are capacity-building awareness workshops on the importance of safe and equitable access for all street/public space users. Implementable solutions are derived through a collaborative decision-making process. 

Stakeholders in this process include residents and users of the station area, residents’ welfare associations, associations of shops, markets, business owners, schools, colleges, hospitals, traffic police, elected representatives, experts and government officials.

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